(Quick Note before the Recap. The GB&U will be up on Monday to allow for proper discussion of last nights game.)
The Grizzlies were playing their 4th game in 5 nights, coming off of a double overtime game against Phoenix the night before, but other than Zach Randolph, didn't look tired at all. The Kings meanwhile, hadn't played since Wednesday, and it looked like it, with the team's offense looking out of sync, and a whole lot of miscommunication going on. For the season the Kings had been doing a great job at taking care of the ball, but not tonight, where they had 20, and most of them unforced.
The game became very physical as it progressed, but unfortunately for the Kings, the refs were simply not having any of it tonight, and it cost them quite a few fouls. The Kings didn't get to as slow of a start as they have in games past, but they had a huge stretch in the third quarter where they completely lost control of the game, and at that point it became another game in which the Kings would have to try to come back, and for the 2nd game in a row, unsuccessfully.
The defense did look better with Dalembert in the game to start, and he clearly made a difference that end, but unfortunately he can't guard everyone and the lack of defense elsewhere really hurt the Kings, especially on Rudy Gay. The Kings had their best night guarding the three point line tonight statistically against Memphis, but that doesn't tell the whole story. While Memphis only hit 3-15, they probably had 13 of those as wide open shots that they just missed.
Every time the Kings would make a little surge in the game, a careless mistake, an offensive foul, or Rudy Gay/Z-Bo/Conley/Mayo would step up and stop the run. The Kings were never really able to stretch out a really good stretch of the game, and Memphis never truly got into danger once they jumped out to their big lead early in the 2nd half. These kind of stretches of bad basketball have to stop. The Kings have yet to put together an entire games worth of good basketball, and its becoming infuriating. Yes, we're still 3-3, but this team has a lot of growing up to do if they want to see the better side of .500 past November.
Player Recaps and Kingsflix video after the jump.
Tyreke Evans: Tyreke played the best game of the season for him, but just didn't have the help around him that he needed. Early in the game, I knew High Tops was smiling, because Tyreke was penetrating, and instead of kicking out, getting the ball to his big men at the rim for easy shots/dunks. Later in the game, he started brandishing his new jumper, which looked especially smooth tonight, so much so that I was wondering why he didn't shoot more during that period where the Kings desperately needed points. Tyreke still doesn't really know how to play defense well, but he was active poking balls lose and had four steals. He needs to watch his dribble though, defenses are learning to focus on it, and its been giving him problems the last few games. Five turnovers for Reke.
DeMarcus Cousins: DeMarcus had his first bad game tonight, trying to force a little too much at times on offense, and being a bit careless with the ball (4 turnovers). He had a couple nice defensive moments (a great block on Darell Arthur) but he still has a lot of work to do on that end. There were a couple really bad calls on DeMarcus, including one time where he tried to draw a charge but was instead called for the blocking foul, and he looked down on himself for most of the game. I'm hoping for a bounce back game against Minnesota next Wednesday from Big Cuz.
Beno Udrih: Beno didn't play that bad I thought, he was just missing shots that he normally makes. Conley was a tough matchup for him on the other end.
Samuel Dalembert: Sammy showed some good stuff (5 blocks, 12 rebounds) and some bad stuff (5 fouls, 5 turnovers) as well. I think he did a great job defending Gasol, and Randolph when he guarded him. We also saw some of the stuff that infuriated Philly fans, a silly goaltend, an offensive foul or two that shouldn't have been, and some weird decision making with the ball (although he had a couple nifty passes too, and ended up with 3 assists). Still, I think the good outweighed the bad in Sammy's case, and those blocks were extremely satisfying.
Carl Landry: He does not look like himself right now. At all. He had a lot of trouble guarding (or more accurately, trying to guard) Z-Bo, and he couldn't get anything going on offense. He seems perfectly content to shoot long jumpers now instead of mixing it up inside, and its a habit that I've come to detest. This is a night we might have and probably would have won if Carl had played like his Top Hatter self, but he just didn't.
Jason Thompson: First, I liked how JT played tonight. Aggressive going to the basket, made good decisions, and gave us a few more scoring opportunities. But here's where I have to say that this Jason Thompson at the Small Forward spot business needs to end and soon. I just don't like it. Thompson wasn't effective at guarding the ultra quick Gay, and he's not consistent or potent enough of a low post threat that his size and strength creates a sufficient enough mismatch on that end. I would have liked to see Donté being given the shot at Gay, especially when he had killed us all night. Instead we got JT, who to be fair, tried. But this guy is not a Small Forward, and not in the NaSF sense.
Francisco Garcia: Cisco has really stepped it up this year and his shooting looks really good. He also is probably one of our better perimeter defenders at the moment, and I want to see him and Tyreke paired in the back court more often. We did see a couple vintage Cisco bonehead plays tonight too, so it was an all-around Flaco-y performance.
Omri Casspi: Omri didn't look bad, especially not when he was shooting from behind half-court. But his three wasn't falling from normal human range, and Rudy Gay was abusing him more than most, so I wasn't surprised to see he didn't get as much time as others.
Darnell Jackson: He was only 1-5, but played some solid D, and had 7 boards too. By the way, its Darnell's birthday today. He's turning 25.
Final Notes: I wasn't pleased with this game from the team, and I still haven't been able to watch a game so far this season without getting extremely frustrated for extended periods of time. For once, it would be nice to see the Kings be in control for most of the game and they'll need to learn how to do that now while the schedule is relatively easy, so they don't end up getting shellacked every night when the competition is on another level.