Keith Smart, Paul Westphal, Garry St. Jean, Red Auerbach, God with a clipboard…It doesn’t matter who the coach is. When you can’t shoot, you can’t win. Factor in the Blazers domination on the boards (53-36) and their ability to actually make shots, and it gets ugly pretty quickly. The Kings made it to the second quarter before crumbling in Portland. A 15-point halftime deficit was never made up and the Blazers coasted to a 101-89 win.
BACKCOURT SLUMBER – Hearing that Donte Greene was starting tonight sounded fine, until we learned that it just meant John Salmons was moving down to the two-guard with Marcus Thornton sitting out. As a result, the Kings got next to nothing in terms of production from their guards. Tyreke Evans (5 AST, 5 REB) and Salmons (18 MIN, 1 REB) combined to shoot 2-for-14 for nine points (all Evans). This marks two straight poor games from Tyreke after he seemed to turn the corner in San Antonio. He’s moving so much better than last year, but he’s just not finishing his drives. We’ve been over Salmons…still a detriment to the team.
CRAWFORD THE BLAZER – It’s well known that Jamal Crawford, a free agent last month, was choosing between Portland and the Kings. And many fans were dead set against bringing him to Sacramento. Well, Crawford, while struggling mightily this year, is still a potent shot maker. While it’s nice to develop our young players with court time, it would be lovely to have a guy who, you know, makes shots. Crawford roasted the Kings, who had nobody who could stay in front of him. When he got loose on the wing, his shot was pure. A true difference maker on Monday who seemed to ignite the Blazers offense, Crawford finished with 26 points and five dimes in 32 minutes.
DG THE STARTER – As mentioned, Greene got the start for Sac at small forward, but unfortunately, he didn’t exactly seize the opportunity. Defensively, Donte has always been solid and played a strong game against Portland, even matching up with LaMarcus Aldridge on occasion and causing problems. But the trouble with Donte (12 PTS, 4-13 FG, 3 AST) has always been his inconsistencies on offense. Donte took the second most shots among Kings players, firing up 13 in 23 minutes. But he connected on just four. He also grabbed just one rebound, unacceptable for a 6’10″ guy when the team is getting blasted on the glass.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Up-and-down game for DeMarcus Cousins (18 PTS, 13 REB). He tied a season high with 39 minutes, but defensively, he struggled to the point where he required help from a teammate to guard Craig Smith … Jimmer (20 MIN, 13 PTS, 5-7 FG, 3-4 3FG) shot it well again. Sometimes you’d just like to see him shoot the rock ’til he tires out … Steady game from Francisco Garcia (24 MIN, 4-5 FG, 12 PTS, 2 AST). Helped give the Kings a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter.