Don't Make Me Use The Bat
Tonight...sucked. So let's get this out of the way right now: we're going to have some more Pretty Girls with these grades. Just because, well, tonight sucked.
We simply cannot score. There's been some Tyreke chatter of late: well at this point either Tyreke is the best offensive player in history, Keith Smart is the best offensive coach in history, or we are doing something badly wrong. Because the gang's all back except for Reke, we have one of those mythical pure PG types, a rookie who is supposed to be a major shootist, and suddenly we are 10 points worse every night on offense and can't shoot a lick.
And of course the big issue here. Midway through the third Coach Malone pulled his entire starting unit and put in reserves. And behind Travis Outlaw of all people, the reserves stormed back into it. But then they stalled out. And Malone stayed with reserves. And subbed in other reserves. And a certain very large very prominent member of that starting unit was over on the sidelines with his chin in his hand not at all amused. Uhoh. Such a risk to take if you are Malone, and we lost anyway. Let's just hope that he and Cuz are so much on the same page off the court that appearing to publicly blame the big guy for our struggles will wash down.
Tonight the Consortium:
Stats: 26min 4pts (1-6, 0-1, 2-4) 3reb 2ast 0stl 0blk 1TO
Mbah a Moute ( C ) -- sigh. Ok, so I avoided having to watch the Stinky Fish start...and instead the guy who took his place put up a very stinky fish line of 4pts 3rebs on 1-6 shooting, and Salmons still got his 30+min. But the Prince's outing wasn't really as bad as all that. Somewhat like Salmons himself he did a lot of little things right. He showed he knows how to play. He moved the ball when he should, was at least defensively aware etc. (although seemed to be late on several perimeter closeouts for whatever reason). But if that sounds like faint praise, it is. In the early going, when we were very competitive before JT and Cuz both went down with fouls, Luc largely stayed out of the way, and in the end he spent as much time at PF as SF as we ran out of big people, then benched the ones we did have available. Luc tried a couple of forays toward the hoop, but found no joy on the finishes. We tried to go 1 on 1 with him once or twice, but no way against the Grizz. Finally finally got a jumper to fall in the final minute of the first half for his only bucket of the game. He ended up getting benched along with the rest of the starters in the early third, but unlike the others he was brought back in late in the game in place of Travis Outlaw, who was basically our main man out there (let the tanking whispers begin!). Was supposed to check Zach Randolph and at least wrestled with him better than Travis, who just got overpowered after returning for the final minutes. I'm going to call this a C, but its just like all our SF options. Yeah, maybe they know how to play a little, but knowing how to play without actual production is dubious. --Brick
Stats: 10min 3pts (1-2, 0-0, 1-2) 0reb 1ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Thompson ( D ) --This could have easily been an ‘incomplete’ for Thompson, but that feels a little cheap considering he is a starter and was a part of that units terrible night. Got into early foul trouble, and in a game where the Kings were without Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes (left the game briefly after an elbow to the head from Gasol) JT let the team down. They could have used his size and rebounding. We didn’t see JT again until the start of the second half. It didn’t take long for Malone to yank the entire starting unit because of their poor play, including Thompson. He never returned. It wasn’t an aggressively bad night for JT, but he wasn’t good and the unit he was a part of turned this game into the blowout that is was early in the 3rd quarter. --Mass
Stats: 18min 9pts (4-11, 0-0, 1-1) 5reb 1ast 1stl 0blk 3TO
