Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Emile Avanessian —  November 21, 2012

Records: Lakers 6-5 (6th in the West), Kings 2-8 (15th in the West)
Offensive ratings*: Lakers 105.9 (5th in the NBA), Kings 94.5 (27th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings*: Lakers 98.4 (8th in the NBA), Kings 102.1 (18th in the NBA)
Probable Starting Lineups: Lakers: Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Kings: Aaron Brooks, Tyreke Evans, John Salmons, Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Nash, Steve Blake; Kings: none

The Lakers Coming In: …over .500, baby! WOOOOO!!!!!

Whaddya want? For a ragtag group of upstarts, it’s all about baby steps.

In all seriousness, the Lakers arrive will celebrate Thanksgiving not in the state we’d expected prior to the season, but as close to it as we’ve seen thus far. After scuffling (mild understatement) to a 1-4 start (and the end of the Mike Brown regime), the Lakers have crept into the NBA’s top third at the defensive end, while their offense – never the issue to begin to begin with – continues to rank among the league’s best. Winners of five of six since Mike Brown’s dismissal and six of eight overall, the Lakers have (for the moment) overhauled the narrative that perpetually surrounds this team, moving the pessimism and nitpicking of a week ago to the back burner, in favor of the optimism that accompanies the gradual cohesion of a new cast

Last night marked the young season’s high water mark, as the artists formerly (and probably again in the future) known as Team Turmoil not only gutted out a solid victory over a talented Brooklyn Nets squad in Mike D’Antoni debut on the bench, but did so with a strong defensive effort, holding four of five Nets starters under 40% from the field, while Dwight Howard turned in his best performance as a Laker (23 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, 15 rebounds and four blocks) and Kobe Bryant – despite a late game dalliance with “hero ball” that so perturbs some observers – continued to exhibit efficiency seldom seen from the Mamba, pouring in 25 on just 15 shots, and adding four boards and five dimes.

Unfortunately, in order to pull out the win, the Lakers were forced (as they often will be against quality opposition) to run four of their five starters (all except Darius Morris) at least 39 minutes. Not exactly an ideal start to a four-games-in-five-days stretch (that includes roadies in Memphis and Dallas) for a veteran squad whose top two point guards are on the shelf.

Enter the Sacramento Kings…

The Kings Coming In: According to the standings, the Kings have managed a pair of victories in 10 outings to start the 2012-13 season. Their statistical profile, however, suggests otherwise. Seriously, this team is downright AWFUL.

Only three teams are managing fewer points per 100 possessions than the Kings’ 94.5. Only the Pacers and Wizards boast a lower eFG% than Sacto’s 44.9%. The Kings are connecting at a below-average rate from all area of the floor (in fairness, they are average from 10-15’), have the third-worst Assist Rate in the league and have had one in every 11 shots blocked. (You hear that, Dwight?)

Defensively, there’s not much to write home about either. Though they rank in the league’s middle third in points allowed per 100 possessions, only two teams (Charlotte and Detroit) are allowing offensive rebounds OR free throws at a great clip, and only the Cavs and the Knicks are allowing a higher field goal percentage at the rim than Sacramento’s 68.7%. (Hi Dwight!)

On the bright side, DeMarcus Cousins is back from the absurd suspension that kept him out of the Kings November 11 loss to the Lakers. Incredibly gifted as he is, however, Cousins’ tendency to get caught flat-footed defensively (and the resulting propensity for foul trouble) will likely limit his impact against whichever of the Lakers’ bigs he’s matched up against.

Kings blogs: For the view from the other side, check out the fantastic work turned in by Sactown Royalty and Cowbell Kingdom.

Keys to the Game: Expect Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to own the offensive glass – and, consequently, to own DMC and Jason Thompson as well – with Kobe continuing to play some of the most efficient ball we’ve seen in years, against a perimeter defense that is simply incapable of preventing him from having his way.

I’ve done this before, with checkered results is memory serves, but if the Lakers are mentally present at Sleep Train Arena (this name makes me so sad), a comfortable victory – and perhaps a quarter of rest for the first stringers – ought to be in the cards.

Where you can watch: 7:00pm start on TWC Sports Net. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Emile Avanessian

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85 responses to Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. Anyone with a good, non-buffering link?

    Thanks

  2. Are we making a conscious effort NOT to get the ball into Dwight?

  3. Team look disoriented so far. Bad flight?

  4. If Jamison played h o r s e he would never get past h for horrible.

  5. This bench is so bad. Worst in NBA again. Really Mitch?

  6. Team looks lifeless tonight. Dwight looks either injured or disinterested. He is jogging (barely) up and down the floor and I don’t see him fighting for position in the post, kinda just hovering around the elbow.

