Happy Thanksgiving Kings Fans!!
And hopefully a new holiday tradition of whipping the Lakers.
Let me also regale you with this new Thanksgiving classic:
Stats: 31min 13pts (5-12, 2-4, 1-2) 3reb 1ast 2stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( B+ ) -- best game from John in a long time, and in effect carried us in the early going, scoring 9 of our 15 first quarter points. Offense was much better than the 5-12 shooting indicates. Hit those spot shots that are so critical when Reke is driving and dishing, and had some nice attacks inside, largely ignoring Kobe's defense throughout. Efficiency began to drop as either he, or the coach, got overencouraged and we started to see 1 on 1 Salmons isos, which isn't cool even when they fall. Defense was good, even when he was getting beat. Metta poses problems with his grown man body, and Kobe switched into god mode after awhile and was draining jumpers right over guys playing perfect defense, but Salmons was giving good effort and making few mistakes. Got frozen out late in the game along with Reke and Cousins, and so no late numbers at all, but was an important tablesetter for us as we established this was going to be a battle, not a blowout. And more than offensive numbers, or defensive work, made a lot of saavy plays out there helping rather than disrupting.
Stats: 40min 13pts (6-12, 0-1, 1-2) 10reb 1ast 1stl 1blk 1TO
Thompson ( A- ) -- statistically quiet early, with his biggest accomplishments being inadvertently clocking Hayes with an elbow and sending him to the locker room for stitches, and fumbling an easy pass on the break. But behind the non-numbers was having himself a heckuva game, as this may have been the best defensive game I have seen him play. Jason is not a great defender, but tonight he was very good indeed. Extremely active, and you could see him racing back into position every time he lost it, challenging every entry pass, staying long, blocking out, racing bakc on the break to stop transition, a thousand little things that all added up to him being a significant 6'11" impediment in there to Pau and Howard and effectively outplaying both. And there were few of his normal mistakes. He played the game almost foul free, and mistkae free, never giving guys that free run to the hoop they always seem to get against us. Made occasional contributions on the other end, including getting the flip from Jimmer to close the first half and put us up going into half -- potentially an important little point for our psyche -- but it was on defense and later int he game, the glass, that he really helped. Howard, who just looked dead out there, was furstrated enough he got a technical foul clocking Jaosn in the chops with an elbow with 2:30 minutes to go and pikcing up a flagrant foul that helped us seal it.
Stats: 21min 7pts (3-9, 0-0, 1-2) 8reb 2ast 0stl 0blk 3TO
Cousins ( D+ ) -- in theory there is no way we should have been able to beat the Lakers without a big game from Boogie. But effectively we had to play the Lakers for a second straight game without him, as he perhaps came out overhyped and struggled before landing in quick foul trouble, eventually fouling out in the final minute of the game having played only 21 minutes. Wasn't efficient early even before the fouls, as he struggled to finish inside on the break on one possession, and missed a number of long jumpers rather than go inside against the lakers length. In fact he and Howard, potentially the two best centers in the game, were sitting there without a field goal for either of them late in the first half. Was also the only one of our bigs occsionally getting beat because of lazy defense. Even throught he muck still made a hanful of spectacular plays on the night, including a centers don't do that behind the back pass to Reke on the break that's in the highlights above. Started the third wild and forcing again, but before fouls took him out may have helped get Reke going as he and Reke, sat out forever until about the final 4 minutes of the game. Came back stiuff as a board and immediately committed his 5th foul halfheartedly blocking the lane. But down the stretch we finally got that little burst of Boogie I thought we were going to need to seal it at some point, coming up wiht back to back strong 1 on 1 scores to help seal it, inclduign another spectacular centers don't do that crossover and up and under flip past Pau and Dwight, that again is in the highlights. He may not have done much, but much of what he did was highlight worthy. Still obviously has to be a low grade for the Franchise, when everybody else was carrying him, rather than the other way around. Can we have a little conssitency please? I'll throw on a plus for the timely scores and spectacular nature of some of his plays, but would have been less amused if we had ended up losing this.
Stats: 29min 18pts (7-11, 0-0, 4-4) 4reb 6ast 0stl 1blk 5TO
Evans ( A- ) -- had himself a helluva game again, and is starting to come online now. Now if we can only convince the coach to put him on the floor. Very aggressive from the beginning of this one on both sides of the ball, although early results were mixed. Made some spectacular defensive plays on Kobe, inclduing just taking the ball from him up top, and then getting fouled by Kobe as he tried to take it back. But was missing his early jumpers, and picked up his 2nd foul on a charging call on the break. Doing a great job looking to set people up off the dribble, but guys weren't knocking them down early, and the main reason there is a "-" up above is because sometimes he was trying to make too good a pass, and he racked up turnovers as a result. Began to get his offense going a bit in the 2nd, scoring on a pretty spin move through the lane, and making another great looking swoop off of a post up attempt that just crawled off the rim. But it was the third quarter where he really exploded, dominating play along with Brooks on both sides of the ball. After getting overpowered by Ron and picking up his 3rd foul, got revenge with a spectacular flying block on the break, and started racing around out there, creating open looks for guys with his penetration and kicks, and smothering the Lakers on defense. The capper came when he started draining jumpers off his dribble, the 4th straight game where we have seen them eventually fall after the miserable start to the season. In fact did not miss a shot after halftime. Was rewarded by being rather comically frozen out after the huge quarter not getting back in until the 3:30 mark of the game. Come on. Still a powerful game as the best King. Can't call him the best player on the court with Kobe going for 38, but he looked like a star again.
Stats: 22min 13pts (5-9, 2-5, 1-1) 4reb 3ast 1stl 0blk 0TO
Brooks ( B+ ) -- a tale of two halves for Brooks. In the early going did create our only early shot dribbling though the lane and kicking to Salmons. But otherwise was losing the battle we should have won, getting shot over by really-not-a-PG Darius Morris, and responding by doing nothing more than chucking up long bricked threes. But in the thrid quarter turned things, as he and Reke dominated play and Brooks used hsi quickness to get wherever he wanted against the Lakers. Continued firing threes, which looks better when you are hitting them, but also zipped around picks and got into the lane, on one spectacular drive fully extending to out dash Howard to the rim for a layup +1. Was an impact quarter for him, but did not lead to anything late, as IT played well in the 4th, and then finally it was time for Reke to close things up as the PG down the stretch.