The Game Thread Dude
Kingsfans.com Official Game ThreadBy Stephen Tetsu,
Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls
Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls
On the bright side, the Kings keep getting off to good starts, the execution on the part of starters usually crisp on offense and smothering on defense. On the dark, don't-come-around-unless-you're-visiting-with-a-cop side, the Kings fizzle out and seemingly lose all momentum riiiiiiight around the time that the bench comes into the game en masse. And then after that, it's all the starters can do to keep the wheels from falling right off the bus.
The marquee matchup between Boogie and the Brow was about as enticing as you would expect. Demarcus dominated down low and also added a truly superstar-esque block in transition, all while avoiding his usual fight against foul trouble. Meanwhile, Davis must have scored a good eight baskets just catching junk lobs within ten feet of the rim. Sure, his arms are long but they probably seem longer because he has the slim build of a bikini model. Cousins has long arms but because he's built like a bulldozer it's just not as noticeable, methinks. Also, in terms of trademarks, a unibrow isn't all that endearing, unless you're a Muppet or work for P.T. Barnum.
Elsewhere, Rudy Gay celebrated his new contract by promptly having a shooting night straight out of a Toronto Rudy gamelog. Lots of shots, lots of misses. He did do a good job of distributing the ball in that explosive first quarter though, which was encouraging. He of course was powerless against Reke in the fourth quarter as the New Orleans guards turned it up to ten for the closing stretch of the game with a stream of drives and kicks.
Lastly, someone should remind Carl Landry to cover Ryan Anderson around the perimeter.
Tony Delk Memorial Award- Eric Gordon has sucked for the last two seasons. I wrote about Eric Gordon sucking. Eric Gordon promptly played his best game all season against the Kings. I could blame the Kings but really I just blame myself. Dammit, myself. Play better defense!
Jason Hart Award- Our bench backcourt, who both essentially gave twenty minutes of nothing against the likes of crappy Eric Gordon and Austin Nepotism Rivers. While Ray did okay on defense, he completely dropped the ball (ha ha ha, groan) on offense. Meanwhile Nik showed fleeting flashes of his offensive talents but was completely incapable of stemming the tide of the Eric Gordon onslaught.
Mikki Moore Award- Luke Babbitt, who apparently keeps getting playing time by virtue of being the only true small forward despite not being particularly good... or really a lack of doing much of anything in general. He played 22 minutes. 22 MINUTES! But, boy howdy, he's got some luscious hair.
Luke Walton Vacuum Cleaner- John Salmons. You know why.
WTF Moment of the Game- Despite Ray not doing anything of particular net positivity, Malone goes with the Ray/Nik backcourt until halfway through the fourth quarter. Not exactly the best time to try to instill confidence in your young players. Especially in a winnable game.
Welp. This isn't quite the optimal night for a bounce back game. The Bulls have come out looking like a top three team in the NBA this season, even if a Derrick Rose appearance continues to be rarer than a Haley's Comet sighting. That's largely because the new Chicago big three of Butler/Gasol/Noah has been kicking some serious East-coaster butt, not to discount the play of the rest of the Bulls team.
Really though, the schedule makers did the Kings no favors when they gave the team the hardest schedule in the NBA to start the season. Nothing builds confidence likes wins over good teams but nothing destroys confidence quite like crushing defeat after crushing defeat. And with the exception of the Spurs game, it's been lots of crushing losses of late. Now, tonight, in front of a national audience, the Kings face their latest opportunity to let the foot off the throttle in the second half.
This is going to be a tough matchup as, if any team can stop the unstoppable force of nature that Boogie has become, it'd be the Bulls, now loaded up front with three good to all-world defenders in Noah, Gasol, and Taj Gibson. Were this the Boogie of three or four years ago, we'd stand little chance, but with the powered up Super Saiyan Demarcus, going up against a higher level of competition might just result in him going into Super Beast Mode.
Elsewhere, Paul George may miss the entire season with a leg injury but the Midwest still is the home of great small forward play thanks to Jimmy Butler's continued evolution from bad-at-offense try-hard defense guy into potential superstar small forward. One of the best defenders in the league, Butler has added bits and pieces to his offensive repertoire over the years, now hitting from the perimeter at a consistent clip whereas he began his career shooting like Shaq.
Gasol and Rose are both listed as questionable but, since this is Rose we're talking about, he's probably a no go, which is a shame because when he's on, he's a phenomenal talent. If Rose doesn't play, Kirk Hinrich, a solid player but not Derrick Rose. Behind him at the third string point guard slot is former King and my predicted winner of the TDM for the night, Aaron Brooks. (EDIT: Gasol AND Rose have already been ruled out for tonight's game.)
Meanwhile, noted Demarcus enemy Mike Dunleavy Jr. mans the fort at shooting guard. Whilst not an amazing player, he's an agitator and can hit his shots. So, note to our shooting guard rotation, don't leave him open hanging around the perimeter.
A tough game, no doubt, but Sleep Train Arena should be rocking and you never know what might happen.
Tom Thibodeau vs. ridiculous time management: If he could play Jimmy Butler 50 minutes, Thibodeau totally would. The complete opposite of Malone's rotations against the Pelicans.
Demarcus vs. Mike Dunleavy- There's no love lost between the two and if there's any technical foul that I would be perfectly fine with, it would be Boogie punching Dunleavy right in the douchey chops.
National TV vs. Sacramento- It's happening! Make me proud.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
Tough match-up. If we do get off to a fast start, let's not give it up this time, alright?
Despite all this, I think the Kings win, 89-84, behind a strong Cuz performance and the best fans in the NBA.