Aren’t the Bulls supposed to be a strong defensive team? Wow…the Kings laid an absolute smack down on Chicago on Wednesday night. With DeMarcus Cousins nursing a sore left leg, the Kings played a thoroughly enjoyable game on both ends. It didn’t take long for things to get out of hand, as the Kings hovered around the 60 percent shooting mark all game long. The score touched the ridiculous in the second quarter — 60-26 — and it never got much better for the Bulls. The Kings hammered Chicago, 121-79.
COUSINS SITS, KINGS THRIVE – It’s a one-game sample, so connect the dots at your own discretion. But with DeMarcus Cousins out injured, the Kings on the court played some of their best ball of the season. It was five guys focused on basketball, playing for each other and enjoying the hell out of destroying the Bulls. The ball moved — several Kings showed no hesitation in passing up open shots to set up teammates for better ones. The defensive effort was outstanding. The Bulls admittedly played a sloppy game, but the Kings never gave them an inch — switching nicely, pressuring ball handlers and shooters, and limiting the Bulls second chance opportunities. Cousins presence is obviously a huge benefit but only when he’s in line with the team (when is that?). In the meantime, I’m loving the combo of Jason Thompson-Patrick Patterson up front. Both guys can pick-and-pop, post, and you don’t lose much in the size department.
THE TYREKE EVOLUTION – The Golden State game aside, Tyreke Evans is playing some high quality basketball over the past month. It started a few weeks ago, when he and Isaiah Thomas finally started to gel as the Kings starting backcourt. Suddenly, Evans (36 MIN, 26 PTS, 11-13 FG, 1-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 5 REB, 7 AST, 2 TO, 3 STL, 1 BLK) is a multi-faceted offensive weapon who doubles as the team’s best defender. Against the Bulls, Evans was an unstoppable force. He abused the Bulls interior defense, and when forced outside, he exhibited the sky-high confidence he has in his perimeter game. That now steady jumper puts Evans on a different plane in terms of his development. On top of that, never did he force a dribble drive as he has been prone to do in recent times. Smart, efficient, productive basketball player who is now erasing any doubts about whether he should be re-signed to a signifcant extension.
PATTERSON THE ANIMAL – The only thing that kept Patrick Patterson from posting a massive stat line was the lopsided score. Patterson (20 MIN, 14 PTS, 6-7 FG, 2-2 3FG, 9 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL) continues to impress since arriving from Houston. He was a key factor in the Kings hot start, as the starter in place of Cousins nailed his first five shots. He also continued his assault on the glass — with his athleticism and smarts, it seems like his rebounding numbers will only go up. You just have to like the way Patterson goes about his business. He understands the game, can score inside and out, plays within himself and does whatever it takes to win. Really looking like a great addition.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Speaking of the trade, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas provided great production off the bench. Aldrich (24 MIN, 6 PTS, 2-5 FG, 6 REB, 1 BLK) got significant run with Patterson’s early foul trouble and Cousins’ absence. He’s a load down low and while slow of foot, he showed he’s not a complete klutz with some nifty moves underneath. Douglas (20 MIN, 10 PTS, 3-5 FG, 3 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL) is a beast on the defensive end who loves to pester opposing point guards and reads passing lanes extremely well. He also flashed some offensive skills. He may be one to look at for next season … Jimmer Fredette (12 MIN, 9 PTS, 3-6 FG) looked like an NBA player in this one. Keith Smart utilized him a little better defensively, letting him chase Daequan Cook rather than stay in front of the speedy Nate Robinson. And offensively, Fredette showed good ball handling and poise … Isaiah Thomas (28 MIN, 22 PTS, 8-14 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 TO) loves to go up against his fellow Husky Robinson. He’s become a true leader for this team, and as we know, the Kings feed off of his relentless energy. Thomas did most of his damage from mid range, but he had the stroke working from all over.