You know, as the game proceeded back out to blowout in the 4th quarter again, I came to a realization.
Of all of the crap coaches we have had since our crap owners fired a HOF coach because he wouldn't blow bubbles up their pathetic asses, Keith Smart pisses me off more than any of them. And the reason is because more than at any other point since Adelman was fired, we have enough talent, and HE has enough talent, that this should not be happening. Kenny Natt was pathetic, but so was his team. He couldn't mess anything up because there was nothing to mess up. He couldn't succeed because he was just dumb. Keith Smart is just a ****up. I'm not even sure I can say I really hate him, as with his job clearly over now his swarmy little attmpts to B.S. the situation look more and more sad rather than arrogant. I think somewhere somehow he actually means well. I actually think he's an intelligent man. But he's a complete ****up anyway. And nightly he goes to often absurd lengths to mess things up. Its just so frustrating and so inexcusable. The pieces are here to be better. The coach himself has no stupidity excuse for why he's not. But he is an absolutely terrible decionmaker and strategist. And so he should not be in that position on that sideline, but we're stuck with him and the reuslts of his work in the most significant season in Kings history while the talent rots on the vine.
Here are some highlights to look forward to in the grades:
--How John Salmosn is awful, and still gets the majority of our plays drawn up for him out of timeouts
--How IT gets caught on every single pick set by every single Mav, releasing Collison into our lane on every single play and completely breaking our defense, and then caps things by feeling the freedom to gun crap jumpers off hsi dribble to help us fall apart
--How Aaron Brooks plays well last game...and suddenly is completely absent this time
--How this was almost surely done so that tonight Jimmer could play. And how Jimmer was comically awful.
--How similarly #5 pick Thomas Robinson was completely benched so that we could play James Johnson...or maybe Travis Outlaw
--How the coach, having learned from past mistakes, does not put in a lineup with all 5 reserves together. Instead he keeps out 1 starter to steady them. Except the starter is not Reke, its not Cousins. Its John Salmons, and for one stretch the bench crew consisted of Salmons, Hayes, Outlaw, and Jimmer, all of whom combined to shoot 0-10 in the first half, and James Johnson, who played streetball all night.
--How DeMarcus Cousins, who along with Evans were dominant forces for us, goes out with 1min30sec to go in the third...and is never brought back as the Mavs pull away and the game is finsihed
--How Evans on the other hand plays brilliantly for 3/4 then is never rested deep into the garbage minutes until his legs go on the second night of a back to back and he ends up stumbling around
--How somehow a simple coaching maneuver of do not, for ANY reason, leave Vince Carter seems to have never been communicated as time after time after time our guys do it again and again. Really what broke the game for us. We, while we had Reke and Cousins both going, were playing well enough to mount the comeback and make it a close one. And then Vince Carter hits 5 threes on us while we are picking our noses and pushes bakc every thrust singlehandedly.
Oh yes. There will be Girls. Appropriate for Valentine's Day. Happy Wuvvy Dovey Day everybody.
Full Grading Consortium for tonight:
Stats: 27min 6pts (1-5, 1-1, 3-4) 4reb 3ast 2stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( D ) -- so many of my notes about John's game tonight revolve around Smart's use of him more than John himself, but I suppose I should be thankful that he was the only starter not to take more shots than Demarcus. Hit one solitary assisted three in the mid first quarter, and apparently thanks to that we were repeatedly treated to Smart calling out of timeout plays nto for Reke (8-12, 23pts) not for Cousins (5-9, 17pts) but for John Salmons (1-5, 6pts). When we needed a starter to steady our never steady bench in the early 2nd, do we turn to Reke (8-12, 23pts) or Cuz (5-9 17pts)? No, we turn to John Salmons (1-5, 6pts). When the Mav lead was being extended back out in the late 3rd who responds with the entirely appropriate and very helpful heavily contested 1 on 1 jumper off his dribble? Well...on that one Salmons and IT took turns, and if I were coaching this team I'd keep a nice week old trout in a cooler next to the bench and just slap guys silly everytime I saw them do that. Okay, now, all of that said, tow positive notes: 1) at least he was not directly involved in the Vince Carter defensive debacle. I think that was all on Reke, Cisco, and maybe Johnson on one of them, with a little help form IT getting beaten by his man and guys helping off. And 2) when we made our best run of the night in the third, John was part of it with a brief 2-3 minute stretch of good play, including a nice drive and dish to JT for a dunk. ad then a strong defensive rebound. One of the beauties of being as anemic as John is on a nightly basis is that a little spurt like that is all it takes to get you a little grade. --Brick
