Game 26: Oklahoma City Thunder at Kings

Okay, I don’t really think I can add to anything that has been dropped over the last few days. But whatever, that’s what I do.

Tonight? Big deal. It’s on TNT, and it’s more about the fans than it is about the team if I had to guess. But, it’s very much about the team too. They need to show well, and win on their homecourt. The Kings need to win a high profile game and follow it up with more success. Beating a team is something this team can do at random times, but consistently? This franchise has not been able achieve that very often frequently in most recent times.

OKC’s ORtg is 108.0 points (4th of 30) per 100 possessions and the DRtg is 102.9 points (17th of 30) per 100 possessions with the Pace being 93.3 (4th of 30) possessions per game.

Sac’s ORtg is 98.3 points (27th of 30) per 100 possessions and the DRtg is 107.7 points (27th of 30) per 100 possessions with the Pace being 93.0 (8th of 30) possessions per game.

Matchup’s? I’m interested to see how Tyreke Evans plays tonight more than anyone else. I think DeMarcus Cousins might have a strong game, but he also might not. I want to see what kind of game Evans displays tonight. Will it be another episode of Clownball, or will it be back to professional basketball again? Will Cousins be able to get better shots against Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka than he did against Nicola Pekovic Tuesday Night?

I’m also interested to see how John Salmons plays tonight against Kevin Durant. It’s not that Salmons can’t defend Durant adequately, but I am intrigued to see the quality of shots Durant gets tonight.

 

Opponent Required reading

Matt Kawahara of the Bee writes a profile of Durant and his comfort level with Oklahoma City. (Here’s a hint: It’s very high.)

This is a week old, but JA Sherman of Welcome to Loud City has a post regarding what has been the strange media dynamic of Russell Westbrook. This post deals, fairly understandably, with some things Bill Simmons said about a week ago as well.

Sherman also has a detailed links post that lays out all the latest big news regarding OKC. There is also NBA news there as well.

Royce Young of the Daily Thunder (and CBSSports.com) discusses the Kendrick Perkins-LeBron James nonsense. Should James Harden be an All-Star?  

Young makes the case on DT.

Kings Required Reading

Not much here, but if you have not read the potential for an 80 million dollar investment for a new arena from the NBA/Kings by James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom than you should. For what it’s worth, this seems like a reasonable investment from the NBA/Kings. And, it’s not surprising that the city will ask the NBA to pony up something.

Tom Ziller has a post up at Sactown Royalty about giving the world an earful tonight during the TNT telecast. (This is noisy change I can believe in.)

Keith Smart talks about DeMarcus Cousins being picked for the NBA’s Rising Stars during All-Star weekend. From Jason Jones at the Bee Blog.

Jones has a post about Jimmer Fredette a couple days ago that should be read. There is a nice quote from Jimmer that gives a strong glimpse into why you can bench him and then receive a positive contribution a few games later:

“(Smart) felt like the guys coming in could help us win and we had a chance,” Fredette said when asked about not being in the game late. “Whether I stayed in or not doesn’t really matter too much at this point, it’s just the fact that’s what coach thought was best at that point.”

It’s really simple for Jimmer: The more he does means it’s more difficult for Smart to get him on the court. There is no doubt in my mind that Keith Smart would love to keep Jimmer on the court a lot more than he has. But, a guy has to earn those minutes. Jimmer is no different.

If you haven’t watched the Keith Smart presser following the Minnesota loss, you should:

The most interesting Smart said: “We don’t have a superstar so we gotta find different guys every night to get it done.” Let that sink in for a moment.

Tom Couzens asks Bee readership are the Maloofs the right owners moving forward for the Kings? You know where I stand.

Stathead Final Thoughts

Not much here, but Jason Thompson’s defensive rebounding has bothered me all season. His season DRB% is around 16.5%, and that’s really the only flaw JT has had all season as far as I can tell. If JT’s DRB% gets back up to 20 or even 22%, the Kings are possibly only a barely bottom 10 rebounding team instead of the 2nd worst in the NBA in DRB% right now. (Kings are at 69.5% and are barely ahead of the Wiz–who are at 69.2%–and a bit behind Golden State who is at an even 70% DRB%.)

As good as DeMarcus Cousins is on the boards, and Cousins is one of the 5 best rebounders in the NBA right now, there needs to be better effort from others on those said boards.

Hayes is the only Kings player not named Cousins at a 20% DRB% or better at 20.9% DRB%, and Hickson is significantly behind Hayes with a 19.1 DRB%.

The Kings need better effort from every player to get better on the boards. But it would be nice, not to mention helpful, if JT’s DRB% returned to his career norm fo 20% DRB%.

Final Thoughts

Tonight is the long awaited Blackout Game on TNT. Game starts at 7:30 pm at the ‘ole once upon a time gravity defying bracelet.

Go Kings!