Saturday, April 21, 2012

21/4 - Thunder at Kings

I'll confess, I couldn't make it through this whole game, I watched three quarters and then skipped to the end because it was apparent what the outcome would be. Having just written a pretty extensive review of these teams the last time they played, I'll keep this one brief and talk about the things that were the same, and the things that were different this time around.

The Same;
  • Ibaka still blocked a bunch of shots, and the Thunder as a whole made life difficult for the Kings inside.
  • Cousins struggled to find a rhythm and had what can only be described as a hissyfit after one particular no-call, going to far as to flail his arms uselessly by his sides and make a high pitched whining sound.
  • Cousins, along with most of the Kings squad, still expect to be bailed out by the referees instead of just playing the damn game.
  • Durant was still Durant.
  • Westbrook demonstrated more of his disdain for smaller PGs, which meant he was trying to score, but also slacking off defensively, which caught him out a number of times.
  • Tyreke's jumper is still ugly as ever, he doesn't elevate at all, just fades away. It's possible this is a bad habit he picked up while he was carrying that foot injury last season, but you just hope the Kings coaching staff can fix his jumper.
  • Jimmer still sucks, but people still love him. He hit a three in the corner and the crowd went wild, and with his confidence back, he decided taking a jumper from about 5 feet beyond the 3 point line with Durant guarding him was a good idea. Shockingly, it missed. I've never understood the appeal of this guy.
  • No Marcus Thornton meant Tyreke started at the 2-guard, and it seemed to work out relatively well. Whilst the Kings didn't really threaten to win, they stayed competitive throughout, and Tyreke was able to have more of an impact defensively without having to worry about guarding Durant. The Kings starter Outlaw at the SF to help with Durant's length, and it worked reasonably well. If they can get Barnes in the upcoming draft then these Kings have a bright future.
As you can see, the major change was that Thornton was out, and the difference in their demeanour was immediately apparent. Not much more to say about this one, the Kings got out to a hot start but inevitably crumbled. Tyreke Evans is still the best player on this team, and if he can just learn to be more vocal as a leader, he'll be a lot better. Cousins isn't fit to carry the burden of a whole franchise, at least not yet, so Kings fans who want Tyreke out need to take another look at what life would be like without him, because he still does amazing things on the basketball court, and after an off-season marred by injury, followed by a lockout without access to his coaches, Tyreke could make a big leap in terms of addressing his game now that he's healthy and there are no labour issues.

It'll be interesting to see how the Kings approach draft night, let's hope they do better than they did in 2011, I'm still frustrated they passed on Brandon Knight to get Jimmer Fredette... Knight would have made the perfect backcourt partner for Tyreke as a combo guard who can defend the point, shoot the ball and create for others.

I've decided to scrap a couple of games and come back refreshed for the end of the season. To that end, I'll be doing Rockets vs Warriors tomorrow, as I haven't seen them play yet, but then skipping Raptors vs Pistons and Sixers vs Nets as I've reviewed both these teams already and have seen all I need to see. Which means the next time I post after tomorrow's game is going to be for Heat vs Celtics, then Wizards vs Cavs (on the off chance Kyrie Irving is playing), and finally the Lakers vs Kings on the last day of the regular season.

Game report will be late tomorrow, as I've got a pickup basketball game on at the same time as the game. See you all then.

Also, if you haven't watched this Kobe mix yet, you should check it out, great video.

Kobe Bryant HD

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