  7. 11-0 to start the second quarter, starters are going to have to carry us again, our bench is just garbage….

  8. Kobe Bryant is RIDICULOUS.

  9. Joe,
    Dwight played over 40 minutes last night. Looks like he lacks that burst due to being tired more so than any sort of loafing.

  10. I don’t buy the report that ebanks isn’t playing for basketball reasons only. There is no way he could possibly be any worse than Jamison has been at the 3 position.

  11. Take Howard out he is sleep walking.

  12. Our offense looks terrible tonight. And quite frankly, it didn’t look so great last night either. I thought the concern under MDA was supposed to be the defense.

  13. brutal – this is the prob with not having a real pg who can control tempo properly.

  14. Dwight’s on his way to a back to back 40 min night. Not good.

  15. nice lob from Pau

  16. I think Dwight enjoyed that dunk…mostly for Sacre’s awesome celebration.

  17. Turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover, should I keep going?

  18. Jamison has been horrible in almost every game so far. There is no reason not to play Ebanks.

  19. Stunning amount of TOs in the 2nd. Poor execution just a killer.

    Here’s hoping for a better second half.

  20. Once again, free throws are an issue and I’m in total agreement with Jerke in regards to the need of a true general out on the floor. Too many turnovers.

  21. This is the one problem w D”antonis system is that it gives so much freedom – but you need intelligent players who can rein play in when things get too helter skelter. Morris isn’t a mature pg yet – and Kobe’s natural inclination is to score/hero ball (which isn’t me taking him down) which drives him to force the action instead of being patient and pulling things back and resetting. If they continue to throw ball away, don’t be surprised to see Duhon get a lot more mintues if only to help set up the offense.

    on plus side – they’ve forced 10 turnovers, and have taken 7 less shots but are only behind by one pt despite shooting like poop

  22. Last year the starters played to many minutes because guys like Kapono, mczroberts and Murphy stunk(where are they playing niw) this year our poor scouting brought Jamison and Meeks to go along with Clark and no show Eubanks.

    This team can not win the West with guys playing 38 minutes and a horrible bench.

  23. Lakers run some of the worst fast breaks I’ve seen. Definitely not Showtime!

  24. When’s the last time Pau was in the low post? 3 games ago. Sometimes just throw it down low to the bigs instead of passing it around the perimeter all possession.

  25. Pau is a zero tonight. Put in Hill.

  26. Lakers are losing because a much less talented team is just out working them.

    Lakers are just going through the motions right now.

    If we put in a little effort, we would easily blow this open.

  27. Both Jamison and Meeks are better than this KO – they will eventually rise to a better representation of their skills/stats as the amount of games brings them back to the mean. The reality is that young, athletic teams (sac/portland etc..) will prob be an annoyance to this team all year – however they won’t be the teams the Lakers will be facing come April , May. June. It just looks ugly because the offense is so haphazard tonight

  28. Pau is garbage. Get him out of there!

  29. My god Muke get Pau out of there. Are you blind?

  30. Zirk/Ko: Shouldn’t we be saying the same about Dwight? He’s a no-show tonight.

  31. So can we have Berney back? Lots of questions tonight on Mike D and since he came to bench tbe offense has gone south, this team look lime the Brown team tonight,

  32. Lakers showed up tonight thinking it would be easy, and it would have been had they put in a good effort int he first half. They would have negated any chance that the Kings would feel they could win, the Kings would put in less effort and they could cruise for the 2nd half.

    Instead they showed up and played lazy, lazy basketball. No one is closing out on shooters, no one if fighting for position, no one is crashing the boards.

    All the talent in the world won’t win you games when you can’t get geared up to play a game for milllions of dollars.

  33. Looks like we’re gonna need Kobe to bail us out tonight. The dude’s just unbelievable.

  34. Kobe going Mamba mode all out. Incredible!

  35. Lakers LUCKY to be within 4. Only lights out shooting by Kobe has kept us in this game.

    Can we get some energy, any energy out of any other Laker tonight (Darius has played some good D tonight).

  36. More of this Meeks, please.

  37. If I ever see anyone talking about Kobe shooting too much. I will go OFF!! We are witnessing greatness.

    Meeks must have been admiting Kobe in the bench. He came in aggressive :)

  38. This bench SUCKS!!!! Just sucks..

  39. FACT: Pau is terrible on defence and above average on offence.

    FACT: Tonight Pau is horrifying to watch on defence and terrible on offence.

  40. I’m afraid that there will be a personnel change due to the anemic offense and defense by peripheral players. Then you look at Matt Barnes with the Clippers and know that the Lakers could have used him, we should have never let him go.

  41. Wonder why it is that no matter who it is that is supposed to take the torch from Kobe, nobody ever does? Are we gonna depend on Kobe playing well into his 40s to get our 17th?

