The crowd was good, and I haven’t heard or felt such enthusiasm late in the game since the season opener. Everyone was standing down the stretch and the noise was deafening.
Tyreke took a lot of early long jumpers and seemed hesitant about driving into what was obviously a crowd waiting for him. Later he found some room and took it to the basket with authority.
I thought that the team defense looked good for the most part. The bigs were cutting off the ball handlers coming off screens and it created some turnovers mostly traveling.
Cisco and Omri looked good on both offense and defense. There were a couple of breakdowns, and we could have used more than 4 rebounds in 48 mins from our SF’s.
I thought that the defense by Carl and Sammy on Griffin was decent. We seemed to send help as soon as he touched the ball, but he only got to the FT line for 7 attempts. In fact, there were very few Fouls called, and the only real complaint I have was the Flagrant on Dalembert. Yes, he might have ran into him but he had his hands up trying to stop the alley-oop, and when I saw it I thought it was going to be side out.
Overall, it was a very good effort from everyone. Although I will admit, that when the Clippers went out to that 7 pt lead in the first 3 ½ minutes of the 4th, I thought here we go again.
I don’t think I can leave out the 3pt shooting. The last time we shot that well ( 50% ) from beyond the arc, I believe it was the Mav’s game. If our SF’s and Guards had been shooting that well all season, we’d have 10 wins by now.
A couple of negatives:
Ike Diogu looked like the 5th pick in the draft and not DeMarcus.
Poor Pooh made some excellent backdoor cuts, but ended up missing the shot or got it blocked by Bledsoe. With his size I’m not sure that’s a play I’d go to very often
The only big on the Kings to get an easy basket at the rim was Jackson who got a great entry pass from Omri for a dunk. In fact the Clippers outscored us in the paint 50 to 26. We need a lot of work learning how to run picks and screens down low to open up the paint for our bigs.
I really didn’t like Beno’s game because it felt like he was giving up 3x as many points as he was contributing. He got beat repeatedly by Bledsoe and Gordon. And, it looked like twice after giving up a basket, he turned to Dalembert and seemed to be asking where was the help? I think this was why Jeter got so many minutes even though he was 0-5 and scored 0 points. I hope Petrie continues to look for another PG, especially one who can create easy shots for our bigs in the paint. It’s sad, when your 2 centers get most of their points on 10-20 ft jumpers. If Tyreke does sit out the season after his procedure we’re going to need Beno to play some SG anyways.
It took too long for the Kings to find a way for Carl to score against Griffin. Early on Carl was getting the ball down close and tried to back Blake down or spin past him, but Griffin was too quick and too good of a leaper for Carl to get the ball over him. Later Carl found that if he got the ball further away and faced up on Griffin, Carl could put the ball on the floor and drive right past Griffin. Too late and not often enough.
I thought that the 9-man rotation was just about right. Although, it will be interesting to see what happens when JT is back. Dalembert was ok but he should have had some more rebounds if he didn’t have hands of brick. Around the 5:25 mark of the 3rd, the Kings were down by 6, and Westphal brought in Jeter for Beno and Cousins for Landry, giving us DeMarcus and Sammy to defend the basket. In a minute and 30 seconds, they each got a defensive rebound and the Kings went on a 8-0 run to take a 2 pt lead. I still think that this is a good paring late in the 4th of tight games. So, as I said it will be interesting to see how Westphal divides the minutes between JT, Carl, DeMarcus and Sam.
We lost but I went away happy. I stood there as the fans funneled out; clapping even though I knew that none of the Kings could hear me. I’m not going to pick apart, the last 5 seconds of the game, for there were other moments early in the game that had just as much impact on our loss. All I’ll say is that if we can make such a dramatic improvement in our 4th quarter play, then we can fix the other issues as well. So, why dwell on them. It’s not like we almost beat the Celtics, Heat or Lakers, but it’s a start, so Go Kings!