Don't Make Me Use The Bat
Well, an entertaining up and down game that would have prompted much discussion back when the season was still on, but alas is probably doomed to footnote status as we play out the string here. Some of the more outstanding notes:
1) Ben McLemore played maybe his finest quarter as a King. He scored 11pts in the first quarter + first 20 seconds of the 2nd, but was playing well on both ends. He was 5-8 from the field to start. And then in the final 41 minutes of the game, of which he played 38, he scored 0pts on 0-9 shooting. I'm the grader -- how do you grade that?
2) DeMarcus Cousins entered the 4th quarter suffering from major foul trouble and sitting on 5pts 5rebs. He rentered the game with 10:34 to go in the quarter and us in big trouble. And then in the final 15 minutes of the game he scored 19pts and grabbed 9rebs.
3) Rudy Gay entered the 4th quarter sleepwalking the whole game. He had 8 pts when he reentered with 9:27 remaining in regulation. And so in the final 14 minutes he went on to score 16pts, including multiple clutch shots to carry us in the stretch runs.
4) And all Isaiah Thomas did was record his first career triple double, although it took him until overtime to get it. That feat would not have been possible in any of Isaiah's previous 211 career games, as he also set his career high in rebounds tonight with 11 -- the first double figure rebounding game of his career.
Meanwhile we started strong behind Ben of all people, we were passing and taking care of the ball. Then we faded badly in the middle as Cuz and Gay were absent and our assist/turnover ratio turned pathetic, and finally stormed back to win it down the stretch as those two guys took over the game. Good entertaining game. Just wish it meant something.
Oh, and P.S. I'm going to post some more cool weather pics, even though we won and there is no official theme, just for the hell of it. Can't really do another official weather theme, but they are neat anyway.
Your Consoritum Graders tonight:
Stats: 38min 24pts (10-17, 0-0, 4-5) 6reb 1ast 3stl 0blk 5TO
Gay ( A ) -- So I’m watching this game focusing on Rudy and I’m thinking to myself…this has to be the most invisible I’ve seen Rudy while in a King’s jersey. He picked up his 2nd foul 7 minutes into the game at which point he was 2-3 for 4 points, but hadn’t really touched the ball or been involved much to that point. Malone sent him to the bench where he stayed until mid-way through the 2nd half. So he comes in sitting on 4 points, and immediately turns the ball over on a travel 25 feet away from the basket. In the next minute he takes two more shots, picking up another 2 points then doesn’t do anything else for a few minutes and Malone pulls him again, as he just wasn’t doing much out there.I figure that starting the 2nd half he’d get more aggressive and perhaps make an impact on the game, and I was wrong. He didn’t get his first shot up until 5 minutes had gone by, where he took two pull-ups which missed with-in a minute of each other. He finally found himself at the rim where he scored, then proceeded to miss a chippie dunk under the basket and was pulled with 2 minutes left in the quarter. So I was expecting him to come out aggressive and instead he scored only 2 points on 4 shots in 10 minutes of play leaving him sitting with a very sad 8 points on 8 attempts going into the 4th quarter.
So, why in the world, with such anemic play does he earn his high grade? Well he hadn’t been terrible, but he had been pretty invisible by our standards of him, and then Malone put him back in the game with 9 minutes left. He proceeded to do pretty much nothing out there till five minutes were remaining and then…well, let’s just say that he absolutely exploded. It was as if he flipped a switch and decided that he didn’t want his team to lose. And so…he just went bonkers. He scored 10 points in the last 5 minutes of the game while not missing a shot. He then scored the game tying shot with 5 seconds left to send the game into overtime. What was interesting about all of his scoring was that absolutely nothing was being set up for him. He got the ball with a live dribble out at the top of the key and then used screens to get space to either pull-up for the jumper or to get to the rim and finish with those long arms of his. His play carried the Kings into the overtime and he was fantastic. In overtime the Kings decided to feed the hot hand, but the first minute was tough for Rudy. He missed the first shot of overtime (which if it had happened in regulation the game would have been over) then turned the ball over on an offensive foul when he hit Ariza in the head while driving to the basket. So it looked as if he had cooled off. But once again, with the Wizards closing in on the victory, Rudy stepped up one more time. With the game tied and 1 minute remaining Rudy drove into the lane and banked in a one-handed floater to send the Kings up by 2. When the Wizards tied up the game, he went right back down the court and knocked down another shot with 30 seconds left to put the Kings up and they never looked back. There were some warts to the game. He was pretty invisible on the offensive end till 5 minutes left in the game, and he wasn’t really touching the ball all that much, so he didn’t have his usual number of assist opportunities. He also had far too many turn-overs, but a couple were of the offensive-foul variety, so they don’t look as bad as they could have. He also played very good defense against Ariza who pretty much did nothing the entire game except hit a prayer of a shot with the clock running down after very good defense by Rudy. But in the end, the Kings won because Rudy decided with 5 minutes left that he wanted them to win, and he carried the scoring from that point forward. I mentioned it before, but really the most impressive thing was that there wasn’t an offense that was being run for Rudy, he just attacked and scored beating the Wizards defense time and time again. --Uncia
Lightning over hong Kong
Stats: 25min 7pts (2-5, 0-0, 3-4) 10reb 0ast 2stl 0blk 0TO
Evans ( C+ ) -- Reggie Evans was serviceable tonight, which really is something you could say most nights. He rebounded well as usual, and as a team the Kings outrebounded the Wizards 57-41 … Evans certainly deserves some credit for that. Outside of that rebounding, he once again surprised me with a few good post moves inside, scoring on one of them and getting fouled on another. Of course, this lead to a couple more post attempts that didn’t go as well, and there was a few instances of Reggie trying to do a little too much offensively. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was noticeable. And despite his personal rebounding numbers, I thought he could have done a better job boxing out Trevor Booker and the other Wizards bigs. His defense on Booker wasn’t great, either, as he appeared to be out of position on multiple defensive possessions. I’d say he was still a positive contributor, though, and his board work meant a little more tonight than it might in other games due to DeMarcus Cousins’ foul trouble.--Mass
Beautiful supercell near Glasgow, Montana, 2008. Just so long as you keep it well in your rear view mirror.
