CLE 97 - SAC 93
Sac: 12-19, 4th Pacific, 11th West
Poss ORtg eFG FTr DReb TOr
SAC 92 101.1 57% 8 63% 24
CLE 105.4 41% 24 73% 10
BOX SCORE | GAMEFLOW | SACBEE
What a group of fighters. Seriously -- the won-loss record was better last year. But this team is way more encouraging.
(And yes, I say this after I watch my favorite team blow a game by marking 53 turnovers and give up 13 open three-pointers in the fourth quarter to lose.)
In his post-game comments, Reggie Theus gave no weight to the excuses which would allow these players to roll over. And yes, it is discouraging to see the ball squirt out-of-bounds 20 times a night, to see carom after carom go to the other team. The turnovers, that's a function of the current personnel -- Mike Bibby, Ron Artest, Kevin Martin... they protect the ball. The rebounding? That's a roster issue. It's not going to get better when the injury time ends. We knew it in October and we know it right now: This team is a poor rebounding team. Brad Miller, resurgent as he may be, is 43rd of 58 centers in rebound rate. Mikki Moore is #37 of 54 power forwards. A team with that frontline isn't going to win the rebounding battle... ever.
But the flaw makes the (relative) success much more visible. The Kings defense was much better than Cleveland's; the Kings offense got much better shots all night. The rebounds, the turnovers, the lack of free throws -- all that killed the positive. But some of that will get fixed when the injured return. Kevin Martin draws fouls. Mike Bibby protects the ball. The level to which the depleted team is competing will be magnified when the depletion ends...
... if the current good actors can keep it up in reduced roles. John Salmons will start the rest of the month, but Francisco Garcia has to play in control from the bench, which he hasn't shown to do much. In whatever role Beno Udrih moves into, he's got to keep placing pressure on the opposing defense. Mikki's going to get less shots -- he needs to accept his role and bang the boards first, second, and third. Justin Williams needs to practice his free throws so I don't look like an idiot.
Quincy Douby... he's not making the most of this opportunity.