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Blazers Beat Kings 89-86 As Sergio Fails to Plunge a Dagger Into His Old Mates

I believe that it is worth questioning whether Sergio Rodriguez is truly devoted to the Sacramento Kings.

You have the opportunity to hang a bomb on your old captors, and you miss ... what kind of King are you? For those who have not read the recaps, a mini-run sparked by defense and Omri Casspi left the Kings behind three in the closing seconds. With a chance to send the game to overtime, Sergio clanked a three from the top of the key.

He clanked the shot, despite having just come into the game a few minutes prior and despite being a poor deep shooter. I mean, that just screams conspiracy, doesn't it?

The truth is out there.

Coverage Hub | Boxscore

It would appear my Tuesday comment that Sergio is definitely behind Beno Udrih on Paul Westphal's depth chart is correct, and Wednesday night's should have done nothing to change that: Beno had eight points on six shots, five assists and zero turnovers. That is "aw, yeah, we can trade Bibby" Beno. Vintage. (Yes, eight points and five assists actually qualifies as vintage Beno, after the abomination of the 2008-09 season. Sad, yes?)

And while Tyreke Evans's point guard-y numbers (four assists, six turnovers in 37 minutes) were rough, Evans did score well (14 points on 14 shooting possessions) and helped free up the spectacular Kevin Martin (a ridiculous 28 points on only 19 shooting possessions, a True Shooting of .737). For the record, it was the first of many times the starting backcourt will exceed 40 points in a game.

* SERIOUSLY, OMRI, you're making a case for more minutes here! You'd better watch out or you're going to have to spend your winter evenings playing NBA basketball instead of the much more relaxing "waving a towel" job. Omri was a +7 over 17 minutes on Wednesday, scoring seven points on 3-of-4 shooting (1-of-2 from three) with one offensive rebound and one turnover. He had a sequence Sam Amick describes thusly:

Down 89-82 and using a zone late in the fourth quarter, Kings forward Sean May stripped Blazers center Greg Oden down low, Omri Casspi hit the floor for the loose ball and passed ahead for a Beno Udrih jumper that started the run. The frenetic play that delighted the announced Arco Arena crowd of 10,454 didn't stop there.

Portland's Andre Miller missed a contested jumper in the paint, with Jon Brockman gathering the ball and Casspi eventually finding himself alone for a dunk that cut the lead to three with 1:06 left.

Hitting the floor for a loose ball? Check. Pounding a breakaway dunk? Check. Mr. Casspi, according to my records, you're a lead-changing three away from completing your "Become an Instant Fan Favorite" boot camp.

* SERIOUSLY, KEVIN, in preseason? Harsh, dude! I wish I had been there to see how Portland guarded Martin so that I write an essay titled "Either the Blazers Don't Know How to Defend Kevin Martin, or Kevin Martin is Unguardable." It would get mad links!

* RAW PLUS-MINUS is problematic game-to-game, though it is the basis for a robust analysis when adjusted by someone smarter than me to account for teammates and opponents. But ... hmm ... just a cursory glance and well ...

Casspi: +6
Nocioni: -10

Obviously, I don't know the full story behind these figures. Even people at the game don't know the full story behind these figures -- you'd have to watch a game several times while taking copious line-up notes to know the full story behind single-game raw plus-minus numbers. But it bears mentioning that in no statistic is Nocioni (a grizzled vet) outperforming Casspi (a project player). It's just exhibition season, and maybe Nocioni is sleepwalking. But keep it in mind going forward.

* SEAN MAY not only did not foul out in his 23 minutes, but he only picked up two fouls! Jason Thompson, however, did foul out. In 18 minutes, having offered up six points and five rebounds. Which is, I guess to say, that it's just Spencer Hawes who will wake up to nightmares of Greg Oden, but that Jason Thompson will also do so in the awful future. :-(

* DONTE GREENE, a DNP-CD in the team's second preseason game, a game in which

  1. The Kings were on short rest
  2. The starting center was out, leaving the starting power forward to play center
  3. The fill-in starting center fouled out in 18 minutes
  4. The starting small forward was out, leaving the back-up shooting guard to start in his place
  5. The grizzled veteran combo forward was terrible for the second straight game

and D.G. still didn't get out of the hangar. Hmm.