Another defensive clinic by Ron-Ron's Kings.
They forced Toronto into 18 turnovers - nevermind that the Raptors have been one of the most sure-handed squads in the league this season. The Kings, after six games against teams of varied offensive ability, sit with the third best defensive turnover rate in the NBA, causing a turnover in 21.6 percent of opponent possessions.
It's weird to ask, because it seems like the question has come up after every single game this season, but: Can this hold up? Is this insane defense, the likes of which we have never seen from the Kings (let alone the Mike Bibby Kings), for real? We had an idea that the equation
Ron-Ron + Eric Musselman
meant a markedly better defense was likely on the way. But so early and so potent? It's certainly taken me by surprise, and I was perhaps the most optimistic fan in Sacramento when it came to the defensive side.
Just by looking at the score, it should be obvious that the offense is coming around. 107 points on 100 possessions, which is solid though not spectacular. Turnovers are still a problem for the Kings, with Bibby giving away five and Shareef Abdur-Rahim with six. It seems as though Bibby's injury has affected his dribbling more than his shooting thus far, though the turnovers could also point to his stated issues with the new ball. Numerous sources have noted you have to dribble harder to get the same bounce, so Bibby could still be in a tinkering phase as far as getting his standard dribble going when he comes around the pick or tries to split defenders. (He hasn't looked good at either so far.)
This is where Brad Miller might hurt the most - his offensive chemistry with Bibby is the most reliable facet of the Kings attack, and his ball-handling is impeccable. Shareef is a crafty/smooth/pretty as hell post technician, but he can't set a screen like Big Brad can, and he's not the same threat out around the arc. When Miller returns, the offense will improve a notch. (Not that he should rush it, as the Kings are 3-0 without him.)
And humor me while I give a nice round of applause to Eric Musselman for two decisions:
- 3rd Quarter, 0:14, Quincy Douby enters the game for Ronnie Price
- Maurice Taylor, PF -- DNP COACH'S DECISION
Quincy Douby got non-garbage time run! (A whole 14 seconds worth.) And Maurice Taylor got no run! (Fantastic.)