Kings figure out a way in the Energetic Salt Palace; Kings beat Jazz 104-103

This is going to be short because I have ADD and well, what?

Here’s what grabbed my attention about the game:

* Bad adjustment to how the refs were calling the game.

* Bad rebounding (especially with Hayes as the C) for far too many stretches throughout the game

* Isaiah Thomas looks more and more like a starter much of the time. The play of the game, the real tide turner, was where the Kings were down 2, play quality defense on the Jazz to force a missed shot by Al Jefferson with about 37 or so seconds left, then Terrence Williams grabs the board and throws the ball ahead to Isaiah who hits the game tying FT’s. 6-8 floor, 7-9 floor? Gets it done every time. Between Devin Harris and Earl Watson, they got 20 points and 11 assists. Isaiah got 19 points and 6 assists by himself (with a number of high end looks that were just missed). That’s starter material right there even if Isaiah’s future role is as a 6th man. Right now? I’m convinced Isaiah can start long term in this league. Am I surprised Isaiah can play. No, of course not. I’ve said time & time & time again Isaiah going 60th was the Kings lucky break; not anything more than that. On the other hand, Isaiah starting and looking like a terrific long term player in the NBA is not something I necessarily expected this early in his career either.

 

* DeMarcus Cousins is making less silly mistakes less often.35 minutes though? 5 fouls, several of which were dubious in my opinion, and 35 minutes? Cousins kept himself on the floor for the most part during the entire game. Progress is progress, and that’s real progress.

* Is Terrence Williams a keeper? I don’t know. As much as I’m not a fan of the guy (he’s a legitimate nutcase), T-Will is also a legitimate talent who can run a team for long stretches, rebound the ball, and defend on top of that. What you saw tonight is not particularly difficult for T-Will to do long term. Will his head stay on straight? Stay tuned. On the other hand, seeing what Williams does for the rest of the season is not a huge risk at this point for the Kings. According to Jason Jones though, Terrence Williams is already signed for the rest of the season. (Williams was signed to a 10 day contract last Tuesday, would have had to sign a 10 day contract starting tomorrow, and once that expired the Kings could have signed him to a contract for the rest of the year. But apparently that 2nd step has been decided against.)

* As much as I love Chuck Hayes, I’ll say it again: Hayes is ultimately suited as a 4th big man on a championship level team. Also, I still love how Chuck Hayes plays anyway. I’m just tired of seeing guys jump over his back for rebounds is all.

* Travis Outlaw had a ferocious putback dunk. Everything else? Let’s pretend we didn’t notice the other 13 minutes and 56 seconds of Outlaw’s stint tonight.

* Marcus Thornton had another terrific game for him scoring 26 points on 20 shots and 3 FT attempts. Again, Thornton is a high volume scorer, but an effective one. Thornton’s improvement recently is due to one thing that I think has made the Kings and Thornton’s life easier: He’s no longer being asked to create shots for teammates on a consistent basis. Also, Thornton tends to catch the ball either A) on the move or B) in at the moment he touches the ball scoring opportunity. Thornton is terrific at running the floor AND finishing at the basket. On top of that, Thornton’s offensive rebounding is just incredible for a guy his size. The instincts? You can’t teach that.

* Hassan Whiteside has to do more than he has to merit a long term roster spot.

* Donte Greene looked good at times tonight, especially very early in the game, but after that tailed off a bit. On the other hand, it was nice to have Donte’s size and athleticism on the court for the final possession.

* The Kings were out rebounded tonight 62-48 (27 offensive boards for the Jazz; 16 Offensive Boards for the Kings) by a large large margin. That 14 margin is not nearly as indicative as how wide the gap actually was at one point. I think it was as bad as the Kings were being outrebounded by 25 until Cousins returned in the 4th quarter. Being out-rebounded by the Jazz like that is not a long term winning strategy.

* The Jazz got to the Free Throw line 52 times. The Kings actually got to the line 32 times themeselves, but a good chunk of those 52 foul shots were the Kings simply not adjusting to the way the refs were calling fouls. Several of those foul shots were also on technical fouls on DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia.

* Last thought: You get outboarded badly, lose the percentage and total FT attempt battle, and you are in the game with 2 minutes to go. You struggle to run your offense for large stretches of the 2nd half, you struggle to play defense against the Jazz for long stretches of the game, and you struggle to understand the disjointed rhythm of the game. Yet, with all of that, the Kings won. As Spencer Campbell of Bloguin’s Utah Jazz Blog noted after the game, this was a freak win for the Kings. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying to you. Don’t believe them. In fact, dump them in the Matrix and continue eating your steak.

The Kings won a game they shouldn’t have, did it on the road, got their 5th win of the year on the road, and that’s something to be truly happy about at this point. The Kings actually have a chance to win some games in succession starting tomorrow night against New Jersey at that Pavillion something or other joint. Minnesota and then Phoenix come in Monday/Tuesday nights. The chance to win 4 games in a row since Ron Artest suited up in a Kings jersey is too enticing for me to pass up. Let’s go Kings!