PW’s substitutions go from head scratching to mind numbing
I’m not going to tell you that Westphal lost the game because it can’t be proven and someone will just point out that the players missed their shots not the coach. But, in my gut, I feel that he did. What I want to do is point out some things that I observed.
First off for those who bemoan Luther starting in place of Beno because of his Defense not being worth losing Beno’s Offense, in the 1st quarter the Mav’s backcourt players of Kidd, Barea, Terry and Stevenson combined for 14 pts, the Kings got 14 pts from Tyreke and 0 pts from Beno. In the 2nd Quarter when the Kings were outscored 26-18, the Kings got 3pt from Beno and 2pts from Evans, while the Mav’s only got 3pt from their backcourt. So, 1st half 2pt advantage for the Kings.
In the 2nd half Beno had 13, Evans 9, Cisco 8 and Jeter 5, for 35pts 2nd half points, while the Mav’s backcourt had 30 2nd half points. So, 2nd half 5pt advantage for the Kings. Luther averaged 7pt per 20mpg and Beno scored 16 in 39 minutes which is right on pace with his averages of 12 in 31 minutes. There’s no way of knowing if Luther’s defense would have reduced the Mav’s scoring or how many point he would have scored, but we do know that Beno’s defense didn’t hurt us and his playmaking is probably better than Luther’s.
So overall, the starting lineup seems to have been a good choice. Now, to the head scratching part. In the first half Donte was the leading scorer with 19 pts, 9 of which came in the 2nd quarter when he supplied half of the Kings 18 total points in the quarter.
The starting lineup returned to begin the 3rd quarter for both teams. Butler who had 2pts in the 1st half hit 2 jumpers in the first 2:30 of the 3rd, and got fouled at 8:21 by Sam who had replaced Cuz who was resting after receiving a knee to the family Jewels. Greene missed his 2nd shot of the quarter at the 8:00 mark and got pulled for Casspi 8 seconds later never to be seen again. Greene finished with 19 pts all in the first half. He was 8-15 and 3-6 from three, with 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 foul, 1 turnover, and 1 steal in 26 minutes.
Thompson who had his only shot of the 3rd blocked by Chandler, left at the 3:44 mark for Landry and he was never seen again. He finished with 5pts on 1-4 shooting, 5 rebs and 2 blks, and only 2 fouls in 20 minutes.
Beno & Tyreke played the entire first half and started the 3rd. So, it wasn’t surprising that Jeter and Cisco took over the backcourt duties late in the third and started the 4th along with Dalembert, Landry and Casspi in the frontcourt. The Mav’s went mostly with their reserves too, with Haywood, Marion, Nowitzki, Terry and Barea. And, the Kings reserve did their job and pulled out to a 5 pt lead with 6:51 to go in the game.
In his post-game press conference, Westphal was asked why he didn’t play JT and Donte in the 4th quarter, and Westphal said he liked the players on the floor and Rick Carlisle went small so he went small to match up. This is true. At the 6:51 mark the Mav’s went small with Kidd replacing Marion. And, PW matched up by replacing Beno for Jeter and Tyreke for Casspi. The Kings finished the quarter with 8pts, 4 by Beno, 2 by Evans, and 2 by Cousins. Terry had 6, Dirk had 4 and Kidd and Chandler each added 2 & 3 respectively from the FT line. Which wiped out our 5 pt lead, and gave them a 2 pt victory.
Garcia in 14:34 scored 8pt on 3-5 and 2-2 from three. All three of his baskets came between 10:00 and 9:09 of the 4th quarter. After 9:09 he had 0pts 4 fouls, 1 to, and 1 goaltending. Landry played 28 minutes and all of the 4th quarter. He had 4pt on 1-6 shooting and 0 rebs. He had a put back dunk with 29 secs left in the 3rd and in the 4th he made 2 early FT’s. After 1:10 into the 4th he had 0pts, and 3 Fouls, 2 or his 3 turnovers and he only attempted 2 shots missing the 1st and the other one was blocked by Nowitzki.
The Mav’s didn’t go small until the last half of the 4th, yet our leading scoring in the 1st half missed the last 20 minutes of the game. Cisco did nothing except for a 1 minute stretch in the first 3 minutes of the 4th but played the last 14 minutes of the game. Landry made only one FG and zero rebounds in 14 minutes prior to the 4th quarter but he played the entire 4th while JT the starter sat the last 16 minutes of the game.
What’s really confusing is this quote:
"I thought the group that started played fantastically well -- we were moving the ball, we were hitting shots, we went toe-to-toe and got the better of a great team for most of the game. It was really nice to see that."
--Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal
Well Coach if you though they were so good, how come you didn’t play them the final 7 minutes of the game. What is it with this need to always match up with what the other coach wants on the floor? You had the stronger lineup in the 1st quarter, why not go with them and make Carlisle match up with you? You got what you needed from your reserves. They got you a lead, but why do you always need to go with them too long.
I’m not going to go into the final play, that was just good defense from Dallas and inexperience from our guys. But, what in heaven possessed PW to keep Landry in the game and send him into the corner. He hadn’t made a jumper in 26 minutes and he’s 0-1 from 3pt range for the season. This is just speculation on my part, but I have got to believe that if it were Donte in the corner and he saw that DeMarcus was in trouble, Donte would have cut baseline and given Cuz a better passing option. I’m not going to argue this point; it’s just how I feel after seeing all the cuts Donte made in the 1st half.
There will be those that will just say I’m a hater, and point out missed FT’s or other mistakes made by the players. And, they may be right. But, I still believe that erratic rotations have been one of Westphal’s major failing since he began coaching the team. And this time it cost us a win.