Could the Kings finally be figuring things out? You don’t want to overreact after three games, but it has to be Sacramento’s best stretch of hoops on the year. On Tuesday, the Kings picked up right where they left off against Boston and Minnesota. Exciting, fast-paced, efficient basketball. And against Memphis, one of the top teams in the West, no less. Sacramento withstood every Grizzlies attack, taking a 119-110 victory and giving the Kings fan base something to get excited about.
SHARING IS CARING – This cannot be overstated. Since the Vlade Divac/Chris Webber days, Kings fans have CRAVED a team that moves the basketball. And we haven’t gotten it. That’s why it is so enjoyable to watch these past three games. Against the Grizz, the Kings continued to share the rock. Not only is it more visually appealing, the results speak for themselves. Marcus Thornton with six dimes? Seven combined from your starting center and PF? You’ve gotta love it. All of a sudden something has clicked, and the Kings no longer care who gets the points, as long as someone does. The increased ball movement is also visible on the fast break, as the Kings are quick to push the ball up court with passes instead of dribbles. Sacramento’s tremendous 53.4 percent shooting speaks to the type of easier shots they created with crisp passing.
DMC THE DOMINATOR – OK, the senseless fouls are aggravating and he gets out of control on occasion. But if you can put that aside, the transformation of DeMarcus Cousins continues to be remarkable. DMC was a load for Memphis all night, and they have one of the beefiest front lines in the NBA. 23 points in 25 minutes on 9-for-16 shooting. Throw in four steals, two blocks and just one turnover. Cousins filled the stat line and his evolution into one of the league’s premier big men should make Kings fans giddy. He doesn’t always keep his composure, but his attitude toward his teammates is not a problem. He showed his lighter side late in the game by sliding on Keith Smart’s sport coat and “coaching” the squad. Great night for Cousins.
TYREKE RE-INTEGRATES – Tyreke Evans (24 MIN, 13 PTS, 6-11 FG, 4 REB, 3 AST, 3 TO) returned and the Kings didn’t crumble. Shocked? Shouldn’t be. Evans can be an unselfish guy. He told Smart to leave John Salmons in the lineup, relegating Tyreke to bench duty. When inserted, he asserted himself with some strong takes to the basket, showing few ill effects from his ankle injury. He also ripped a couple jumpers, which is always a welcome sight. And he continues to rebound and play strong defense, allowing the Kings to play him as a third guard with Isaiah and Marcus. The only gripe with Evans was late in the game when he should have been slowing the game down instead of pushing the ball into traffic and committing costly turnovers. But it was good to have him back.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Marcus Thornton (31 PTS, 12-22 FG, 7 REB, 6 AST, 1 TO, 3 STL): absolutely relentless lately. Such a bulldog. Starting to kill teams inside and outside, making him lethal to cover … Jason Thompson (14 PTS, 13 REB), a beast. Pestering Zach Randolph, snatching rebounds, making up for the foul trouble of DMC … Isaiah (18 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 2 STL, 3 TO) couldn’t hit from downtown, but that’s about all he couldn’t do. Secured some huge loose balls, took a beating and kept right on ticking. Too much heart … The Kings basically shrunk to a seven-man rotation, but Donte Greene made the most of his seven minutes: 6 points on 2-of-3 shooting with 2 rebounds.