In the final moments of tonight's game, Thomas Robinson drove the length of the court looking to score an easy layup and record his first career double-double. The Grizzlies didn't make an effort to stop him, he got right to the rim... and he blew the layup.
That about sums up the kind of night it was for the Kings, particularly in the second half where they absolutely fell to pieces.
The first half was actually kind of alright. Sacramento finished with the lead after the first quarter thanks to some decent play from the starters. The ball movement that has been a staple of the Kings' recent success was there and defensively they were doing a pretty good job on the Grizz scorers, particularly Rudy Gay.
Things began to fall apart in the seams in the second quarter however when the bench came in. Keith Smart again opted to play the dreaded "Jimmer, Brooks, Johnson, Robinson, Hayes" lineup for a large stretch and Memphis took control of the game during this point by pressing the advantage with their own starting unit. The way Lionel Hollins and Keith Smart handle their substitutions and rotation patterns are night and day different, with Memphis almost always having at least two starters on the court throughout. In fact, the only time Memphis didn't have at least two starters on the court was during garbage time in the fourth quarter with the game already decided.
But it's not as if the Kings bench or rotations were the source of all of Sacramento's problems. The Kings came out in the third quarter terribly flat, while Memphis began to hit everything. Even Zach Randolph nailed a triple during the third. Sacramento couldn't stop Memphis from getting what they wanted, and on the other end, the Kings reverted back to one-on-one with very little ball movement. While Sacramento had 11 assists at halftime, they added just 3 more in the second half. Memphis outscored the Kings 36 to 20 in the third and then continued to have their way with them in the fourth to extend an already big lead to above 30 points.
Sacramento also let the Grizzlies role players contribute way too much. Wayne Ellington scored a career-high 26 points on an amazing 10-11 from the field, essentially making up for Rudy Gay's performance. Gay was outplayed by John Salmons, the only real bright spot for Sacramento. Salmons finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-12 shooting and helped hold Gay to just 8 points on 2-10 shooting. Aside from Jason Thompson (12 points on 5-8 from the field), no other starter had a good shooting night. Francisco Garcia was 0-3, DeMarcus Cousins came back to earth with 10 points and 8 rebounds on 3-9 shooting, and Isaiah Thomas had one of the worst shooting nights of his young career, going just 2-12 and 0-7 from downtown.
Tyreke Evans did make his comeback tonight but did not play all that much. He scored 5 points and added an assist, rebound and block in 12 minutes of action. He definitely came into the game with a pass-first mentality, but didn't play long enough to make a real impact on the game either way. It looks like he'll be brought back along slowly, which I can understand after his previous attempts to come back failed so miserably.
Memphis absolutely dominated the fast break points in this game, outscoring Sacramento 27 to 8 there. They also outrebounded Sacramento 44 to 37, a differential that was not particularly reflective of how bad it actually was. Thomas Robinson had a career-high 12 rebounds in the loss, but 10 of those came in the fourth quarter with the game pretty much already decided.
There's not much else to say about this game. The Kings sucked and got their butts handed to them by a very good team that matches up almost perfectly with Sacramento. The Kings need to forget this loss and get back on the right track on Thursday, when Dallas comes into town.
- Announced attendance was 11,531. That's pretty generous. Poor decision by the NBA to go head to head with the NCAA Football Championship game.
- Thomas Robinson suffers from "give the goddamn ball to your guard"-itis, a plague that also affected DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson during their rookie campaigns. Hopefully he'll be cured of it like they were.
- DeMarcus, when you're matched up against Zach Randolph, don't settle for jumpers. Take him inside. You're quicker than he is and he's probably the worst defender of the Memphis starters.
- Tyler Honeycutt is the most exciting warmup player the Kings have had since Gerald Wallace.
- Jimmer was 0-7, unsurprising considering that in most of the lineups he was in, he was pretty much the only guy the other team had to focus in on. Again, this goes back to rotation issues.
- Aaron Brooks airballed a three in the third quarter and heard lots of boos as a result.
- Last two games me and my dad have gone to together: this one and the Denver one. We're not on a good streak here. I need to take section214 to more games, we're like 5-1 in the past couple years.
- Nostradumbasses of the Night were adamsite, AkaP, caseycheesecake, dddaniels, Deleran, Doors Open, Dub_TC, DustinHefner, eISAVinator, Gabraham, ivAAron, Kenanito, kurtiss22, norcalfan12, SayWhat?, The Crown Royal Gentleman, there., and thomadollaz with 3 points each.