If Patrick Patterson wins the starting power forward job, his 27-point, 8-rebound game for the Kings in a loss to the Blazers on Sunday might be the reason. Patterson played 40 minutes, included some time at center as DeMarcus Cousins took the night off. Patterson hit 11-18 overall and 3-5 from long-range.
Ben McLemore was the Kings' other star, scoring 23 points, 21 in the second half. He did it on a mix of plays: finishing in transition, spotting up for the three, floating in for the offensive rebound putback. And based on the highlights, he was a whole bunch of fun.
McLemore and the bench unit kept the Kings in the game, as the starters not named Patterson struggled. Jason Thompson was 0-5 with two rebounds in 15 minutes at center. Johnny Salmons shot 2-8. Marcus Thornton wasn't bad on offense with 10 points in 18 minutes on 4-9 shooting, but the starting crew's defense was just bad. Then there was Greivis Vasquez who conceded a lot of Damian Lillard's 28 points while giving 4 points on 1-8 shooting with 6 assists on offense.
Isaiah Thomas, meanwhile, had 15 points on 5-17 shooting with 10 assists and 2 turnovers. Jimmer Fredette got 14 minutes, and responded with 9 points, including two made threes.
Lesson of this game: the defense is not there every night. It'll be interesting to see whether Vasquez's inability to slow Lillard -- a damn fine player -- will give an edge to Isaiah in the battle for the starting PG spot. I'm also curious as to how long Michael Malone is going to keep Ben McLemore in a bench role. Man, he's looking good.
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- How watchable are the Kings?
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