The Kings got out to a good start tonight, with big help from Beno Udrih, who got hot early and had 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the 1st quarter alone. With John Wall and Andray Blatche out, the Kings looked ready for an easy victory finally. But once again, the Kings let an opponent come back into the game despite an early lead, and as Washington rallied back and finally took the lead to end the quarter on the back of Kirk Hinrich and Al Thornton, I couldn't help but think "Here we go again".
Fortunately, I was wrong, and after a back and forth affair for the first couple minutes of the 2nd quarter, the Kings were once again able to build up a lead, this time sparked by another Kings point guard, Pooh Jeter. Pooh did a great job all night of getting this team to run, hitting his own shots, and getting the ball to his teammates in the places they want to. He was acting like a true leader out there too, as I haven't seen someone talk so much on both ends of the court for the Kings in a long time. After that wonderful 2nd quarter, the Kings never looked back and simply kept on building onto the lead, outscoring the Wizards in both the 3rd and 4th quarters as well, leading by as many as 32 at one point.
The ball movement was fantastic for the Kings, as was rebounding and defense for the most part. I do have a couple nitpicks with the team however; They still fouled shooters way too much (Washington had 10 more FTA than us) and they turned the ball over a lot (19 times). Still, turnovers were even worse for Washington, and the Kings finally got an easy win that they can hopefully build on.
Player Recaps and Kingsflix Video after the jump.
- Jason Thompson was the player of the game. This is an absolutely ridiculous comparison, but at times he looked like Dirk out there with his mid-range jumper. He also was taking inside on the smaller Wizards with success. He doesn't have a lot of finesse around the basket, something I think would greatly help him if he added it to his game, but they were going in tonight. His rebounding and defense was also spectacular, and while he didn't rack up the assists (only two), I love how he moves the ball. Just a great game for Jason, and I hope we see more of this.
- Tyreke Evans again struggled with his offense. He only took it inside a few times, missing his FGA, and getting to the line once. He was a bit better with his jumper, but not by much. He passed the ball well though, and I thought his defense was really good tonight, but its clear he is not the same impact player right now with the injuries he's dealing with. He told Jason Jones before the game that he had a stress fracture in his foot, but that report was denied by the team, and after the game Tyreke also denied it. He's scheduled to have a MRI done tomorrow as a precaution however, so we'll see what comes from that.
- Beno Udrih was spectacular in the early going. His first 11 points all came within the first 5-6 minutes of the first quarter. He definitely got a bit sloppy towards the end, getting a little cocky and trying to do a little too much, but I still loved the performance. He also managed to do what I have so wanted many other Kings to do in attacking the basket, and he got to the line 10 times because of it. There were also times I thought Beno played very nice defense (although that might've been because he was guarding Kirk Hinrich), and he definitely hustled to save plays and get into the passing lanes.
- DeMarcus had a bit more of a Rookie Game tonight. He wasn't getting low enough position on offense, and the farther out from the basket he is, the more likely he is to turn it over trying to do something too fancy. His man defense I thought was decent, and I did think he got screwed on a couple charge calls later on in the game. His frustration with the officials is very apparent at times, and his body language is not great when he has to come out of a game due to foul trouble, at least to my eyes. DeMarcus needs to learn control, both emotionally, and with regards to his game. He can end up being a truly special player one day if he does.
- I thought Donté had a better offensive game than defensive for once. He was hitting his threes tonight, and he had a couple nice moves inside where he utilized his athleticism to finish in traffic. On defense though, he did manage to get torched a bit by Al Thornton, the only Wizards player who could probably say they played a good game, but Thornton is a very streaky shooter so I don't know how much credence to put to this performance.
- JT might have been the Player of the Game in my book, but the man the media mobbed in the locker room afterward was Pooh Jeter, and for good reason. For the 3rd straight game, Pooh came in off the bench and got this team running and gunning. When he's on the floor, this team becomes much more fun to watch. He has his problems defensively against taller and stronger players, but his quickness and speed also make him a tough matchup on the offensive end too. He can hit the jumper, take it inside, or find his open teammates. He did all of the above tonight, and I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of Pooh this year and possibly in years to come.
- Omri was sort of the opposite of Donté. He struggled with his shot tonight (only 5-15, including 1-5 from three) but his defense was pretty good. He had 6 steals and a block in only 25 minutes of play, and he also continued to hit the glass well, with 6 boards. Omri might be the player I'm most excited about potential-wise after Tyreke and DeMarcus. Its also clear how much he loves the up tempo style that Pooh brings onto the court, and I think together, he and Pooh have a chance to be a great sparkplug combo off the bench this year.
- Samuel Dalembert was not at the game as he hadn't yet arrived back from Philadelphia, where he attended the late Phil Jasner's (Sixers Beat Writer) Funeral service. Darnell Jackson filled in at Center for his absence, and he played well enough. He picked up some fouls (I like how Darnell fouls though, because he almost always makes sure that the other player isn't going to make the shot when he does it) but he also grabbed 8 boards and scored 6 points on 4 shots in only 15 minutes.
- Carl Landry is really struggling right now. He's battling a sore back and also had to leave the game after bumping knees with a Wizard. He just wasn't effective on the court. He's not able to play defense without fouling, and his inability to grab defensive rebounds really hurts us when he's in the game. Before this game, Carl was LAST on the team in Defensive Rebound Rate. He only grabbed 1 rebound in 14 minutes tonight so he likely dropped even lower in DReb% after this one too. That's just unacceptable from a Power Forward that wants to play big minutes.
- Francisco and Luther both didn't play much, and both happened to come into the game during times the Wizards would have runs. As such, they were the only ones on the team with a negative +/- (speaking of which, JT was a ridiculous +45!). They didn't play bad though. I don't think anyone on the team played bad really. Not tonight.
- I appreciate Tyreke Evans a little bit more after hearing that John Wall was missing yet another game (7th of the season out of 21 games) with a sprained ankle. Tyreke's sprained both his ankles at least 5 times since the summer, and also is playing with plantar fasciitis. It might not be wise, and I might even be being a bit irrational, but I also love the fact that he's trying his best to play through the pain.
- Once again congratulations to the G-Man, Gary Gerould, on his 2000 Kings Radio Broadcasts. You're one of a kind Gary. Let's go for 2000 more.