Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  March 9, 2008

Records: Lakers 41-18 (1 seed); Kings 27-35 (11 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.5 (4th); Kings 108.1 (15th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.9 (6th); Kings 111.3 (26th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Kings: Beno Udrih, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mikki Moore, Brad Miller

Lakers vs. Kings: Any time I feel a little sad, I just play this:

The Kobe for MVP debate. This easily is the topic I’m getting the most emails on, and most I’ve gotten on anything in a while (more than the Gasol trade). People are passionate about this. A lot of the emails are links to other people writing on the topic and there are some great discussion threads and posts out there on this, such as this one over at Lakersground. Personally, J.D. Hastings summed up my feelings on the whole award the other day:

The MVP race is a lot like the democratic primaries. Except with nothing but superdelegates.

The Kings Coming In: I said this a few days ago but it bears repeating: everything I know about the Kings I learned at Sactown Royalty.

On a positive note for the Kings — there’s been almost no talk of the Kings moving to Vegas this season. Which is good, because the fans in Sacramento have been loyal to a fault with the Kings, good for both the league and the team’s owners. Maybe the only “fault” is they wouldn’t tax themselves so their owners could build a stadium on the cheap. Which I think is what how any sensible person would vote. (Yes, Okalahoma City, I’m talking about you.) Since Stern works for the owners — and their interests are their pocketbooks — he’s not going to do the right thing for Sacramento or any other fan base that has stood by its team. I’m happy the moving talk is largely dead and the Kings (rumor is maybe with a remodeled arena) will be in Sacramento for years — so we can continue beating them regularly.

On the court, two nights ago Kevin Martin was allowed off the leash by Theus and the result was 48 points on 12 of 23 shooting and he got to the line for 24 shots. Problem is, the Kings still lost. To the Timberwolves. At home.

Artest is questionable for tonight’s game due to a sore foot. He missed the last two games.

Didn’t We Just Play These Guys: The Lakers played six minutes of quality basketball in Sacramento Tuesday. That was enough. Kobe had 34 and Pau had 31 on 10 of 15 shooting. It was an intense, physical game, expect more of that tonight.

Keys To The Game: Just a few days ago the Lakers got away with playing up to their potential for six minutes and still walking away with a win. I love wins, but that one was hardly well earned. Play better defense from the start and we can once again get plenty of Son of George entertainment.

In that late run last meeting, Kobe worked hard to deny Martin the ball, and the Kings went to a lot of Ron Artest isolation with Odom. Really, Artest took a lot of shots all game (and hit them despite some solid defense from Odom). If he plays tonight I’m good with a repeat of that, Artest is not normally that efficient and forcing the Kings into more isolation offense slows their effectiveness (like kick-outs to Brad Miller for the midrange when his defender collapses to protect the basket). What I think we will see is a lot of Martin early, so the Lakers need to be ready and throw different defensive looks at him.

Also, the Lakers should dominate when the benches are on the floor, but they didn’t last game (in fact the bench was outscored 24-9). The Lakers need a better night from the subs.

Where you can watch: The game is at 6:30 (Pacific) on Fox Sports in Los Angeles and League Pass nationally.

Kurt

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56 responses to Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. OT but did you guys see that circus shot by Josh Shipp in the UCLA game?! That was Kobe-esque.

  2. laughing hard March 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Phoenix just beat the Spurs, so with a win tonight, the Lakers would take a 1.5 game lead over San Antonio in the West…

    Although this is good for the Suns, so I don’t know how to feel just now =)

  3. the other Stephen March 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    yeah, i was starting to feel a little sorry for the suns.

  4. What team would you guys like to see the Lakers play in first round, and second round.. and why?

  5. Never feel sorry for the Suns! But yeah…a wierd game to watch. I was torn…wanted the Spurs to lose so the Lakers could get sole poessesion of the 1 spot, but always HATE to see the Suns win! Got to take care of business tonite though!

    Go Lakers!

  6. As long as they’re both behind the Lakers I’m fine with the results! I can’t believe I was rooting for the Suns. I was feeling bad for them as well. Plus we can’t get our revenge on them in the playoffs … if they fail to make the playoffs.

