A NOTE ON 'STAND WITH REKE' NIGHT
I wish the Kings had done more of this in the past! I sense some bit eye-rolling cynicism that the franchise would heap all this attention on Tyreke Evans, when, as many of you may remember, the team did nothing to promote the Most Improved campaign of Kevin Martin a few years back (and as a result, in part, Monta Ellis stole it).
It's my belief the Kings should have promoted Martin back then, and ought to promote Reke now. And how about a little Most Improved love for Beno, and Sixth Man attention for Carl Landry? (Back to the bench, kid!) Don't forget Omri Casspi for the All Rookie team, and Spencer Hawes as starting center for the American Enterprise Institute All Neocon team.
THE SCOUTING REPORT
HighTops, take it away ...
This is the final of two games with the Raptors this season. The Kings lost the 1st game 115-104 in Toronto on Feb. 2. The Kings had the lead going into the 4th quarter but the offense faltered and the Raptors outscored us 31-17 to pull out the victory. The Kings did everything right; they had 12 turnovers to the Raptors' 15. They outrebounded Toronto 46-39 and 18-9 on the offensive glass. They even got to the FT line more often, hitting 25-36 to Toronto’s 17-23. Tyreke had nine assists, and Kevin Martin scored 24 pts and had seven rebounds. The Kings had six players score in double figures, and the Kings bench out scored Toronto’s bench 31-27. Heck, Spencer Hawes even had a double double with 14 pts and 11 rebounds.
The Kings just couldn’t stop Chris Bosh, who hit 14 of 18 from the field with 9 of 12 at the rim and 8 of 11 from the FT line for 36 pts. Bosh had four assisted baskets at the rim compared to three for the entire Kings team. And while Evans led both teams in assists, only three came on baskets inside 10 feet, whereas Jarrett Jack, Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu had seven at the rim, helping the Raptors shot 74% at the rim on 23 shots. The Toronto starters shot 57% while the Kings starters shot 39%.
Toronto is 32-30 and in 6th place in the Eastern conference, but they have the 2nd worst road record of any playoff team in either conference at 10-20, and they’re 9-12 against Western Conference teams. Toronto entered the trade deadline winning eight of their last 10, and decided that they weren’t going to make any changes. And in spite of the chance that Bosh might be lost if he exercises the early termination option in his contact, they made no moves. Maybe it’s an omen of bad things to come, but Bosh sprained his ankle in the last game before the deadline and missed the next seven games. And when he finally returned Hedo had to sit out Sunday’s loss to Philly with an ankle injury. Toronto finally got them both back yesterday, just in time to lose to the Lakers. So since the trade deadline Toronto has gone 3-6 with the wins coming against such Eastern powerhouses as the Knicks, Nets and the Wizards.
While Toronto and the Kings are very close in defensive efficiency and defensive rebound rate, there is no question that the Raptors are the better offensive team. They’re 4th in PPG, 5th in FG%, and 4th in 3P%. They shoot 56% from beyond the arc, they’re 6th from 16-23 ft at 40.6%, they’re 7th from 10-15 ft at 41.8%, they’re 1st inside 10 ft at 50.2% and they’re 10th at the rim at 62.1% which are all better than the Kings percentages. The Kings are slightly better in rebounds and blocked shots and Toronto is last in steals. But the Raptors are slightly better in turnovers averaging about one fewer per game.
While Toronto didn’t make a move at the trade deadline the Kings did, and by adding Carl Landry they’ve made a move that directly impacts our biggest weakness in the last Toronto game. While Bosh dominated the Kings PFs in that game, he didn’t have the same success against Landry when Toronto played Houston Dec. 13th in Toronto. Landry finished with 25 pts and 7 rebs on 10 of 13 from the field with 6 of 7 coming at the rim and 5 of 5 from the charity stripe. Bosh finished with 27 pts 6 rebs on 11 of 19 from the field with only 3 of 4 coming at the rim and 5 of 6 from the line. That move and the return of Cisco may be enough to balance out the game and give the Kings a fighting chance. This should be an interesting game to watch with both teams likely to put up over 100 points, and the team with the last shot might end up the winner.
THE KEY BATTLE
Carl Landry vs. Chris Bosh, fate of the world hangs in the balance. But seriously, scoring fest. I would note Bosh's rebounding skill
1. if Andrea Bargnani weren't his teammate, and
2. if I thought either Landry or Bosh would miss a single shot tonight.
The Kings official Stand With Reke t-shirts will sell better than Sactown Royalty's #RekeROY t-shirts. Just a hunch.
SEAN MAY PREMIERE
Two minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
7 PM tip Pacific time. Two game threads (7 and 8:15), a post-gamer at 9:45. A win? A win, maybe.