Here is the box score. If you saw the game, shake your head. Because really there is little else to do. * Tyreke Evans had a statistically good game. He raised his FG% to over 45% after tonight, raised his FT% from 66 to 68% and his TS% went from 49.6% to 52.2%. Not bad for a days work. Except, and this is the except part that irritates me beyond belief, is that Tyreke had a pretty terrible last 8 minutes of the game. You can’t have the type of play with your team down 7 where you drive in for a layup and twist around and throw a shot up at the basket. That’s unacceptable.
- The officiating was terrible. I don’t say that often, but tonight it legitimately was. I would argue that the Magic certainly got the worst end of the officiating as well.
- DeMarcus Cousins has to figure out a way to stay out of foul trouble. As long as he keeps picking up fouls, the Kings will have trouble winning against just middle of the road opponents. DeMarcus, like Tyreke, lacks the mental strength to do what it takes to win at the NBA level. Cuz, like a lot of Kings (it’s one of those nights), raised his season TS% from 47.4% to 49.9%. Cousins’ FG% started the game at 39.8% for the season and is now at 42.7%. That’s something I suppose.
- Marcus Thornton shot poorly tonight. But that’s Marcus Thornton though: Sometimes MT23 is on his game and sometimes Mr Thornton is not.
- John Salmons had a fairly forgettable game. Whatever is wrong with Salmons needs to change fairly quickly.
- Jimmer Fredette had a few nice moments including a nice pass to Jason Thompson. Mostly though, Jimmer looked like a rookie struggling with adjusting to the NBA given the limitations that are there.
- Jason Thompson had an excellent night going 4 of 5 from the field (all on layup’s I’m certain) and 2-2 line. JT raised his TS% from a 49.1 TS% to 53.6 TS% in one game. (Ah, early season stat swings!) It was nice to see the 6 boards by JT as well. More performances like that will result in the Kings having much better play and consistent play off the bench.
- JJ Hickson had a pretty good game considering although it could have been better at the defensive end. Hickson was another who saw his TS% get significantly higher with a before the game TS% of 45.9% and a 49.7 TS% afterwards.
- Turnovers were terrible (17 for the Kings) and the Magic had 9. Additionally, Rebounding was 45 for the Kings adn 43 for the Magic. Given how little Howard played (19 minutes and 4 boards total), this is unacceptable. The Kings must compete harder on the boards, and not be nearly as loose with the ball as often.
The bottom line is that the Kings aren’t mentally prepared to do what it takes to win games. That’s not on Keith Smart no matter how much someone else may believe so. That’s on the players, starting with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, to get mentally ready and stay mentally ready throughout the game. That’s not anyone else’s fault if you can’t do what you are supposed to do. Dwight Howard played the entire game with serious foul trouble particularly through the 1st 3 quarters. Yet, like usual, the Kings don’t take advantage of their breaks and just roll the balls out there. Take a shot here, take a shot there, and what not. If some shots, especially FT’s, hadn’t been dropping, the Kings would have likely lost by 20 or even 30 since they typically get discouraged by missing shots. This is a team that doesn’t understand the mental approach in winning NBA games, and until that changes games where they look very uneven and unprepared will continue to happen. Until next time.