There was something here, but just not enough.
Reke was dominant, in the 2nd and 3rd quarters in particular, but ran out of gas trying to carry us by the end. Boogie looked like he was ready to bang from the beginning, but somehow never got into a rhythm, and was not consistently in position to dominate. IT put up big numbers in a fool's boxscore effort (with just a hint of stat padding to boot), but only gave us about 5 min of actual PG play -- which not surprisingly coincided with the 5 minutes when we made our biggest run. We got 6 good hustle min out of Cisco before he turned back into a pumpkin. Jason ALMOST had a good game,but blew every finish. Smart made one unexpectedly good substitution with Cisco for JT in the third, then resumed mis-coaching in many of the ways he always does (althoguh should be noted out bench was so bad that this may be the first time all year all 5 starters went 30+min). But not enough guys helped not enough of the time.
Phooey. Reke looked great though. It doesn't matter for this year, but it could matter for next. I am going to be frickin' glad to have the current administration cleared out lock stock and barrel. But I think its a big key to the revamped organization that Reke leave no doubt he's a keeper by year's end.
Stats: 33min 2pts (1-7, 0-2, 0-0) 3reb 3ast 1stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( D ) -- was back from the flu, and back home to his old stomping grounds, and yet barely back at all. Annoyed in the early going with a bad 1 on 1 force that we completely do not need out of him, but once he got that out of his system was just kind of there. Devfensively he was attentive, but rarely involved in the play as he guarded a largely passive Turner. On offense it alternated between him standing around wiht his arms down and totally uninvolved if he did not have the ball, or with us running the offense through him ala a Ron Harper type PG, when both he and we looked better. We he returned late rin the half, for some reason he had decided that those opportunities to run the offense were now opportunities to shoot, something that is more tolerable when you are hitting just anything. After half saw frequent use in 4 guard lineups next to Cisco and Reke, and consented to grabbing a couple of rebounds. But never could do anything offensively, and got minutes more because the options were all too awful or sick ratehr than because of anything he himself was doing. --Brick
Stats: 31min 6pts (3-9, 0-0, 0-0) 4reb 0ast 1stl 0blk 1TO
Thompson ( D- ) -- I had some high hopes for "Hometown JT" to show up, but perhaps the Sixers plan to swap home/away uniforms was a clever ploy to erase the JT/Philly mojo. JT started out fine in the first quarter, winning the tip (a rarity for this team), consistently fighting for deep position in the post, and hitting a turnaround in the post and a baseline jumper in the first few minutes. He was also the victim of a few bad entry passes and one quick foul to prevent an easy basket. But from that point Thompson managed only one more basket on his last seven shots, and he didn't get his first rebound until more than halfway through the second quarter. JT ended up with a poor total of four rebounds, one of which was actually a loose ball. On a night when the Kings D was terrible, JT's D was only half-terrible. He was active, disrupting cutters and doing a lot of hedging, stopped Holiday in transition once, forced two turnovers on help defense and saved a Hawes dunk with a slap from behind. But, on the other hand he got beat in the post badly by none other than Lavoy Allen and on one rebound allowed Thaddeus Young to go coast-to-coast. He got yanked midway through the third for us to go with our G-G-G-G-C lineup, whose energy gave us an 18-8 run while he was out. Then, when he spelled Cousins in the same lineup, we got beat 6-10 and JT was completely ineffective on offense. And then the game was over. JT played a little bit of defense tonight, and saved me from giving out straight Fs by the barest of margins. --Capt.
