Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  January 1, 2010

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Records: Lakers 23-5 (1st in West) Kings 13-15 (13th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 107.5 (15th in league), Kings 109.1 (9th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 99.4 (2nd in league) Kings 110.4 (27th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings: Beno Udrih, Donte Green, Omar Casspi, Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes

Lakers Tonight: Still no Ron Artest tonight. Phil Jackson has started Odom since Artest went down, but tonight he is considering going small (starting Shannon Brown or Sasha at the two and sliding Kobe to the three). Whether or not he starts that way you can expect to see some of that tonight.

Aside that, it’s all about the Lakers defense.

The Kings Coming In: Super rookie Tyreke Evans sprained his knee and will miss his third straight game. The bad news for the Lakers is that Beno Udrih will start at point and had 23 when they got together last week, which included a 10-point second quarter where he shot 4 of 7 and beat both Fisher and Farmar.

Kings blogs: The Kings have one of the very best NBA blogs out there with SacTown Royalty. Tom Ziller is a hero of mine. Also, Zach at Cowbell Kingdom is doing great work.

Keys to game: We can only hope that the game tonight is as entertaining as the last meeting. That said, I would consider a taco blowout entertaining.

Last meeting, the Kings started doubling the post more and more as the game went on, the Lakers were spotty about recognizing it and making the smart pass out. We can expect the doubles to return, the Lakers need to make the smart pass out, then the wing players need to hit the good-look three. The Lakers can do it, they just have not been consistent about it.

Tonight is pick-and-roll defense practice for the Lakers, with bigs that need to come out and cut off the penetration, and there needs to be good rotations behind them. The Kings have a big (Hawes) that can pull the Lakers out of the post, the Lakers need to make the smart plays behind them.

Jason Thompson was physical with Pau Gasol last meeting, and as the game wore on Gasol struggled to deal with it well (save for the overtimes). I expect he will reverse that trend tonight, but it is something to watch.

Where you can watch: 7:30 p.m. start on Fox Sports here in Los Angeles, and of course ESPN 710 radio.

Kurt

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153 responses to Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. This is for Warren…

  2. I like how Phil is putting Odom in the starting line up because he wants to “put pressure on Lamar” to play better.

    Bill McDonald and PJ’s Philosophy 101 is priceless.

  3. here’s to making sure warren gets 2nd spot. expecting nothing less than a win. GO LAKERS!

  4. Any good links other than freedocast? This one is lagging reaallllly bad.

    Let’s hope the Lakers come out and take care of business tonight. As much fun as the last Kings game was, as Kurt said, a Taco Unit sighting would be just fine with me.

  5. fisher is really off with his shot.

  6. maybe im crazy but did fish just shoot 4 times in the first 3 minutes?

  7. Derek Fisher is channeling his inner Iverson tonight.

  8. pau showing off his coast to coast skills! I like it.

  9. our defense bringing out the best out of sacramento. looking a bit lazy save for some hustle plays

  10. You take what the defense gives you… early Fish sighting would be good for me. If only he can knock those in… oh wait, its not yet the 4th quarter so he won’t make any.

  11. The 1st time Bynum looks at other options aside from himself, good things happen.

  12. at some juncture tonight the lakers will have to…have to blow out these kings. something of a struggle will only mean we’re not out of this slump. nice to see kobe directing the offense.

    go bynum hammer that down!

  13. Kobe and Fisher start 2 for 11, Bynum and Gasol 5 for 6.

  14. pau looks like he’s playing with a bunch of kids at the mo

  15. ho hummm…

    credit to the kings. this young team can score. thinking if they can get a dominant big man off free agency surrounded by these young gunners and say martin is used effectively off the bench or is traded…this team can get back to relevance and contention.

  16. They should just go to Pau in the post every single time as long as he’s in there, and the few minutes that he’s not – go to Drew. Not a very original game plan perhaps, but an effective one none the less.

  17. …and all of a sudden everyone is basket shy.

  18. brown and farmar terrible on defence just awful

  19. The Lakers are getting picked off time and time again by those passes from the high post.

  20. If I’d only watch when Lakers played Sacramento, I’d think the Kings is an elite team.

  21. They did this against GS the other night. Down by 15, brought it to 7 by the half, and pulled it out. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see the same tonight. Kobe’s shot has to start falling at some point.. Fish’s i’m a little more skeptical.