Stats: 30min 24pts (9-17, 0-0, 6-11) 14reb 3ast 1stl 0blk 4TO
Cousins ( F/A ) -- Cousins was dismal for most of the game tonight. The arena was flat, the team was flat, he was flat, and he was in foul trouble with two fouls in the first 8 minutes, only made worse by picking up a charge and a shooting foul in the first two and a half minutes of the second half. He returned early in the fourth quarter, fumbled the ball twice and then, in a moment you have to cherish because it will never happen again, allowed the 78-year-old Drew Gooden to drive around him from the three-point line all the way to the rim with DeMarcus' feet just nailed to the floor. No, seriously, Gooden will never drive from the three-point line to the rim again in his career. Cousins was basically blowing this game off, and after 18 minutes of playing time he had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers, and 4 fouls (and I think two of those rebounds were generous, as I only counted three). Then came the watershed moment. With the Kings down 8 and about 7:35 on the clock, we blew the pass on a 4-on-1 break leaving the Wizards going the other way 4-on-1 against nobody but Isaiah. IT planted himself outside the restricted area and somehow managed to draw a charge on Bradley Beal despite Beal having two good passes that would have resulted in layups. The crowd got into it, the team got into it, and Cousins got into it. He scored six points in quick succession and led the charge that woke the whole team up. And with the game in dire straits with the Kings down 5 points with only 20 seconds on the clock, Cousins grabbed a long offensive rebound and gave the ball to IT for the three that eventually allowed us to force overtime. In OT, Cousins scored the first four points (seven total) and collected five rebounds, four on the offensive end. His line after IT drew the charge? 12.5 minutes, 17 points, 9 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 1 foul. Even though he wasn't the MVP down the stretch (that goes to Gay in my eyes), he was huge anyway, and I just can't grade the two "halves" of his night as one. They were completely different. --Capt.
Funnel cloud bearing down on a farm in Osage, Iowa in 2008
Stats: 50min 11pts (5-17, 1-7, 0-0) 5reb 2ast 0stl 0blk 3TO
McLemore ( B- ) -- this grade is a bit of a gift given the devolution into a another 5-17 night that actually lowered his season percentages, but the gift, such as it is, is due to this: for about 15 minutes it was there. For the first quarter and first few minutes of the 2nd, not only might it have been Ben's best 15min of the season, but he was our best player out there. It probably started with offense, where he actually was still making some of the same sorts of mistakes -- missed an early tip, his first jumper, missed another finish and was 1-4 to start the game -- but somehow the makes mattered more this time He had a nice take in the open court, waiting and then surging with Wall on his shoulder. Hit an in rhythm jumper off a handoff from Cuz, got a floater to go from the left side, got his feet set for a three. Maybe it was being home after the long road trip and the home semi-crowd. For whatever reason, in the early going here he seemed to feed more off the hits than he suffered from the misses, and the confidence spillover was remarkable. He wasn't really the reason Bradley Beal got off to a terrible start -- indeed Beal was missing everything, including the open looks he got around Ben. But Ben's defense was notably attentive. He got beat here and there, but he also had some good stands, and in general it wasn't close to the play after play beatdown he has so often suffered this year. The energy also flowed into other areas, where in the early going Ben was using his athleticism to really help on the defensive glass and fight around the offensive boards, including hopping in there to wrestle with Gortat for one or two. He wasn't dominant, but in some ways that's a good thing. I never trust bad players having dominant little stretches. too clearly just a moment, But what Ben was in the early going was confident, aggressive, and just playing like a solid NBA guard who knew what he was doing and was having a good quarter. That may be faintish praise, but for Ben its almost unprecedented, and he was getting it done.
