Due to overwhelming fan requests, and as time allows, I will be doing a post game fan post after all Kings games! You are welcome ;) I will try to keep it positive and light hearted, unless it is inhumanly possible, i.e. tonight. I don't do tempered expectations, unabashed homer bias, or advanced stats. I have my player preferences but will make concerted effort to offer equal fair handed treatment to all participants competent, compelling and confounding alike. Shall we?
Something Has Got to Give: If they did not wear different jersey numbers, I would think JT and Darnell Jackson are the same player. They hustle, they rebound, they make modest contributions. And having them both on the court is a redundancy. Someone please tell me why they are both in the rotation? Pick one, pick the other. Pick neither. But don’t play both, PW. It’s not fun to watch. And it’s not effective.
Reekin’ Havoc: Tyreke is so good, 20/5/5 will soon become a below average game. I can almost envision him scoring a lay-up three strides before it occurs. If there is a crack in the lane, it might as well be a red carpet event with security escort, because Tyreke is going to waltz down the path like a celebrity in black tie unscathed and smelling like a rose.
And I think for the first time in his career I look forward to the stop and pop jumper. Compact form and non-hesitation release looks promising even when shots miss. The fact he can get open looks at will because of threat of drive means a high percentage continuing is more likely than not.
DeMarcus in Crunch Time? I get it, DeMarcus wants to be in the game when the outcome is in the balance. He can deliver and he will deliver. I think later this season we will see a stretch of 20/10 explosions. I believe. And I believe PW wants to show confidence, and allow him chance to shine.
But did he really deserve to re-enter with 4 minutes left and a modicum of hope? It is easy to second guess, and one of my many endearing qualities :), but he could not establish anything against Gasol. He did not play any role in the modest rally. Gasol is crafty with the size to match. DMC had a hard time on the opposite end as well. Sometimes when a rookie is having one of those nights, it is best to let him sit and stew, and return next game with vengeance. Tonight was one of those nights.
JT at the ‘3’? Seriously? No, seriously?: You cannot win in this league when your lineup in bereft of speed and perimeter talent. Look up and down the roster and the only guy with modest jets was Reke. (And Omri.) The opponent played a double OT game last night, and our game plan is ‘ground and pound’ instead of forcing the pace with quickness and tempo? Too much congestion, not enough skill, and our offense grinds to a crawl, and we still can’t keep Zebo from doing what he wants.
Is Rudy Gay (11 for 19, 32 points) maybe a player you might want to try to slow? Let’s see, he is averaging 26 points on 52 % shooting and JT is suppose to do what now? If the match up could be exploited on the opposite end, I would still disagree. But not once was Rudy Gay forced to defend the post. (Well, once and he almost forced a steal.) This is a flawed strategy and dubious coaching. (I play Omri 40+ minutes, Donte gets a shot, then Reke, then Cisco, before ever putting JT on Rudy Gay.)
Thank Goodness for Reke and Cisco or We Lose by 20+ Points:
Carl Landry 1 for 4 with 0 rebounds.
Sammy D with 5 turnovers.
DeMarcus 1 for 5 with 3 boards, 4 TOs, and 5 fouls.
Darnell Jackson 1 for 5.
JT with beastly 6 points and 3 boards.
In sum, our front court was collectively ineffective against a tired team. For a team rested, healthy and at home, not encouraging. Toughness, talent, and resolve can all be questioned after disappointment. Coaches and front court players share equally in this defeat. Definitely a step backwards. This team has a lot of work to do and a lot to prove. I expect more than we saw tonight and so should all discerning fans.
Final score: Kings 91 Grizzlies 100
Record: 3-3 .500
AWESOME STAT OF THE NIGHT: JT played 16 minutes tonight and committed zero fouls. It is the first time JT has went foul-less in a game since his rookie year, Nov 11, 2008, also vs. Memphis, the fifth game of his NBA career. Yes, zero fouls, not a typo, goose egg, donut hole, Houston Rockets win total. He breaks a foul streak of 158 straight games with his tonight's whistle-free effort. Congrats JT!!!