  22. couldnt phil just yell at them on the bench and really embarress them, he needs to make an example

  23. This Laker guard play fills me with dread going forward. Kobe will once again be forced to play 40 minutes against mediocre opposition because the rest of the backcourt is such a disaster.

  24. Miserable D by the Lakers. I get some consolation however from the fact that Pau isn’t the only Spaniard playing well out there.

  25. Offensively I dont really care, but defensively you should be solid enough to where if you cant score your defense keeps you in the game. Lakers have NO defense anymore and this started earlier than when Ron was out (although it’s gotten worse since he’s been gone)

  26. Looks like another game in which Kobe will have to carry the team. What amazes me is that this isn’t the 05-07 team. Kwame Brown is no longer our starting center, there is no excuse. The Lakers team should beat the Kings even without Kobe and Artest.

    And Kobe just took a jump shot about two inches within the 3-point line. On an isolation. Why?

  27. Someone should tell Derek Fisher to NEVER enter the paint and attempt to score, my 6th grade little sister who plays basketball has a better chance of scoring

  28. Case in point, Sasha ignores the man the ball (Udrih, a 43% 3-point shooter) who promptly knocks down a wide-open triple.

    Unbelievable.

  29. 17-3 bench points so far. And yet the Lakers’ bench have played heavy minutes. Sad.

    Also Fish has more shots than both Pau and Drew, which amazes me.

  30. Thank God for Bynum and Gasol, otherwise this game would already be over.

  31. layup, open shot – rinse and repeat, i know we are in a bad spot but sometimes i worry we only have 3 or maybe 4 good players and 4 to 5 unplayable players

  32. lol @ Fisher with 10 shots.

  33. fisher :(

  34. I’ve missed the last few games. Man, the Lakers look lost out there. It looks like a group of guys that has never played together before – on offense and defense.

  35. bad backcourt play (including kobe at times)

    reminiscent of phoenix shooting by sacramento

    reawakening of the frontline offense

    subpar defense

    sacramento wanting this game more (and their coach is even praising the potential of lakers)…

    sacramento up big at the half

  36. well, another ugly effort. perhaps this team just got old and isn’t really very good at all?! (bench outscored 3 – 19)

  37. I find it so funny that we are getting our butts kicked against a kings team WITHOUT it’s two best players Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin, what an embarassment. Have some damn pride and compete.

  38. i just cant believe this is the same team that we spent our time discussing the taco unit

  39. Our offense takes its cues from our D I guess…with terrible results.

    And man, I can’t believe I’m saying this but this Kings team is actually…fun? Likeable?

    *takes ice-water shower*

  40. Its easy to defend the Lakers when you only really have to concentrate on kobe and Pau….its not like anyone else out there can make an open or semi-constested shot. Its gut wrenching to see them miss those…

  41. Nothing to worry about. The Lakers were due to lose to a bad team. Law of averages at work here.

  42. great let’s wake up the laker behemoth…oh wait timeout again well-timed by westphal

  43. I can’t believe that the Lakers had an easy layup, the kind that they have been giving up

  44. Let’s not forget that this is a Kings team without Evans AND Martin.

  45. Good of Lamar to join us for the second half.

  46. Fool’s gold by Lamar, watch him disappear the rest of the quarter (lamar I hope you make me eat these words)

  47. steve blake in the hospital, aldridge with injury…now they really need a big man

    nate robinson scores 41 off the bench way to go coach!

  48. Lakers are playing some D now – if they can get some buckets that would help.

  49. LAMAR!

  50. Someone tell me why they couldnt be playing this defense from the beginning of the game?

  51. Not watching the game but looking at the stats… When will this slump end?! This team has the best record?! How is this possible?! Down fifteen at the half to a sub 5 team without it’s two best players… At home?!

  52. The insane thing with LO is that he is almost up there with Kobe when it comes to pure talent. He could be a 20-10-5 guy in this league if he knew how to use it a little better on a consistent basis.

  53. ARGH go to gasol please

  54. As horribly as they have played, it’s an 8 point game with a whole lot of time to go. I see them easily going on a little run and winning. If anybody can make a shot.

  55. Frontcourt and backcourt have both taken 25 shots. There’s a slight difference in the amount of makes however (16 vs 5).

    Edit: And as I write that, Joel Myers steals my point:D

  56. This is like watching Nash and Nowitzki.

  57. stop trading baskets!

  58. for gods sake fish cannot guard udrih take him out

  59. oh kobe!

  60. Do the Lakers know trading buckets cant win this game? BTW its amazing AMMO just played better defense on Udrih than Fisher has all night

  61. Keep shooting Ballhog Bryant!!!!

  62. oh man kobe read my mind and made that 3!

  63. sasha with the usual pleading…kobe should have not been benched

  64. Joel and Mojo, you are calling Kobe a ballhog right now yet his 3 point shooting has brought the lakers back into the game. He is 6 for 10 shooting this half for the record, 16 points total in the quarter.

  65. I can’t believe the Kings have scored 86 through 3 quarters. Embarrassing, to say the least.

  66. I have been watching only since the fourth quarter started, and Lamar has already been burned twice…

  67. WOW Lamar twice you let Udoka outwork you what a joke

  68. oh man lakers circa 05′ kobe to lamar!

  69. 66

    I was being sarcastic.

  70. This is just painful. I can’t even watch. Goodnight guys.

  71. Apologies Joel, that comment was directed toward Mojo only then. I’ll take my chances with the ball in Kobe’s hands right now instead of letting Bynum attempt to get his own shot. Always put the ball in your best players hands and see if he can make plays for himself and others, especially when they are struggling.

  72. Poor Jason Thompson, dude can not catch a break tonight.

  73. It seems that we have a game on our hands.

  74. An Open Letter to Phil Jackson,

    Dear Phil,

    Do not play Derek Fisher until Playoffs start. That is all.

    Sincerely,
    All Laker Fans

  75. 67

    Kobe took over for that brief stretch because it was clear the Lakers needed a lift on the offensive end. He’s not ‘chucking it up every time’ to start this quarter.

  76. The last play from Pau to Shannon just shows that Lakers sometimes make things too complicated for themselves on offense. Just pound it to the big and wait it out until the double comes. Once the double comes, just exploit the 4-on-3 advantage on the rest of the court. How hard is that to understand?

  77. 72. I’m actually happy to see Bynum and Pau being agressive down in the post. Bynum is hurting Thomson every single time he gets it down and Pau passes the ball off the double team as no one.

    BTW, I’d love to see Bynum finishing with his left hand on the left side when the dunk is not possible. It would give him an and1 situation instead of 2 shots at the line most of the time

  78. Attention all Laker players, Kobe is currently hotter than a volcano, GIVE HIM THE BALL

  79. mamula — and sometimes it’s easier, give the ball to your best man

  80. 79, Xavier, I’m happy to see the same thing as well but it’s clear who needs the ball right now, Kobe is on fire

  81. Has Kobe even sat out?

  82. thank god for kobe he must be exhausted

  83. 81. I agree with that too,
    but when the defense knows that they can’t double team Kobe it makes his life much more easy

  84. Kobe is doing what he can so the Lakers can win and will likely end up with another 40+ point game

  85. REALLLLLLLY interested to see if the Lakers are motivated to actually show up a full game against a really good Dallas team Sunday night.

  86. Did I really just see Kobe miss 2 clutch FTs?

  87. Wow that was a Rondo Moment for Kobe,

    Granted he wasn’t shooting particularly well, but I’m betting that’s fatigue setting in.

  88. Ka-Pau!

  89. anyone elses heart stop when kobe faceplanted out of bounds?
    BTW: What’s up with running to the open 3pt shooter with your arms down? Is it to avoid them from creating contact with your arms or what?

  90. Kobe’s been spectacular, but Odom quietly has 19 of his 20 points (I think) in the second half.

  91. If we can prevent another open 3 here, we should be fine.

  92. If this is a loss, it’s well deserved. A quarter and a half of defense isn’t good enough.

  93. My feed just died on the laker’s last possesion,

    Was the Shannon 3 a good shot?

  94. 93

    It was a wide open corner 3 but it rimmed out.

  95. We caught a break with those Udoka misses. Let’s make them pay! D-Fish corner three :)

  96. I think the league should strip the lakers of their championship last year out of sheer disgust of their play of late. I hope they miss this last shot.

  97. WOW, i cant remember Fisher sitting out this long in the 4th.

  98. Stone. Cold. Killer.

  99. WOW… Absolutely unbelievable!

  100. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo January 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Wow.

  101. Did anyone else have the feeling in the back of their mind that Kobe was going to sink another game winner?
    The second i saw Kobe open i started celebrating.

  102. KOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  103. Kobe did it again a THREE at the buzzer for the win

  104. i really cant believe kobe

  105. Greatness. I’ll say it again: Why is there even a debate on who is the clutchest player in the world?

  106. Was he inbounds?

    Edit: Never mind, they called it good.

