Flat. Uninspired. A bore to watch. That pretty much sums up the Kings play in their 114-92 loss Saturday night to the Knicks. New York was without Amare Stoudemire, but it made no difference. After raising everyone’s hopes with a win over the Lakers, the Kings have reverted back to a team that looks destined for the lottery.
EARTH TO TYREKE – So, what happened to Tyreke? In the opener, he looked like a new man: smooth jump shot, powerfully attacking the basket, finishing at the rim. Since then, he looks lost and disinterested. Where’s the fire? We see Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins get fired up. Tyreke (13 PTS, 6-14 FG, 5 REB, 3 AST) is obviously more reserved, but he’s just not providing the spark the Kings need right now. Pump up the energy level, play your game and run the offense.
TIME FOR ROTATION CHANGES? – You don’t want to overreact after four games, but this can’t go on much longer without some modifications to the rotation. Donte Greene (12 MIN, 10 PTS, 3-7 FG, 2-4 3FG) may have supplanted Travis Outlaw at the backup three with a strong performance against the Knicks. If he’s knocking down shots, ride him while he’s hot. Isaiah Thomas (8 MIN, 7-10 FT, 7 PTS) is instant energy and in garbage time, he pushed the tempo, which could be useful on a team that looks flat. And again, maybe Francisco Garcia gets a chance soon. On a team that is playing absolutely brutal defense, Cisco can contribute.
JT BRINGS IT – One guy who it’s hard to quarrel with – aside from free throw shooting – is Jason Thompson (24 MIN, 13 PTS, 5-10 FG, 3-8 FT, 7 REB). He defends well, hits the boards and sets strong screens. His offensive game continues to evolve and while he’s still not a force in the block, he has become reliable from out to 18 feet with his jump shot. You gotta even like him losing his cool, picking up a technical for shoving Bill Walker. Someone had to say enough is enough.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – 30-for-86 from the field. 34.9 percent. 26-for-41 from the line. 63.4 percent. No analysis needed. That stinks … Fouls continue to prevent John Salmons (23 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 AST, 5 PF) from stabilizing the small forward position. Four games. 16 fouls … Cousins’ Kentucky teammate, Josh Harrellson, looked really good filling in for Stoudemire: 14 PTS, 12 REB, 4-8 3FG … Four games in the next five days, is that good or bad? Plenty of chances to either right the ship or sink deeper.