Stats: 36min 17pts (6-11, 0-0, 5-6) 9reb 2ast 0stl 1blk 2TO
Thompson ( B- ) -- Thompson continued his streak of high-scoring games (avg. 17.6 pts over the past five games) with a 17-point outing tonight. JT did most of his damage with good positioning, getting three dunks and a layup just by being in the right place to receive the pass. Again he was doing most of his work in the paint, only taking one jumper tonight (and if that one grazed the rim, I missed it). The upside to the is that he also got to the line 6 times, making a quite-acceptable 5. JT's highlight play of the night was pulling down a contested rebound and then heaving a 70-foot pass to a streaking Tyreke for the layup. But JT's rebounding was an on-again, off-again affair tonight. In his first 23 minutes on the floor he grabbed 8, which you cannot complain about at all. But the fourth quarter was a different story. I was all set to rip JT for playing the entire fourth quarter of garbage time without getting a single rebound, but he ruined it by grabbing an offensive board (and getting the putback) with 45 seconds left in the "game". Thompson's biggest problem tonight was on the defensive end. It wasn't so much his man defense - he allowed a couple of jumpers, but that's to be expected when you're guarding Dirk and Marion for long stretches. The problem was rather on his help and team defense. Basically every time he was needed for help he didn't do an effective job (allowing 12 points on 7 help attempts), and seemingly every time he left his man something bad happened. Even the good results were shaky - take the time he went out to help on the pick-and-roll and the man he left, Brandan Wright, missed a wide open layup. It's hard for me to say how much of this is JT helping at the wrong time and how much is his teammates not picking up his back, but for now it looks to me like he's best served staying on his man. --Capt.
Stats: 29min 17pts (5-9, 0-1, 7-9) 13reb 2ast 0stl 0blk 5TO
Cousins ( B ) -- got off to an active offensive start, moving fast and slashing, and came up with a great offensive board flying in from outside and tipping the ball around with those great hands before corraling it. Was doing yeoman's work on the boards, but in the mid 2nd made back to back awful passes meant for Cisco that had no chance at all and resulted in turovers. As it has been for a month now, those sorts of turnovers would continue all night for him. Not selfish ones. Not even stupid ones per se. But attempts to make what would be a good pass if either a) you actully threw it on target; or b) you actually noticed that there was an opposing player standing directly in between yourself and the player you are trying to hit with the beautiful bounce pass for a layup. But that was the only major demerit tonight for DeMarcus, other than the stanrd note that he is nto a shotblocker, and has cured many of his foul problems precisely by not even trying anymore and jut backing off as guys attack the rim. Note to new management/coaching: the old regime were blithering idiots. Get us an Ibaka because that's what this beast needs as a running mate. Tweaked his ankle late in the half and fell down in the middle of a post move, but seemed to recover and show few ill effects aftwerward, and now will have 5 days to get right physically. Showed some classic power center stuff in the third, just flat overpowering rookie Bernard James in welcome-to-the-NBA-kid fashion, using an absolutely classic post mover with the baseline spiin and layup, showing the great hands on an ugly scramble play, finally scooping the ball up and finsihing for a 3pt play. Did add another jsut awful pass for a turnover, but when he was removed with 1:30 to go in the 3rd, I hoped/assumed that it was jsut a coach finally resting soembody at an appropriate time. In fact my scribbled note at the moment says precisely "out at 1:30, good sub, when back?". Because you just knew that there was healthy chance Smart would screw that up, as always. Its like watching a stubborn child learn lessons the hard way that you have long known. And he's not a very bright child and learns slowly, and some fool has given him a guaranteed contract worth millions so he doesn't have to listen to you or anybody. He just faceplants again and again until he finally gets the message. So tonight any competent coach trying to win this takes DeMarcus out at the 1:30 mark...then as the game begins to get out of control he hustles him back at about the 9min mark of the 4th to try to stop it and win the game. Keith Smart on the other hand has DeMarcus on pace for about a 25pt 15reb night...and sits him so long int he 4th that the game is lost by midquarter and so he judt sits him the entire rest fo the game and you have a center who's put up 17pts 13rebs in 29min not even playing a minute in the 4th. Not on DeMarcus though. Turnover aside, this was a good game for him.
Kate Upton -- using Kate again is approaching cliche of course, but this is clearly her moment as "it" girl, and these are pretty girls themes, and so if I wanted to use her every time we had one I think it would work.