  107. Absolutely Amazing!
    96DreDawg-bet you want to delete that, huh? It’s all good I thought we were done on the shannon miss.

  108. 112. Yes, I think so.

    Thank god I’m home alone tonight because that scream I’ve made at 7am would have scared someone

  109. Kings gave this game away. Lakers didn’t deserve to win, still have to give credit to Bryant for making the last shot.

  110. He is simply at a different level than the rest of the NBA.

    He is fearless, and utterly committed to being the winner.

    Kobe is so much fun to watch.

  111. I think we should call Kobe the Stimulus Package with the way he bails out the lakers

  112. After all these years, I’m still shaking my head at this guy.

    I’ve almost managed to forget the abysmal first half effort against a team missing its 2 best players. Almost.

  113. 114 I think I scared someone in my apartment building lol… I really can’t believe how good Kobe Bryant is at basketball.

  114. I think Kobe has planned all of this as a rebuttal to Mr. Abbott.

  115. WOW. Even as much frustration as games like this cause me, I do so love them in the end. :)
    Happy New Year everyone.

  116. you know what I loved about the ending to the (aside from the obvious thing) — I love casspi’s reaction. he was just staring out into space with a look on his face like he wanted to throw up. that guy really wanted to win. I think he’ll be playing in the league for a long time.

  117. I love how stat geeks claim that Kobe ain’t all that in the clutch – completely disregarding the degree of difficulty of the shots he has to make. This was almost “easy” by Kobes standards, and by no means was that an easy shot to make for anyone else. Amazing display of clutchness.

    Quietly, the Lakers’ frontline had a nice offensive game and Pau keeps rebounding the ball at an impressive rate. The bench however is a sad story. Let’s hope that the return of Artest and Walton can remedy that problem to some degree.

  118. Kobe is absolutely amazing…..
    i cant believe he hit another game winner….

  119. Every team goes through a funk at some point in the season. I sure hope this is the Lakers funky phase. I expected it to come during February or March when all those roadies begin piling up.

    I don’t know… Well, I do know they can’t keep playing like this. There is no way in the world they can bring this kind of effort against Dallas and Houston. NO WAY!

    Even still they have the best record in the NBA. It is what it is.

  120. kobe does it again. old news

  121. What broken finger?

  122. Kobe time!!!!

  123. I am sooo glad i didn’t stop watching. As soon as he got the ball, you just knew it. I just started laughing. The man is absolutely ridiculous.

  124. 122

    I noticed that as well. The kid is a serious competitor in addition to his skill as a player. That corner 3 he hit in the last minute was cold-blooded.

  125. Well Kurt, you got an exciting game again!!

    Third quarter D gave me hope that the team can figure it out. LO’s third quarter helped me remember why I like him so much.

    The pieces are there, I just hope they can put it all together heading into this spring.

  126. That was a tiptoe act at the baseline sort of like Sean Elliot’s shot in the Finals… another one of Kobe’s highlights. That shot will probably be # 56 on his all-time though…

  127. Kobe for MVP!Sorry Darius,with this team we’re gonna need him all the way.

  128. i sure want to know what is the longest streak for made game winners. kobe’s like 3 in a row now

  129. New year…same old KOBE! Out of this world!

    Defense was lackluster again for most of the game but the fun of buzzer beater erases most of that. I’m confident the Lakers will tighten up their game when they need to.

  130. In the 3rd quarter, Kobe had 16, Odom 12, and Bynum 2. That is unacceptable, with the team we have. Only two players contributed offensively in the 3rd quarter.

    But, like Norm Nixon said… a win is a win is a win.

  131. The sick thing is, it was tough to enjoy this clutch shot — as was the case with Miami at Staples a few weeks back — given the context of the game. There’s no way in hell the Lakers should have needed a Kobe miracle to get a win at home against the Kings.

    Reminds me of how Kobe pulled the Lakers out of a hole in Game 2 of the 2004 Finals. Yeah, it was thrilling — but it couldn’t mask a much larger issue, the fact that the team really wasn’t playing good basketball.

    Slumps happen, and there’s plenty of time to right the ship. But as the Wolf said in “Pulp Fiction,” let’s not start (congratulating each other) just yet.

  132. Did fish even play in the fourth quarter? Has even Phil gotten tired of him

  133. chris J-”Slumps happen, and there’s plenty of time to right the ship. But as the Wolf said in “Pulp Fiction,” let’s not start (congratulating each other) just yet.”
    Well put… Talking about the lakers with refrences to pulp fiction= great conversation!

  134. Chris J, the sicker thing about it is, this is a Kings team without Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin… and we are at home.

  135. Eric, I saw the game via atdhe.net and Nate was just possessed. He was literally unstoppable at one stretch hitting 2 and-ones and a three-pointer.

    Joe Johnson could not chase him and he looked like Brad Miller chasing Rajon Rondo on the matchup.

  136. True, it wasn’t the Lakers at their best, but I’m so happy at that finish that I really couldn’t care less. They’ll get it together soon, and Artest and Walton’s returns will certainly help.

  137. we cant defend big man with long shooting range.

    anyway,kobe is soooooo amazing!

  138. Warren Wee Lim, agreed he was almost Kobe-esque, and I dont care what anyone says about how he doesn’t play defense or he would be a distraction or whatever. #1 He is too much of an athlete to say he can’t play defense he just has to be on a defensive team. #2 Isn’t Phil an expert of dealing with players with “Personalities” . . . . . . YES, and finally as awful as our bench is and as much as they are struggling a little firepower couldn’t hurt.

  139. This is great man… 3 game winners in the span of a month. I don’t think kobe’s ever done… Curious to know what the all time record is for the span of a month. I’ve got mixed feelings though, What bugs me is being in that situation where we need game winner after game winner against mediocre teams… But what’s great is knowing that they can pull out victories after terrible games. That must be a confidence booster for the team somehow. I just sure hope they can carry this out to their next two games. Gonna need better efforts than today:

  140. Stu Lantz said it about Kobe during a game recently (it might have been the earlier Kings game): “If you figure him out, let me know …”

  141. We almost lost to the Kings, twice, but so what? We had trouble with them last season, that didn’t ruin our year. The Lakers can’t defend teams with quick guards and a big man that can shoot, it’s not news.

  142. Video recap of the game is up on espn. Enjoy.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=300101013
    Edit: just noticed its at the top of the page also. heh

  143. I don’t regularly follow people’s twitter accts, but espn.com has it’s twitter feeds on the front page. Of course, Hollinger said it was because Sergio didn’t play good defense. This is my general annoyance at people who comment without playing the game- even a clean look in that situation is ridiculously hard. Game time is not practice.

    Reminds me of Thorpe recently ranking Lebron a better jump shooter because Kobe doesn’t put enough arch on the ball. Haha, it’s like telling Picasso he’s not good because he doesn’t hold the brush right.

    Kobe!!! We’re lucky.

  144. “We can only hope that the game tonight is as entertaining as the last meeting.”

    Kurt, my doctor blames you for my high blood pressure…

    I was, of a certainty, entertained.

  145. Why o why are the Lakers guards not named Kobe such rotten shooters?

    Aren’t guards supposed to be rather good at … well, shooting?

  146. Kobe – the scientist

  147. Lately, i’ve been thinking that when something significant happens in my life, Kobe hits a buzzerbeater. Case in point: the miami buzzerbeater -> my last day of classes ever! This time around, i just got my final project working today -> he hits another one. haha

  148. Hilarious quote by Phil regarding Artest:

    “There’s a number of checks they go through with concussions, like speech patterns. But with Ron, that doesn’t work.”

    Hahaha.

  149. New post up, just so we can savor the win again and again.

  150. The Kings played inspired basketball-but the Lakers came back from the dead. Lamar, perhaps on a gummy bear high, had a remarkable second half–playing like the superstar he can be from time to time. Pau Gasol did it all, getting the rebounds as well as shots and assists–including the game winning assist to Kobe.

    Beno Udrih may be Derek Fisher’s nemesis.

    Derek had a forgettable night as a Laker (though he made one especially incredible rebound and several steals)–sitting most of the second half–yet, I can’t help but think that he would have made the three pointer near the end of the game that ShanWOW missed.

    Each time the Lakers barely win a home game like this against a supposed inferior opponent, Hollinger’s system virtually treats such a victory as a loss. Even though the Lakers lead the nearest NBA opponent by at least 2 losses, they have dropped in rank to 8th in Hollinger’s system.

    I’m sure that Hollinger is hoping that the Lakers either lose a few or blow some teams into Tacoland so his ranking of the Lakers won’t appear so wrong.