Kings win! Against the L*kers! Always a good day.
A couple times during the game I saw Kobe "touching" Isaiah Thomas - rubbing his head, a pat on the butt - it’s odd, because it’s not a very Kobe thing to do to an opponent unless it’s elbowing them in the chin to draw a blocking foul. I could be reading into it entirely too much, but I think Kobe might respect lil’ Isaiah a great deal based on that - admittedly minor - gesture.ALSO: 10 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals. Yeah buddy.
...has Kobe’s number. He may have fouled Kobe three times in the first quarter alone, but he also blocked Kobe’s shot twice - once on a corner 3, and once on a fast break that he didn’t get credit for because he fouled the guy. I don’t think Johnson covered Kobe much for the rest of the game because of the fouls, but I think he’s already the best defender on our team.
Johnson appears to be a pretty decent shooter when his feet are set and he spots up. He made 2 of 3 spot up jumpers tonight - his other two 3s attempted were off the dribble (and awful -.-). Can someone with Synergy check out his spot-up jumper % for me?
Cuz had a fantastic pass tonight out one of his signature "I’m gonna get to the basket if it kills me" plays - I thought it showed some growth. He looks fantastic running the floor - on more than once occasion I had to do a bit of a double take to make sure it was Cousins, not JT, running the floor. I’m impressed. Also - he has the strangest move for a big man, and I’m probably gonna catch some flack for loving it. When he gets in trouble in the post, he has a tendency to do this crazy-ass move where he falls backward off one foot, doing his best Dirk impression, and throws the ball into a high rainbow that somehow, miraculously, falls through the net. I haven’t seen him miss one of said crazy-ass shots before. It’s weird.
DMC’s defense is much improved in the post. He’s taken a tactic of either fronting his mane to deny the entry pass or bodying up on his man (to deny the entry pass) - thus far, it’s working to great effect. I saw him deny Pau twice tonight, one of which resulted in a steal, breakaway, and dunk.
Warning: this is a tirade. Turn back now. I’ve got beef with all the people hating on Tyreke Evans for his "regression" since his rookie year. One of the L*kers announcers tonight said "Tyreke Evans hasn’t even gotten close to the 20-5-5 statline that made him rookie of the year." To this, I say fuck you, L*kers announcer man. Tyreke Evans, last season, put up a statline of 17.3 ppg /4.7 apg / 4.8 rpg per 36 minutes on nearly a shot less, comparable accuracy, and the lowest usage of his career thus far, at a position that he had never played before. TWO DAMN POINTS, ONE SHOT, and he’d basically be at that statline - and if you factor in that he played 37 minutes a game his rookie year, he might have made it.
Also, I like Tyreke off the bench. However, I’d like to see him run the second unit with Jimmer playing Steve Kerr to his Michael Jordan, rather than Tyreke playing off the ball. He’s just not good enough at it yet.
QUESTION - does anyone know why Tyreke stopped getting fouls called for him in the paint? Multiple times tonight (and last season) he’d get obliterated going to the hole with no foul called - as evidenced by his 2 FTs less a game despite not changing his style at all (oh, what? He only needed two more points to make his rookie per-36 minute scoring #s? Weird.)
Tyreke is playing fantastic defense so far this in this early season. He looks engaged and determined. Making bonehead plays, sure, but he’s right up in his man’s face.
...Is looking great out there. Defense is gonna be a problem 'til he gets a bit more savvy (or, you know - forever), but he's playing with confidence and intelligence on the offensive end.
ThoR (Yes, I am still advocating this as his nickname.)
...Is all over the court. He’s an amazingly aware help defender, and I think people are mistaking him patrolling the paint for being lost - I don’t believe this to be the case. He follows the ball while keeping tabs on his man using his body, hands, and peripheral vision.
They totally did a group huddle just before Isaiah Thomas shot some free throws in the second quarter. Has anyone ever seen this Kings team do that before? It made me smile.
Last time I wrote that I hadn’t seen a helpless lineup - I’d like to recant that. The lineup of Jimmer, Tyreke, Cisco, JT and Hayes is absolutely gross. At least, as long as Jimmer is running the offense. Put the ball in Tyreke’s hands and you’ve got a pretty balanced lineup.
I LOVE the pairing of Thomas Robinson and James Johnson on the court. I think pairing them both in the starting lineup would be amazing for our defensive numbers. Unfortunately, it would result in a lot of the aforementioned lineup of horrors.
...Has a leftie baby hook?
James Johnson’s +/- for the Preseason: +34
Ridiculous Marcus Thronton Buzzer Beaters: 1
Thanks for reading! Don't hesitate to call me out on an ill or mis-formed opinion, I love a good debate.