Cousins ( C/INC? ) -- Cousins had a strong start to the game with nice blow by moves on Gasol. It looked like he was in for another big night as he seemed to get wherever he wanted. He played a total of 14 minutes in the first half and finished with 9 points on 4/9 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 turnovers (offensive fouls). His play time was limited due to a combination of the 2 offensive fouls + Hayes getting a Gasol elbow + JT also having 2 fouls. It seemed as if Malone was trying to save him from picking up a third so he could play big minutes in the second half. The second half started with the Kings down 13 before falling even further behind during a 14-7 run which lead to a 20 point deficit. Cousins missed both his shot attempts during this time frame, but both shots were good looks. He was responsible for 4 of the 14 points allowed with the first two coming from Randolph after he was able to get good position and convert a point blank shot and the others due to a turnover he committed. The turnover was after getting the ball in a corner with 5 seconds left on the shot clock and a double team on top of him so it was a nice team effort Vasquez then played some terrible defense which lead to 5 easy Memphis points and Malone deciding to bench most of the starting lineup for the rest of the game. Cousins defense wasn’t amazing and his offense wasn’t great but by no means was he having a bad game. Which makes the benching that much more puzzling. We have seen him struggle at the start of games only to finish with monster numbers. I am at a loss for an explanation as to why he was benched when Malone said he was “just trying to win the game” in the post-game interview. If that were true he would have certainly been put Cousins back in. Something else must have been going on there. If he is going to continue to be benched when the guys he is playing with are playing terrible we better… well we better hope not. --Spud
Stats: 19min 5pts (2-6, 1-3, 0-0) 5reb 2ast 0stl 0blk 2TO
McLemore ( D ) -- Ben missed all four of his shots in the first half, one of them a blown layup after cutting to an open lane and getting a nice pass and another an alley-oop attempt that didn't quite connect. His movement on offense was good, but he just couldn't knock anything down. On defense, it was a different story. He was throwing some very tentative help D into the paint which wasn't doing anything except allowing guys to get open on the perimeter. Ben was having particular difficulties whenever matchups were getting scrambled in transition - instead of finding the guy that nobody was guarding he went to the free-throw area and guarded nobody, which allowed both a Tony Allen layup and a wide-open Tayshaun jumper. On the bright side, McLemore's activity did result in 5 rebounds (though he did fail to box out Allen once, conceding an offensive rebound and a putback). After his poor first half, in the second half, McLemore got the proverbial short end of the stick. Coach Malone yanked the entire starting unit after four and a half minutes despite Ben just starting to get something going - he was cutting on offense, went 2 for 2 including a nice drive to the hoop, and I didn't see any defensive miscues. But because the other guys stank it up, Ben got to ride the pine for the rest of the game and lost his chance to get himself a considerably better grade. --Capt.
Stats: 19min 8pts (4-7, 0-0, 0-0) 1reb 3ast 1stl 0blk 1TO
Vasquez ( C ) -- Well that was fun! Where do I begin? This debacle actually started out rather well. Vasquez stole the ball and took it all the way for a basket. He then made a nice pass to JT off a pick and roll, but JT missed a chippy. He missed a 16 footer off a screen that was half way down and popped out. Followed that with a nice pass to JT who was right at the basket, but was immediately fouled. So, I thought Vasquez was playing well, but not getting any results off of his passes. I Counted 5 passes, that should have been easy baskets that were missed. Its hard to fault him for poor offense, especially when he went 4 of 7 from the floor for 8 pts, and he was setting up others that couldn't for the life of them make a basket. For a while, I thought maybe there was an invisible shield on the rim. He went to the bench at 2:50 of the 1st quarter, and returned at 5:55 of the 2nd quarter. And it was more of the same. He immediately drove and hit a floater. Later a nice pass to Mbah a Moute in the corner for an open three that he missed. Defensively, it was a very mixed bag in the first half. He got beat off the dribble several times, but Connelly didn't attempt to score but instead passed the ball. The second half was a different story. It started with Connelly stealing the ball. Then he beat Vasquez off the dribble and laid it in. He followed that by going under a screen and Connelly hit a three. And then, he was on the bench for the rest of the night along with the rest of the starters. All in all, he didn't play that badly as an individual, but other than Cousins, he didn't have much help.--Baja
Gia Allemand -- Ryan Anderson's gf who committed suicide this summer. RIP.