  42. Even if its a loss it might be worth it to get Meeks going and get him some confidence in his shot. Morris is regressing though and is pressing way too hard.

    Meeks is hot though – good to see.

  43. This team as it is co

  44. Playing Meeks with Howard should be a no brainier. He spaces the floor better than any other Laker.

  45. Kobe and Meeks–14 of 22–46 points (and counting on the three FT’s)

    Everyone else 11 of 33 for the rest….dang it…

    Parenthetically (actually completely off topic)—What does it take to get a “T” in this league anymore…..SAC is whining like a bunch of sissies every time the whistle blows….

  46. This team as it is constructed can not get out if the West. They are a 5th seed. Clippers sadly have 6 bench players better then our 6 thru 12. Only chance is to move Pau for a couple of athletic players. Pau badly can play 3 games a week never mind 2 in a row. Time to try and move him.

  47. This is the easiest and first of three games in four nights. Didn’t need to start the road trip with the starters getting this much burn.

    Every shot attempt is a three. WTF?

  48. We have a total of 15 points from our front line tonight and a total of 12 turnovers from our guards. We have missed 11 FTs.

  49. Howard is obviously tired tonight. No effort on D. Pau is slow & lathargic. Good thing we have a man name KOBE!

  50. Lakers only 18 paint points. D’Antoni’s offense at work.

  51. yep – lets move Pau and move howard as well too because he’s completely disappeared this game as well. And Bryant has 6 turnovers too. Doesn’t matter that its only 12 games into a season that started chaotically plus a new coach and our real pg is hurt, plus a new system. Plus a back to back against a young speedy team after playing an hard fought game against a good team last night early in the season. Yep – lets trade everyone.

    Sky falling much?

  52. Of course, they had to let this trash team beat them, pathetic…….

  53. Get ready for some blame game folks and trade speculations. AGAIN!

  54. Welcome to FB&G Jerke… In the defense of some posters though- people have been calling for Pau’s head for a while now.

  55. Flagrant, frustration foul on Howard. He should feel fortunate that he wasn’t ejected.

  56. Pau has been abused by every King big man. Repeatedly. If you can’t space the floor, can’t score in the low post against the Kings, and can’t defend anybody, it won’t be long before Josh Smith lines up next to Howard.

  57. I agree, trade Pau! Get someone who is actually athletic and can run faster than me.

  58. Gasol is so obviously terrible on D it is not even open to debate.

  59. On back to backs you need depth to compete consistently. Tonight shows Lakers have none.

  60. Howard us coming in from back surgery and has a excuse.
    Pau has none. Look at his numbers and 2 games in a row getting killed on defense. Brooks yesterday and Thompson.tonight. This is dead last team in case you missed it. Pau went from top 5 to top 15 PF this year. Look it up as opposed to sarcastic posts. Everyone is beating Pau as the announcers just pointed out. Pau is the weak point of this team.

  61. Kings have a shot at a 70 point half! Not a thing you see every game! What awesome defense by the Lakers!

  62. Lakers remain winless on the road, will need to correct this on Friday and Saturday.

  63. Dwight, 4 shot attempts in 40 minutes of play.

    Beginning to the game they just were not getting him the ball, for at least 60% of this game though Dwight just put in little to no effort.

    I expect him to rebound next game though, Pau will still suck on defence next game (but we can at least hope his offence returns to normal like to minimize the impact).

  64. Welcome to hell MDA

  65. Of course Jerke maybe you think 8 point and 3 for 10 is worth $18 million a year. 50 to 22 in the paint is really good.

  66. And that ladies and gentlemen was your Mike D defense for you!

    71 point half giving to one of the worst teams in the league. In-ex-cus-able, for a team that has championship hopes.

  67. Everybody is so sure Howard will come back 100%. Nobody can gauge how that’ll work itself out. Playing 40 minutes a night will help him get his lift back? Let’s not count on that.

    If the Lakers had a bench trading Pau wouldn’t be a discussion. But since that unit is crap that no offensive genius can fix we might end up trading the person solely responsible for bringing championship ball back to LA.

    How about Lakers drop some players and add Pietrus or CDR. It’s players out there rather than trading Pau which should only be done as a last resort.