Well...things went downhill from there. First note is this: perhaps not wanting to break the spell, Malone just entirely eliminated the backup SG from his roation tonight. No Outlaw, no Johnson. Pure three guard rotation with Ben, IT and McCallum backing up both. And so he left Ben in and in trying to milk his good run and not break it with a bench stint. Ben didn't look tired, I don't think it was that, but slowly things began to unravel. He missed a shot, then another. Rather blatantly you could see him doing a heat check of sorts, feeling so good about himself that he started trying things that he can't do and racking up turnovers as our offense stalled out. And somehowere along the line the confidence wavered, the smile got a little uncertain, and each successive missed shot got uglier until eventually he was just praying and throwing up backboard breakers that would make Reke wince. But still as the game went along we played him and played him and played him until he completely disappeared. For the remainder of the game he would miss his final 9 shots, he would grab no more rebounds at all, he would basically cease to exist again. And unfortunately the defense got less confident as well as Beal began to get a little on him, and he flat had a lousy spell against the Wizards cagey vets in the late third, including a 4pt play by Martell Webster, and a bait the rookie into flying foul on Andre Miller right at the 3rd quarter buzzer. He lost track of Beal on the go ahead three at the 1:45 mark. Missed a flip attempt in the lane at the 1:20 mark, and if that sounds like he was too involved, he really wasn't. Its just whenever he was involved at that point it was in a bad way. But he came back to play good defense as the Wizards try to win the thing, and if he was invisible in the overtime, that was a good thing as he was ignored while Cuz and Gay did their things. So...well, 1 quarter and a bit more of strong play. Another 36min of typical non-play therafter. But there was a moment in this one when the #7pick in the draft was actually on the court, and with Gay sluggish and Cuz in foul trouble, that helped us get off to a start. So this grade recognizes that.--Brick
Flash flood in Jammu, India, 2012. I'm sure its just the perspective, but sure doesn't look like where you want to be standing.
Stats: 43min 24pts (6-16, 2-7, 10-10) 11reb 10ast 0stl 1blk 4TO
Thomas ( A ) -- Impressive all around effort in route to his first career triple double. Started off by deferring to Cousins and Gay in the early going with just one attempt, a missed transition layup, during the early minutes of this one. Pick up his first basket off the ball when Cousins found him curling through the lane for the layup. Once Cousins sat with foul trouble began to take a bigger role on the offensive side with impressive results. Was finding open shooters and being reward as they, namely McLemore, managed to knock down their open looks. More aggressive finding his own shot as well as he was having little trouble getting past Wall. On the other he turned in one of his better performances. Did a nice job challenging around the basket against the much bigger Miller and Wall. of course it helps that he got a much larger dose of Miller than would normally be expected but he played a role in that too. Finished the quarter on a strong note as he manage to knock down a dubious transition three and a impressive take to the basket against a over match Andre Miller. Had his roughest stretch when he reentered late second. Cousins couldn't stay on the floor and things were beginning to unravel as the Wizard got back into this one with Wall leading the way. While it was mostly a quite stretch for Isaiah, he did draw a couple of fouls on Wall in the final minutes of the half. The Kings didn't come out of the half with any rhythm as we were turning the ball over constantly without much in the way of ball movement. And with Cousins in foul trouble this one suddenly felt like it had the potential to get away from us. Luckily things were evened out a bit when Wall found himself in foul trouble after a soft flagrant on JT shortly followed by another foul on Thomas. Unfortunately Isaiah's jumper abandoned him in the third. Still had an impact as he started to find guys while hustling for boards along with solid defense on the elderly Andre Miller. Only took two shots in the fourth, both of which coming in the final 30 seconds. Help turn the momentum to close this one out by setting up Cousins and by standing his ground on a four on one break, drawing the offensive foul on Beal. Found himself open with 20 seconds left in the fourth and came up short, luckily Cousins grabbed the long rebound and kicked it back out as Isaiah knocked down a crucial three. Just like he had done all night he deferred to Cousins and Gay to close this one out. Didn't get a shot up, but managed to draw another foul on Wall, this time of the offensive variety as he was knocked down after beating Wall to his spot. Tracked down a couple more rebounds as well as a nice pass down low to Cousins to wrap up the triple double and the win. Took a back seat with Cousins and Gay on the floor while still finding ways to contribute passing, rebounding, and even defending. Then picking his spots to be aggressive when it was called for. So for tonight at least it's safe to say he thrived as the third option.--Henkel
Lightning hits Denver 2008. Did not even know that many simultaneous strikes could happen over a small area. The thunder must sound like you are under artillery attack.