There are times, and places, where wins can be cathartic. For a lot of Kings fans, a win against the Lakers qualifies as such. For me what was cathartic is that the Kings clearly got many quality performances across the board tonight in a much needed victory that now has the Kings 3-8 on the season.
First and foremost, Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes and Marcus Thornton get the game ball. All of them were exceptional tonight. Hats off gents.
* Tyreke Evans showed why he can be so effective as a 2 way player. The numbers (and only in 30 minutes…grrr) don't necessarily mean much, but 7-11 shooting is incredibly if not damn necessary. It was nice to see that Tyreke can be a 2 way impact player. Again, it's not that Tyreke can't do this for stretches. It's that Tyreke just doesn't do this game in game out. More please Tyreke. One note though: Look at Tyreke's shot chart from ESPN. He hit several jumpers, and just as importantly, Tyreke looked to take them. That's a big step in of itself. One last note: Tyreke started 1-4 from the field in the 1st quarter. He shot 6-7 for the rest of the game and hit 4 FT's at the very end too. (That's a game TS% of 70.5%. More please.) The only negative was 5 turnovers, but those were primarily early. Oh and Tyreke had 6 assists and 4 boards too. (All around game, yeah?) Onto Utah Reke. What's next brah?
* Jason Thompson was exceptional tonight. Just exceptional. Played great defense on Pau Gasol for much of the game, was effective in bothering Dwight Howard into a flagrant late in the game, and in general just was able to be kind of the right place at the right time as JT sometimes does. JT's numbers don't jump out at you for a "great" game, and that's what makes JT special. He doesn't need numbers to be effective.
* Chuck Hayes did what the Chuckwagon does. Facilitates on offense, scored a few buckets off passes and wide open opportunities, and play rough and tumble defense on Howard for long stretches among others. Another effective outing for the Modesto native. Big ups to the Chuckwagon for how he's handled himself so far this season.
* Marcus Thornton was exceptional tonight shooting, and once again illustrated just why Thornton's offense is so important. But since Thornton has been quiet and relatively as of cold, it's always nice to see the streakiness actually work in the Kings favor for a change.
* I'm not slamming on DeMarcus Cousins even though I could.
* I like James Johnson off the bench for a lot of reasons, and namely he doesn't seem to be doing things that are out of the flow of the offense with the bench guys Johnson plays with. Simply put, JJ looks more comfortable. That means a lot when JJ can defend the way he does (and did tonight). Going 3-5 from the floor, 5 assists, a great steal that led to a fastbreak dunk. That's James Johnson at his best really.
* John Salmons came out of the gate exceptionally strong, and tailed off as the game went on (although Salmons didn't play that much in the 2nd half so it wasn't really Salmons fault on that front). The defense on the Kobe, the tone setting getting the Kings off to a quality start, and the willingness to compete made this a very successful game for Salmons. More please sir.
* Isaiah Thomas' stint was effective even if it doesn't strike you as very important looking at the boxscore. The continuity Isaiah provided was important. Like most people, I'm not a fan of the PG rotation right now. But, and I think this is a big but, I'm willing to live with it if it's a short term thing. Ultimately, the rotation cannot continue. On the other hand, Aaron Brooks and Isaiah combined for 44 PG minutes. So it's not like the switcharoo PG rotation that we saw with Brooks/Fredette/Thomas against Brooklyn.
* Speaking of Aaron Brooks, he had some nice moments particularly in the 3rd quarter when the Kings started to take control of the game. If nothing else, Aaron Brooks was a positive factor.
* Jimmer Fredette only played for 7 seconds, but in those 7 seconds Jimmer beat Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) off the dribble into the lane and in turn dumped off a nice pass to JT to end the half. It put the Kings up 1 entering halftime, and despite the issue's the Kings had (the foul situation especially), it was a nice emotional boost to have that work out in the Kings favor.
Should Jimmer get more minutes? Stay tuned. I don't know, but I'm eager to find out. Jimmer has the talent to help this team, and ultimately I think Jimmer has a strong chance of doing so. Right now, though, it's wait and see time. Patience is a virtue, and being patient with Fredette's allotment of minutes is something Kings fans (and not just the Jimmerazi) will have to be patient with.
* I really don't remember Thomas Robinson's stint at all. That's mostly reflecting that I watched on crappy streams (until the 2nd half) while Robinson's stint was transpiring. That said, the box score doesn't reflect anything terrible.
* The Kings bench scored 49 of the Kings 113 points. The Lakers bench scored 19 of the Lakers 97 points, and yes that includes Jodie Meeks' 15 points.
* The Kings outscored the Lakers in the paint 50-22. The Kings outrebounded the Lakers 41-33 including 9 offensive rebounds to the Lakers 6.
* The Kings gave up 44.6% shooting to the Lakers, but 46.2% shooting on 3pt shots. My thoughts on that are this: Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol had a combined 15 points in 78 minutes of playing time. I'll take the 46% shooting from 3 if you are giving up 15 points to Howard/Gasol every time. That's always a trade off I think gives the Kings a great chance to win the game. To that end, the Kings did contest 3's pretty well, but sometimes Kobe Bryant (that fucker just hit one impossible 3 in the 3rd he had no business hitting; fucking 1st ballot Hall of Famers and top 25 players of all time doing their thing) just does his thing. I respect Kobe's career (and possibly respect him more than most too), but that shit was ridiculous.
* Speaking of Bryant, I didn't see a lot of dedicated opportunities for Gasol/Howard tonight and I thought part of that was Bryant's offense. I don't know how Mike D'Antoni plans to deal with that, and whether that was Jason Thompson/Chuck Hayes defense in a lot of ways showing up, but whatever it is the Kings chances of beating the Lakers goes up when Howard/Gasol perform the way they did tonight.
* The Lakers took 39 Free Throws and hit 27. The Kings took 22 shots and hit 18 of them. That kind of disparity can be taken care of given the Kings shot 54% from the field (the Lakers 44.6%), and the Kings themselves hit 46.7% of their own 3 point attempts.
* Turnovers were an issue for both teams as the Lakers turned it over 20 times giving up 25 points in the process. The Kings coughed it up 17 times themselves for 23 Lakers points going the other way.
* The Kings had 23 assists on 41 made baskets. Part of that was hitting more jump shots, and part of that was their was a clear purpose to get the ball moving. Obviously you need both, and both helps you win games. Hence the Kings won. Factor in that the Kings had 13 fastbreak points to the Lakers 4 and there you have it.
You win the rebounding battle, the shooting battle, the turnover battle, the points in the paint and the fast break battle, if you aren't winning comfortably you are doing something terribly wrong. Beating the Lakers was necessary and important, but it doesn't mean anything unless the Kings can go on a run. That starts Friday night in Utah.
See ya then.