Despite a tremendous effort from DeMarcus Cousins and key contributions from Travis Outlaw, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum, the Kings fell 107-99 to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 36 and 29 points each and were able to stave off a furious rally by the Kings in the 2nd half.
The Kings fell behind starting in the 2nd quarter as their lack of cohesion on offense, as they were down to 1 point guard, led to many fruitless possessions. Not having Isaiah Thomas matters, in case some people still don’t know that.
BOOGIE DOMINATES AGAIN, GAME SLOWING DOWN FOR McLEMORE
DeMarcus Cousins was incredible both as a leader and in his play tonight. Throughout the game, you could see him talking to his team as a whole and individual teammates (I noticed Rudy Gay, Royce White, and Ray McCallum) urging them on in a positive way and encouraging them to remain aggressive despite some of their struggles. Also he poured in 32 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out 8 assists. No big deal really. He was excellent as a facilitator out of the post either on the low block or from the elbow. He also did a decent job in stretches with help defense, particularly when Carmelo Anthony wanted to get into the lane. Even better was his free throw shooting as he went 12/12 from the line which is extraordinary for a center in the NBA.
Ben McLemore is looking better offensively and he has really understood taking his time and taking what the defense gives him. He’s settling into his open jump shots better and his movement seems a lot more controlled and fluid. Despite the improvement offensively, Ben has a long way to go defensively as he still tends to lose his man in space, which tonight just happened to be J.R. Smith (more on that later). Despite that it was great to see B-Mac hit his open shots as he finished with 16 points on 6/12 FGs and 4/7 from 3 point land.
McCALLUM STARTS SLOW, COMES ON IN 2ND HALF
In Ray McCallum’s first NBA start, as expected there was some inconsistent play as Mike Malone mentioned post-game in the second half, the guard from Detroit did a better job of being the floor general and making sure players were in the right spots. Ray did some good things in the 2nd half including pushing the ball up the floor and getting the team into its offense faster. He was aggressive in attacking the rim despite missing some easy attempts. He finished with 10 points (3/14 FG), 6 rebounds and 5 assists. All in all, it looked like a great learning experience for the young McRookie and I’m excited to see his performances for the remaining 11 games.
TOO MUCH MELO AND J.R.
Watching a game in person versus watching it on tv reveals a significant difference as most people know, but one thing in particular I noticed, as I was lucky enough to sit 8 rows from the floor last night thanks to a friend, was the actual difference between closing out on shooters and leaving little to no air space for good shooters. This idea was discussed last night on the post-game show on KHTK. Ben McLemore was closing out on J.R. Smith, but it wasn’t enough to really bother his shot and thus it went to show that McLemore must learn discipline with regards to guards in the NBA. The majority of them tend to be really good shooters and being late on J.R. Smith can be a recipe for disaster as dude hit 9 threes including about 4 or 5 major daggers to dispel various Kings runs throughout the game.
Carmelo Anthony is just another animal all together. I thought Rudy Gay and Travis Outlaw did an outstanding job of being physical with Melo on the elbow and out on the 3 point line at times and despite all that, Melo still scored with hands in his face all night. He did get open 3s as well though that also stopped multiple Kings runs. The Knicks are a decent team when they are hitting their shots and there’s not much more to it.
Rudy Gay struggled mightily as a facilitator in the 2nd quarter and I still think at times should be kept away from starting his offensive possession beyond the 3 point line. He’s not a superb ball handler and thus I feel the Kings should try to keep him focused on using his strengths such as his length and agility by getting him in the paint more.
Cole Aldrich is a solid basketball player and no one can convince me otherwise.
Travis Outlaw had an outstanding basketball game and probably should have played in the 4th quarter over Derrick Williams. Is it a coincidence that I just showed up and #25 went off? I think not. #TeamTravis
Some dude in the crowd was like “he’s not dead yet?” in reference to Amare Stoudemire.
Aaron Gray is really happy all the time.
The Kings will travel to Oklahoma City to take on Jeremy Lamb and the Thunder.