Stats: 35min 12pts (6-13, 0-0, 0-3) 12reb 4ast 2stl 3blk 4TO
Cousins ( C ) -- looked more energetic and playing with more power int he early going, and splashed in a couple of early jumpers in an offensively effective early stint. Was really battling ont he glass...which is a good thing since he was literally the ONLY guy doing jack or squat there for much fo the game. At the end fo the first quarter he had 6 rebounds...and we as a team had 6 rebounds. Ridiculous. Defensively was not exactly getting killed indivudally, but the middle was as wide open as ever, adn I don't even know how we are supposed to be playing pick and rolls, rotations, shows etc. All I know is whatever we are doing isn't working. Still, while this had hints of big potential, it never took off. Was not able to finish consistently. Got beat twice off the dribble by Hawes to start the third. And while was trying to pass, as it has been for several weeks a good number of those passes are being picked off. Not sure why. Finally sent a renewed message to Hawes as we got rolling, just flat stepping up and ripping a would be pass right out of his hands, and going down the other way for a strong post move. Just didn't ignite though. Missed his FTs, could not consistently get the ball from his guards, and not able to establihs anything late as we faded. At least we had some effort back, and the return of his boardwork was absolutely critical for us not ot set some sort of record for board futility in the early going. Wasn't awful, just more of a solid Emeka Okafor level of game than any sort of major option that he was as recently as two weeks back. --Brick
Stats: 42min 29pts (11-18, 1-2, 6-8) 4reb 4ast 2stl 0blk 3TO
Evans ( A- ) -- Got off to a bit of a slow start on both ends of the floor, but after heating up without a doubt Tyreke was the best player on the floor tonight for the Kings. He may have been the best player on the floor period. It seemed that just about every other possession for the Kings, Tyreke was scoring the ball. He started the game by getting posted up by Young, who missed the shot, but got his own rebound back and put it back in. Tyreke returned the favor at the other end by posting up Young, and getting fouled. If he had a problem, it was trying to stop Holiday from scoring. But then no one on the Kings had much luck in that dept. He also passed up a shot in the post and tried a near impossible pass to JT under the basket. Very unselfish, but not very wise as it ended in a turnover. Except for a carry, and a travel in the second half, he didn't do much else wrong, and he did a lot right. He stole the ball twice, and almost had two other steals. He played tough defense all night long, and in the second half, when he was on Holiday, Holiday struggled. He was able to bull to the basket both off the dribble and in the post and just power right over/through various Philly defenders. And during our 3rd quarter run he really started running hard on the break and got rewarded by IT for a very efficient night. Toward the end he was obviously tiring and maybe feeling too good, as he made several old style overdribble looking for a lane, and then turn it over style errors. But it as still a big game, a season high on highly efficient shooting. This is two good games in a row for Tyreke, who looked like the player that won ROY, as he relentlessly attacked all night long, but in general, made good decisions with the ball. --Baja
Stats: 33min 24pts (7-18, 0-3, 10-10) 4reb 5ast 1stl 0blk 2TO
Thomas ( B- ) -- looked quick to start, getting into the lane several times, and creating a steal and breakaway in the open court when Holliday fell down. But continued missing threes, and in the early going both we and he looked better when he was off ball and Salmons was setting him up. On the other end we started the game with him on Nick Young, and while the Sixers tried to take advantage of that inside a few times, that's not Young's game and it wasn't an efficient option for them. Put up the bulk of his numbers after half, about half of them in a selfish stretch to start the third where he kept missing open shots on kicks and running every play for himself -- when you come off the a pick you can either look for teammates, or you can look at the hoop, and he was largely exclusively looking at the hoop and did not have a single assist until midway in the third quarter. But came out of a mid-third timeout a different player, and its not coincidence we came out lookig like a different team and made a big run to get right back into it with IT suddenly notching multiple assists to both Cuz and Reke, including back to back racing layups for Reke on the break. Was his and our best stretch of the game. Got the large point total above as kind of a gift really, 6 of them coming on a pair of idiotic plays by Sixer guards to close the third and open the 4th, when two times they run out at IT and fouled him on 3pt shots, the first of them from a good 30 feet away at the 3rd quarter buzzer -- I don't think he'd made a jumper all game at that point, and boom, just like that they give him 6 pts of no reason at all, and we were within 4. But it would be kind of the last legitimate hurrah for us as we faded badly in the 4th, and there was nothing IT could do to stop it. Added 5pts in the last 2min of semi-garbagetime to make a 19pt night 24, but that was just window dressing. One of only a few guys to bring real energy tonight, but this grade reflects the fact that I really only thought he was helping the team for about 6 minutes there in the late 3rd/early 4th.