That was fun.
PW, how do I say this tactfully, sucks: The Arco Arena maintenance crew may want to check the coaches office for Asbestos, because whatever the Kings coach is inhaling lately, it sure ain’t healthy. Something in the ventilation system must be killing brain cells and leading to a case of neurotic substitute-itis. Worse, the coach had a look of desperation on his face much of the night, and this does not exactly inspire confidence or leadership among a group currently lacking a sense of direction. He tried everything seemingly without any sense of conviction or purpose. The assistant coaches appear just as befuddled.
Reekin Fouls: I get it that you are hesitant to take your best player off the court when you are behind to the worst team in the league on your home court in the 4th quarter after they’ve played the night before. But with 10:00 minutes left in the game, and down 4 to 6 points, logical protocol is pull aside Tyreke, even for 1-2 minutes of play time. Let him collect his breath and wits, and say “OK you got 5 (fouls), play smart, play your game but be careful, we need you down the stretch, Reke”. A young player needs to hear those words. Coach is paid to deliver those words as voice of wisdom and experience. Westphal didn’t earn his pay tonight.
JT at the ‘3’, seriously? No, seriously? This will be the title of one of my talking points after every game, until it ends, mercifully. Or until JT refuses to play there on the grounds of further eroding the value of his next contract.
DeMarcus had a nice stretch in the first half, was pulled after a 6 to 8 minute run of aggressive paint play. And was never re-inserted in 1st half. Disagree. Let the rookie rumble! He can pile up stats, get the crowd and teammates hyped, and generally take over a game. He was suppose to have an axe to grind against Minny for bypassing in draft, and yet PW did not fuel the fire with extended run. He sat too long. And was nonexistent in second half.
The 2nd and 4th quarter line-up of JT, DJ, and Sammy is a frenetic mess. The spacing and ability to make plays is not there. If Westphunky wants to contend this defense made it more difficult on Beasley, I would challenge him to review the tape and show one instance where it was particularly effective.
Jerry Reynolds made the contention that Beasley would be bothered more by quickness and size, and I agree, and yet we were unwilling to trap Beasley, and take it out of his hands when there were other offensive stalwarts on the court in the name of Pekovic, Millic and Tolliver and a rookie with a pretty jumper, Wes Johnson, but shooting 35%.
Bad game plan, bad adjustments. Just bad.
Alley Oopin’: When JT, Sammy, and Darnell are on the court, and to lesser degree DMC and Landry, the man guarding them tends to drop off when on same side of court as Tyreke, and forms a ‘wall’ like Peaches and JR mentioned. The Kings must devise a counter strategy to all the attention one player receives. Any suggestions, besides better players? Until then, the alley ooop is one such counter. Tyreke and Sammy D ran it well twice tonight. I expect this chemistry to grow and this play to occur with frequency.
Hey, a positive!!!
Barring a Sammy Slammy, the bigs need to get to open spots and make themselves available to catch and finish in advantageous position. This does not happen nearly enough. JT is horrific at this. Landry has been awful lately. DJ is surprisingly good. DeMarcus will be highly effective with experience and once he gets into better shape. This team could use a stretch '4' to unclog the lane. Maybe Donte should gain the weight back :)
Anyway, the league as a whole has a collective strategy to slow Tyreke, which is to shadow him with a second defender with size. It worked perfectly tonight and cost us a win.
Cisco the Gunner: Cisco came out tonight super aggressive on both ends of the court, and was doing a terrific job of dropping down to help out on the post and coming over from the weak side to disrupt. Unfortunately he was rushing his offense and couldn’t find his range (3 for 12 overall, 1 for 6 from 3 point land). What was stark about his play in good way was his energy and defensive intensity, especially compared to his teammates.
We need a smaller version of Cisco: an infusion of speed to facilitate ball movement, trapping defense, and more energy at both ends of the floor, to generate enthusiasm and easy baskets. Head has been a thud since opener. Wright has been a bust(ed). Pooh apparently hasn’t earned coaches confidence. Without a dynamic ball handling guard to act as glue and complement to all our size up front, we look like a collection of (talented) parts that don’t fit.
Score: Kings 89 Wolves 98