What a complete game for the Kings. You knew Sacramento had the advantage on the glass and in the paint, and that Tyreke Evans had a huge size advantage on the perimeter. But the Warriors are deep with talent (Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson are legit, and Anthony Randolph shouldn't be third-string anywhere) and the roster is filled with good scorers (Corey Maggette, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Stephen Curry). Let's be honest: without Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia, no win is decreed.
But by the half, this one felt nailed shut. The Kings took an 11-point lead into the break, but it felt like 20+. And it really came from the bench all night long -- from Omri Casspi's threes (he hit three straight in the first quarter, 4-6 overall ... and he added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals) and Donte Greene's best pro game (17 points, five rebounds, one turnover, one unbelievable sideline alley-oop to Jason Thompson at the buzzer).
Tyreke Evans was again brilliant (23 points on 18 shot attempts, eight rebounds, two assists, zero turnovers, two steals -- sat the entire fourth quarter). At some point, it's going to feel pedestrian, watching Evans destroy opponents on both ends. I think the last few years have been rough enough that we won't take 'Reke for granted in the near future, but damn. With the performances by Greene, Casspi and Wabeno Udrih, it's easy to overlook how dominant Evans was in the first half (especially the second quarter).
Jason Thompson had his third straight double-double with 19/11 -- and this happened to be his most efficient shooting night. The key to me over the weekend has been that J.T. has dominated the defensive glass. We know he can clean the offensive glass, but the team needs him to step up his game at the other end. Against Utah and Golden State, he did just that.
If you want to find a minus in this game, it'd have to be one of two things: Evans was limited in the third by the bigger Jackson, and Andres Nocioni had a bad shooting night. But with regard to 'Reke in the third: the Kings won the quarter by eight points, with the offense humming in Udrih's hands. And Nocioni can be expected to have bad nights -- he's not a shy shooter, and that's probably a good thing in his role as a primary scorer in the starting five. You don't want Chapu to stop shooting (or driving, which he did often) -- that puts pressure on the other scorers. Missing Martin already adds enough pressure.
That Nocioni was so inefficient but the Kings still won big is a testament to how well everyone else played.
One more lowlight: Spencer Hawes wasn't fantastic, with 10 points, six rebounds and four turnovers. But while Thompson is built to expose an undersized, without-resolve opponent, Hawes is different. What use is a stretch big against a team with no defensive post presence? On the other end, I thought Hawes played fine. On the whole, his lack of superlative production since retaking the starting job has been disappointing. But with the team 2-1, and owning the glass for two of those games, it's been fine. The Oklahoma City game on Tuesday will be a bigger deal for Hawes, I think.
By the way: the Kings haven't won two in a row since last November 7 and 9, and haven't swept a back-to-back since April 2008, roughly 100 games ago. Unbelievable. The Kings can move to .500 for the first time since Dec. 4, 2006 (!) with a win on Tuesday.