  7. Same here, I (unfortunately) was rooting for the Suns also. I don’t know how many times Nash gets away with a moving screen especially those two pick and roll plays with him and Stoudemire down the stretch. Good defense by Shaq on Duncan. If only he was consistently motivated…anyhow, go Lakers! I want to see more fadeaways by DJ Mbenga.

  8. Kurt,

    Thanks for the video of Horry killing the kings. I love this place. I was just sad I couldn’t listen to chick call the play again :-( Do you know if his calls are available anymore? I have never checked.

  9. The shot that silenced Sacramento. Gotta love it!

    They will broadcast this game, but unfortunately that means I have to listen to the muppets in the balcony again. These dudes are the worst homers.

    I think it would be best if Artest plays. Salmons killed us last game and there is no defense coming from Walton off the point of attack. Vlad is a concern too.

    Maybe start the Machine.

  10. 4–Jimmy

    I don’t care, as long as we get another crack at the Suns, preferably in round 1. I honestly think we’ll crush them in 4 or 5 games.

    In the conference finals I want to play the Spurs, even though they scare me. Since they’re the defending champs, I think that if we’re going to win the title, we should earn it by going through them.

  11. Speaking of, can Horry be included in the ‘clutch-est ever’ debate? As far as making significant, eye popping contributions at the ‘last possible minute,’ he probably has one of the stronger resumes, especially when comparing his relativity during non-clutch time.

    Anyway, Suns – Spurs, I root for Suns all the time. Suns are a far easier matchup for us ;)

  12. i love that clip so much, it makes me miss samaki walker.

  13. Had this debate with my cousin today and this is just for shiz and giggles.
    Assuming everyone is healthy and we have the same cast of players today, who would you think would give us a better chance of winning a championship: Kobe, LO, and Bynum or Kobe, LO, and Gasol?

    Personally, I voted Bynum. I think the pecking order for the next few years will be 1. Kobe 2.Bynum 3. Gasol 4. LO……..am i wrong??

  14. laughing hard March 9, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    11–And you can briefly see Mark Madsen in the group hug…

    Woo! Mark Madsen!

  15. There was a beautiful, feel-good, heart-warming article posted on ESPN on Friday by John Hollinger breaking down why the Shaq trade has been disastrous for the Suns.

    He lists 7 theories people have written about as to why the trade will work for the Suns, then breaks them down statistically and counters with what he sees as the reality. He finishes the article with this point:
    “THEORY: This trade can’t be measured until we see the Suns in the playoffs
    REALITY: We might not see the Suns in the playoffs.”

    I know not everyone here is a Hollinger fan, and I know the Suns just beat the Spurs today, but it’s still a very good article and worth the read.

    NOTE: It’s an “insider” article, so if you’re not an ESPN Insider you’ll just get the signup page.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=Suns-080307

  16. Hey matt, will you be watching this game on your computer? Do you have a link? I want to try it on my Mac again.

  17. Emma — Not sure if I’ll be watching live or archive, I’ll let you know.

  18. But either way I always watch online, since I don’t have tv.

  19. emma – try this: http://www.janeironation.5gigs.com/cc.html

    after you click on the lakers game, you usually need to open the url that pops up in windows media player. im on a mac, works fine for me, but if not just google “lakers streaming forum” and a bunch of forums on random sites should show up with people posting links…

  20. Thanks a lot! I tried channelsurfing but couldn’t get the plug-in to work even with Flip4Mac. That link works beautifully. I don’t have a TV either so it can be a pain in the butt trying to catch Lakers games.

  21. Basing on the box score.

    This game’s turning out to be an offense-minded match. While I know we got the weapons to stay with the Kings, it’s a bit troubling that we’re not getting stops.

  22. Cheers, I know the feeling…

  23. I don’t know why the Kings bring out the listless, turnover-prone Lakers, but they do. The team looks lethargic and uninterested. And why aren’t they getting the ball to Pau more?

