I knew the Hornets would be in for a drop off this year. But wow, were they really as bad as it showed last night or was it the Kings actually playing well? I’m going to call it a bit of both.
I was quite impressed with the Kings overall last night – they played tough, gritty defense (well, as much as THEY can) and clogged up passing lanes resulting in eleven Hornet turnovers. Chris Paul was hounded by the much larger Tyreke Evans as he struggled through the first half. He caught fire late in the first half, which coincidentally was the same time that Beno Fucking Udrih came into the game. After that, Chris Paul couldn’t be stopped and he torched the Kings as he’s done through his entire career.
Kevin Martin was downright awful for the second straight game shooting 9-29 from the floor (yes, you read that right) without shooting a single free throw. Rookie Tyreke Evans took over the game late in the second quarter as well as late in the fourth quarter as Martin continued to struggle. Evans nailed some incredibly difficult and deep jumpers which pushed the Kings into the lead, even leading by three points with under two minutes to go. But with some poor execution down the stretch and Chris Paul dominating late, the Kings just couldn’t hold off the Hornets as Martin’s game tying three pointer was blocked at the buzzer.
Along with Evans, starting Center Jason Thompson had a strong game which included 6 assists as well as 12 rebounds. Rookie Jon Brockman also dominated the glass as he grabbed 10 boards off the bench in only 19 minutes of action. Brockman was a big contributor to the Kings woes at the line though as they could only muster 13-20 from the stripe, which proved to be their downfall.
The Kings spent the evening traveling and will take on the Spurs tonight at 5:30 Pacific time and conclude their three game road trip.
They’ll open up the home part of the season this coming Monday versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
For those interested in attending the sold out home opener, SacPress.com is holding a contest for 4 free tickets to Monday evenings game. You’ll also get to spend some time with the team and be given a digital camera to take some pictures with. A great little contest that SacPress is putting on! Click here to enter.