First, a few comments about Saturday's game:
- Tracy McGrady is incredible. He ended up shooting a mediocre percentage, but he can literally get his shot off for anywhere in the arena. Yes, even from my seats.
- Corliss Williamson is probably going to get traded to a contender within the next month. I imagine Chicago could use him, if they don't pull in Garnett. (Minnesota is the 7-seed right now.) Detroit would also be a nice fit if Webber is as washed up as he seems. Who else? Perhaps Orlando, the Lakers, or San Antonio. He's shown he can score, score, score, and a lot of teams could use a cheapish bench scorer without a long-term deal. (Nasty's $6 million comes off the books this summer.) A 1st-round draft pick or a young player could do it for Petrie, who has to know he's not signing Williamson long-term this summer.
- This begs the question, then: We've all seen Kevin Martin take even fewer shots the last couple games. Do the Kings management feel they have a grasp on what he can do, and feel like they instead need to showcase the tradeable pieces? It would make sense, with Mike Bibby continuing to miss wide-open 28-footers (that's a joke) and Ron Artest begging for bank shot threes to go in. I'd love to go back and count exactly how many shots Speedracer took while Shane Battier was out of the game, see that the answer is zero, and scream at the point guard and coach. Yes, some of the responsibility lies with the player himself. But if he's following the gameplan - let Bibby and Artest
chokecontrol the offense - then you can't fault him too much.
- Ron Artest has almost reached Chris Webber 2004 playoffs status. What's Chris Webber 2004 playoffs status? Each time Ron Artest touches the ball with the obvious intent of shooting or going to the rim, you desparately yell at him to pass the ball. Late in the fourth on Saturday, myself and the stranger next to me yelled at Ron to pass it when he got the ball on the baseline and the double-team almost immediately came. (Ron ended up drawing the foul.) On the final offensive play of regulation, we both screeched some version of "Get it to Martin!" Of course, Ron-Ron banked it home for overtime. Remember the Minnesota series in 2004, when in Game 7 Chris Webber took a three for overtime? That is why we yelled at Ron the other night. That is why Kings fans are the way they are. (Oh, the stranger and I shared sheepish looks throughout overtime, as Ron was the only King with a pulse.)
- And finally: Louismg's dad really knows how to rock a thunderstick.
PG - Just when you think he's 100 percent back and full of shooting piss and vinegar, Mike Bibby proceeds to go 3-13 through 52 minutes, and then jack up a 28-footer with two guys draped on him at the end of overtime. Mike Bibby, you're awesome.
SG - Kevin Martin should be able to destroy New York. Will he get the opportunity?
SF - Ron Artest getting checked by Corliss Williamson is pretty much the only thing that can keep Ron sane at this point. Bibby, Miller, Martin, Shareef, Kenny, Hart, Potapenko - which of those guys is going to stand up to Ron in a timeout and get him to back down? Not one. I love Big Nasty.
PF - Shareef Abdur-Rahim got loose for some nice buckets Saturday. Kenny Thomas got loose for, what, nine minutes? In an overtime game where Shareef fouled out and Brad Miller didn't play? Free Kenny Thomas!
C - Brad Miller might not be in attendance on this road trip. Maurice Taylor might suck. ...Justin Williams anyone? (And yes, I was there for both Quincy Douby's breakout and the liberty of Justin Williams.)
PG - Key to stopping Stephon Marbury: make him shoot jumpers.
SG - Key to stopping Jamal Crawford: make him shoot jumpers.
SF - Key to stopping Jared Jeffries: make him stay on the court (so David Lee doesn't take over).
PF - Key to stopping Channing Frye: keep him away from the rim.
C - Key to stopping Eddy Curry: keep him away from the rim. (So, pretty much, the key to stopping the Knick is to pack the lane with big defenders and make them shoot. Justin Williams, anyone?)
The Kings are two-point road underdogs. What if I told you the Knicks actually have a better winning percentage than the Kings? Yet, the Kings are undefeated (3-0) against the Atlantic. Yet, the Kings have lost five straight, four of those at home. There's actually only one thing you need to know: this game will be played in New York. Ron Artest is from New York. Whether Ron even shows up at MSG this morning is a serious mystery. Take the Knicks.
INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOTE:
The Kings' point differential suggests they should be a .500 team. Yet, they're flirting with .400. One would assume that soon, some of those close games will start going the Kings' way, and the winning percentage will rise. One would also assume the Kings would never drop four straight at home, and lose to the Blazers twice in a week.
PREGAME AIRING OF GRIEVANCES
10 am Pacific? Really? It's bad enough I have to go to bed angry after Kings' losses, now I lose a whole day because of it? Argh.
Happy MLK Day, folks! Enjoy all the NBA goodness today.