  24. Maybe the lakers wants a California ending to rival that of UCLA’s so they’re not trying to get ahead of the kings.

  25. What happened to those ball-movement Lakers? Bad defensive energy, just ugly all around so far.

  26. Emma — Yeah, Janeironation is the site I always use. I thought that was the one that wasn’t working for you last time. You just copy/paste the link into QuickTime.

    Since I’m an idiot, I forgot about daylight savings, so I’ll have to wait and watch on archive.

  27. Kurt-The Kings have some length that matches up well with us, they also are just plain out playing harder and executing better. Their team d has been good, ours has been terrible.

  28. 71 points…whats going on right now? Are we turning into Detroit or something….do we think we can just “turn it on”?

  29. Warren Wee Lim March 9, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Those that want some insider articles to read, email me. I can send you a copy/paste of the writeup.

  30. Has anyone else seen the commercials for Kobe’s new Nike ad campaign on his website? I thought it was pretty funny to see him dressed up like that and doing dunks.

  31. I think I jinxed them by watching my first live game this season. I won’t watch the second half, we’ll see if they can hold Sac under 60 in the second half :P

  32. 27. No doubt kwame a. that the defense has been the big problem. Didn’t love the offense but they still put up 60.

    Stu Lantz here in LA is talking about a team that thinks it can flip the switch, and I worry mightily if that becomes the reality.

  33. I think Sac is the toughest match-up for our guards too. Kobe tends to watch where the ball is and the Kings guards like to cut, which is a bad mix. Also, Udrih comes off a lot of screens and Fish gets caught in them often, thus the open looks. We have to grind this win out again against the Kings. And to think, we still got 2 more with them

  34. looking for some six minute magic again…

  35. Why did Jordan come out?

  36. so it’s a foul when you get run over while down?

    that last shot he put up oh well… it looked like he was pushed off, but this is sort of a karma game, i guess, a loss we should have had a few nights back.

    and this one, i’m not even sure if it deserved to be this close from what i saw ;

  37. Why did Sasha fall on the floor?

  38. Another one against the Kings that the Lakers didn’t deserve to win, and this time, they actually didn’t. This kind of game, defensively and turnover-wise, is not going to cut it if they want to stay atop the West or go deep into the playoffs.

  39. That last foul on Sasha doesn’t make sense. If he was standing up, it would’ve been a charge all the way. But if you are sitting down it’s a foul? I don’t get it.

  40. This was a game the Lakers deserved to lose and there was no one individual I can point too. Team defense.

  41. Seriously….backdoor cuts leading to layups? What is this, high school ball?

  42. I don’t understand why we cannot effectively compete with the Kings, but I am glad they are not in the lower seeds of the playoff race.

    Terrible team defense, overall. Udrih? I’ve been watching him for a while, I know he can drive given a good screen, but come on. Udrih can almost drive and score at will against the lakers, both games we’ve played.

    Like most said, this wasn’t a game we deserved to win, neither was the first game we played against them. Like Stu says all the time, jump out and take the lead, don’t give them a chance.

  43. I’ve watched the Kings all year long on league pass. They are not that bad of a team, they are just too young. They play hard and tough every night. They are especially fun to watch when they play at home. I’m fond of Garcia, Udrih, and Kevin Martin. When Artest decides to drive to the basket and not settle for three pointers, they are a really difficult team to handle.

    P.S. Does Hawes remind you of a slightly better version of Chris Mihm (Pre-Injury)? He’s a really solid offensive player.

  44. It’d be really interesting if Houston rides a 38-game winning streak and clinches the #1 seed in the WCF.
    I was hoping we’d be the team that could stop Houston’s streak next Sunday, but something tells me these Lakers are still a healthy Andrew Bynum away from really being a championship-level team that can stay there for 4-5 years.
    Just a bad loss tonight. Get it out of the system and come back strong b/c after TOR, we have a brutal 4-game stretch, fellas.

