GS Part II
Sitting at the Portland game and yelling D-Fense until my throat hurt, only to watch another 4th quarter lead evaporate and turn into a loss, I began to feel that it was the most disappointing game I’d been to this season. Until, I started to write this Report and was reminded of our last game against GS.
Back on Dec. 21st, The Kings were outscored 32-18 in the 4th and 15-7 in OT. Early in the fourth quarter it appeared the Kings were headed for a win; leading 94-78 with 9:20 remaining. The Warriors had dropped 14 of their previous 16 games, but they began frustrating the Kings on defense and forced 10 turnovers to rally from the 16-point deficit to force overtime.
The Kings made only two baskets over the final nine minutes of regulation, a Tyreke Evans layup with 4:20 remaining and a jumper by Udrih with 2:45 left on the clock. Udrih's bucket put the Kings up 98-91. But, it was the way the Kings chocked in the final seconds that left everyone in disbelief. And, allowed the Warrior’s fans of which there were many, to totally take over the arena.
The Kings led 102-99 when Golden State's guard Reggie Williams missed a free throw with 3.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The missed free throw deflected out of bounds off Cousins with two seconds left. Radmanovic then drilled a 3-pointer from well beyond the 3-point line as time expired. Down the stretch, all thru the OT, and even in the concourse after the game the Warriors fan made it sound like the game was played in Oakland. Fights broke out in the concourse as the cry “Warriors” reminiscent to the cries from the 1979 movie of the same name but without the clinking of beer bottles could be heard repeatedly. And, it was reported that he Maloof brother were beside themselves after the game. To tell you the truth, at the time, I couldn’t see Westphal surviving to the New Year.
Since that game the Warriors have gone 6-1 at home with their lone loss coming at the hands of the Lakers. For January, they have a record of 5-4, and are averaging 107 PPG on 47.4% FG shooting and 42.6% three point shooting on more than 23 attempts per game, and 79% from the FT line. Their rebounding isn’t that great at either end of the court, but when you’re shooting that well, low offensive rebounding isn’t all that important. And, they’re averaging 9 steals and 5 blocks per game.
Under new coach Keith Smart, GS isn’t the same type of high scoring team in transition that they were under Don Nelson. But, if you turn over the ball, they will punish you. Unfortunately, one of the few things that the Kings have been consistent at is turning over the ball. The other thing that the Kings can’t do is to get in a 3pt shooting contest with the Warriors, who have 6 players shooting over 40% from three point range. Really, as porous as our exterior defense has been, it’s hard not to see GS getting all the open long jumpers they want.
From the Kings perspective, they need to follow the game plan of the Pacer’s coach Jim O'Brien whose game plan was to attack the Warriors with penetration, and they got to the FT line 29 times, making 25 free throws. Certainly, with the Kings FT problems, it might be a better plan for Indiana than the Kings, but what other option do we have.
In the last game Tyreke, went 4-9 at the rim and 0-9 everywhere else. He needs to stop and give up the ball rather than continue to take long 2’s and 3’s. He was 0-6 in the last GS game, and 1-4 in Wednesday’s game against Portland. Sorry Tyreke, you didn’t do enough in the summer to waste that many possessions trying to prove you suddenly have an outside shot. I don’t believe it and neither do the opposing teams.
In the Portland game, Dalembert was 5-5 inside 10ft, but he didn’t do it by creating his own shot. He got great feeds in the paint where he was able to finish. JT was 2-4, with both baskets coming off of great passes inside for easy baskets. And, Landry was 2-2 at the rim, on 2 assisted baskets. We need more of these types of plays inside, especially for Cousins. We can’t expect him to go one on one against more experienced bigs just because it worked for Tyreke in his rookie year. It didn’t help Tyreke all that much in his development, and I believe it’s doing nothing but frustrate DeMarcus.
Yes, DeMarcus needs to work harder to get deeper position, but just because the play was called to get Cousins the ball doesn’t mean the guards have to give it to him if he isn’t in the right position. The guards can bring it back out and make him work in deeper, or have him repost. Either way this is the half-way point of the season, and it’s time for the Kings to move on to the next step in their development. If they want to play Cousins 15ft from the basket, then they better start sending cutters thru the paint, or start setting back picks on the opposing bigs to free up someone in the paint.
It time for the Kings to realize that they have very few outside shooters, and had better start making better use of the horde of big’s that we do have. I would love to see the Kings dominate the boards and ram the ball right down the lane. I think that’s our best chance of winning the game, and then we could leave their arena yelling “Warriors”. But, the reality is that we almost never play that way, and against the injury depleted Trailblazers we only took 20 shots at the rim. I don’t see that changing now so I’ll have to hope that GS misses a lot of their open shots. Go Kings.
Note: sorry if I wasn’t very positive. I was at both those games, and couldn’t fight thru the depression while writing about them.