At times this season, you probably asked yourself, “The Kings must be the worst team in the NBA, right?” After Sunday’s game in Charlotte, the answer is a clear, definitive NO. For once, Sacramento was part of a blowout in which they got to do the beating. The Bobcats showed just why they’ve now lost 20 straight games: terrible defense, ridiculously careless turnovers and no scoring ability. And the Kings didn’t play down to their opponent. They let the Bobcats have it, cruising to a 114-88 victory.
TYREKE GOES OFF – With the season coming to a close, the whispers have been getting louder in regard to the uncertainty surrounding Tyreke Evans’ future. Does he fit? Can he adjust to small forward? Should he be dealt? Well, he did just fine Sunday. Perhaps no player benefits more when playing against a weak defense than Tyreke (25 MIN, 22 PTS, 10-11 FG, 3 REB, 3 AST, 0 TO, 2 STL). The Kings didn’t have to worry about his inconsistent jumper because Reke got to the rim at will. It was an abusive performance, with Evans cutting through the Charlotte defense with ease. He had his fair share of easy buckets, but some required a twist or scoop, which Evans delivered beautifully. Please, please, please develop that jumper. We know he’s got so many tools to be a great scorer.
JT FILLS THE SHEET – Jason Thompson (37 MIN, 14 PTS, 6-8 FG, 11 REB, 7 AST, 1 TO, 5 STL, 1 BLK) continues to improve his standing in the free agent market. Big men who move like he does and contribute across the board don’t grow on trees. JT exploited the Bobcats lack of strength down low, and his unexpected contributions came via the assist. Thompson was a willing passer who got out on the break multiple times and made the right choice when dishing off to teammates. He also benefitted greatly from the Bobcats lack of a true point guard, jumping the passing lanes and intercepting a number of errant balls.
DMC, GOOD AND BAD – DeMarcus Cousins (32 MIN, 29 PTS, 11-21 FG, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 TO, 2 BLK, 1 STL) started a little slow, but eventually he figured out that he didn’t need to work too hard to destroy Bismack Biyombo in the paint. When he realized he held the huge advantage, it was curtains for Charlotte. Cousins’ dribble drives, which can be maddening to watch against tough defenses, sure worked nicely against Charlotte. We also watched Cousins pick up his 13th technical of the season, which means he’ll miss Tuesday’s game in OKC. Consider me one of the only fans saying “good.” Enough is enough. Cousins has had plenty of chances to shape up attitude-wise. He needs to face the consequences. The Kings need a mature Cousins next year who is focused more on dominating opponents than worrying about the officials.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Need more proof of Charlotte’s inept defense? How ’bout Travis Outlaw (28 MIN, 8 PTS, 4-9 FG, 2 STL) carrying the Kings offense in the opening minutes? Who woulda thunk it …. Jimmer Fredette (23 MIN, 11 PTS, 5-13 FG, 1-5 3FG) showed great ability when driving to the lane. He had a great look-away fake on one fast break, used his body perfectly for another left-handed layup and made a sweet floater along the baseline. The outside shot continues to falter (3-13 3FG last 3 games), but it’s good to see him developing elsewhere … I say give Isaiah Thomas (25 MIN, 10 PTS, 3-7 FG, 3 AST, 3 REB) more playing time. A strong finish would help his ROY chances.