  45. Was at the game tonight. How frustrating was that game? Haven’t gotten to go to a Laker home game since 1994 and I get that? The Lakers did not move at all on defense in the first half, and as you guys saw, they gave up, even late in the game at least four lay-ups/dunks which were hardly contested. The refereeing was terrible, it seemed to me. I’m not sure WHAT Udrih fell over on that last play. Perhaps only a Slovenian mirage which only he and Sasha could see. There were quite a lot of Laker hoops on which no foul was called. I don’t know if it’s the added perspective you get from being at a game which facilitated my seeing such a great number of blown calls or if the game really was so badly refereed. That said, I’m not really disappointed…I mean, I didn’t lose….and if you give up 71 points in the first half, you don’t really deserve to win. It’s all very well me complaining about some of the calls (and I think they are legit complaints), but the Lakers did not show up on D in the first half and they really deserved to lose.

  46. 43-I agree Nate. If Sac was in the east they would this year’s Philly. They can create tempo with their speed and in the halfcourt there offense is good because they all play off Miller well. Hawes/Miller/Moore, Salmons/Garcia/Martin/Udrih, no doubt they have talent.

    I think Jordan was doing a better job on Udrih than Fish was, although he got back-cut as well. I think the bigger problem with those back-cuts is the helpside d, or lack thereof.

  47. Glad they lost. Sick of them thinking they can turn it on at the end against bad teams.

  48. Jones – Hawes reminds of Brad Miller. Questionable on defense at times, but with good passing and range.

    Kobe put it best, “I think we lost this one from the onset — coming out with the right sense of purpose and execution,” he said. “I think it’s a good wakeup call for us.”

    The Lakers went into last night’s game thinking they had a 1.5 game lead over the Spurs who lost earlier on Sunday. Poor offensive execution and little help defense on the pick ‘n cuts.

    Personally, I thought there were too many questionable passes for the Lakers and Gasol missed too many 3-5 foot looks in the first half. The defense let them pick n’ cut as they wanted. No help on the screens.

    Also, did Ronny play yesterday? He just disappeared.

  49. Jimmy,
    “Kobe, LO, and Bynum or Kobe, LO, and Gasol?”

    At this point, I think the Lakers are better with Gasol than with Bynum. But give Bynum another year or so (assuming he keeps working at his game like he did the past year) and I think he will be better than Gasol.

  50. Bynum or Gasol???
    One reason the trade was so good was that Gasol answers the need for an active PF who can play center in emergencies and allow Ronny to go back to PF.

  51. Good wakeup call. They needed it…

    Coming playoff time, the only team I want nothing with is the Hornets, but we probably won’t meet them in the first round nor the second.

  52. 37 – Sasha was shoved.

    If I remember correctly, he was also open on the last possession of the game. Would’ve been nice to see how he reacted to a game winning attempt.

  53. When the Spurs lost at Phoenix, I had a bad feeling about this game. As I expected, the Lakers came out flat and lost. But as many have said, I think it’s a good wake up call. They have to realize that there’s no gimme games in Western Conference. Even Clips and Wolves can cause trouble. Well, Grizzlies are the only ones who can’t do much. The Lakers have to realize that they’re only good when they play hound dog D and get out on transition to get easy buckets. It seems like Gasol had some trouble with double teams, and PJ needs to work on getting our shooters open when they do that. By the way, how many WIDE open 3s did Derek Fisher miss yester day. He hits even a couple of those and we could have taken leads before 3:00 mark. Overall very frustrating game to watch. One last note is that I see more and more teams spotting up for 3s on 3 on 2 or 3 on 1 break. What happened to filling the lanes and dunking on people?! I miss Magic passing to Worthy, Scott, or AC on fastbreak. You seldom see that perfectly excuted 3 on 2 fastbreaks anymore.

  54. new Fast Break Thoughts post up.

  55. jaaason,

    Sasha was actually covered by Martin in the corner, but looked open after the shot because Martin moved closer to Kobe when he knew KB was going up with the shot. I replayed the play a few times on my DVR, because I was wondering why Kobe didn’t pass it, but when Kobe had a chance, Martin was only an arm’s length away from Sasha (and stuck his arm out), cutting off the passing angle. It was almost off-screen, so it was hard to see.

  56. Thanks! I was too bummed last night to rewatch the last possession. =)