  68. Terrible game

    - Kobe hero ball while saving us has made both gasol and howard irrelevant the entire game

    Gasol 2-9 to this point
    Howard 2-4 – no way should howard only get 4 shot attempts

    - every single hero shot and bounce possible is going down for the kings – multiple last second attempts with 2-3 bounces on the rim going in

    - we created limited turnovers and it hurt us in not creating FB points and had 20 TOs – way too much again

    - I think Kobe has put his imprint on the offense because the temp and movement are all way down these past 2 games compared to the bernie era but at the same time both gasol and howard had terrible games so chicken and the egg kind of thing

    - Morris played great – good defense, decent shooting, some overdribbling but overall good game

    - Meeks was great off the bench and will be just what dantoni needs in terms of shooters – with Nash back a line up of nash, meeks, kobe, Jamison/Artest, with howard could be fantastic to play small ball – just not against the heat because they would destroy us on D

    - Sacres dance remains hilarious

    - Kobe had the only positive +/- on the whole team at +1

    - Sacremento shot 54.3% on FG, 46.7% from 3, 81.8% from the line – Bad Defense overall but at the same time like I said a lot of lucky shots

    - FGA were 85 to 61 but that doesnt really tell the story because we went to the line so many times in the bonus that our shot numbers were down.

    A need of Chemistry which still feels missing and Defensive strategy need to be worked on

  69. Pau gasol is a okay player but hes definitely not worth $18 million a year. Time to trade pau for better bench players. And has anybody figured out how to clone kobe? hes got 38 pts on 11/20 fg.

  70. This looks familiar from even PJ’s championship seasons: Lakers look tired & uninterested in the second of a back-to-back against a vastly inferior team who out-shoots & out-hustles them. Both Pau and Dwight were no-shows and the extended minutes yesterday meant D’Antoni had to rely on the bench, which of course was a total fail. I also hope that wasn’t Meeks one good game of the season.

    A truer test will be Friday against the Grizzlies, then another dreaded back-to-back road game Saturday. Hope D’Antoni isn’t looking at a 3-game losing streak by Sunday.

    As for everyone calling for Pau to be traded for Josh Smith, I haven’t heard a simple question answered: Why would the Hawks do that trade?

  71. How about giving Sacre 4 to 5 mins to spot Pau some rest to drop his minutes to 33? Or Hill to 20 give Dwight get his to 38? Or Ebanks a couple drop Ron’s to 32 so they all will have energy late in the game.

    Running a different play other than the same PnR when you have 2 of the most skilled 7 footers in the league on your team. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  72. So…the Lakers just lost by what – 16? – to a team described in the pre-game write-up as “downright awful”…

    As said above – welcome to hell, MDA…

  73. Honeymoon is over, Mike D is .500, let’s go back to Bernie B. lol!
    Lakers switch is back i.e. OFF on back to back games.
    Pau Gasol is back to his dual persona – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
    Dwight performance is similar to Drew Bynum – disappears on the road
    Only Kobe is the true shinning armor, 17 years of playing, still going and going
    Coach Mike, you got a problem on that 2nd unit, unstable and inconsistent.
    Your starters will carry the load of the season and get punished during the playoffs.

  74. Could see this one coming. I agree Scott, this has been going on for years…coming in on the second night of a B2B to play a team that’s been sucking, mess around with the game long enough to get them energized and remembering how to play, dig a hole too deep to tired-climb out of. It is what it is.

    Hopefully, Dwight’s conditioning will improve. This is who Pau is now, so playing him 40 a night is clearly not going to work.

    I like what Metta is doing and I think this is who is going to be this season. Morris is doing some good things. I don’t know what the deal is with Jameson. Meeks looked confident and obviously got results. Can’t win with #s 12 & 16 being non-factors, though.

    Finally, I have to tip my hat for the thousandth time to Kobe. He is really incredible. When his career is said and done, we will all remember the many winning moments, but I’m not going to forget the countless games like tonight, where he played his ass off in a losing effort when plenty of other guys weren’t bringing it.

  75. You need atleast 2 or 3 ALPHAs to truly compete for a ring.

    Heat have James, Wade. Thunder have Durant, Westbrook.
    Lakers have Kobe & ?????????

    I just dont see the missing link on this roster. Howard has no post game, Gasol just flat out sucks now… I cant believe this guy is getting paid 19 million to score 8 points…. Basically the Lakers have too hope MWP hits a boatload of 3′s everytime Gasol meekly kicks it back out to him. Relying on 3′s from MWP? Is this a recipe for winning a ring?

    Bench is directionless and this is the fault of the coaching staff, I dont see a plan…

  76. Kevin,

    Ebanks is in solitary confinement on P.B.U.I. (Playing basketball under influence) who would only cause a lot of turnover, best thing to do is to find a team that will get him and Clark who are not being used in this team. As you said, sign CDR.

  77. Sick of the Pau bashing. He gets NO credit from many fans when he plays a great game (last night), and he’s apparently the sole cause of the world’s problems when the ENTIRE team as a whole plays badly.

    Yeah, let’s trade him, since more turmoil is exactly what this team needs right now. Give me a break.

  78. Dissapounted in new coach. Pau can not play more rgen 30 minutes anymore. He proved that last year yet you had a energy guy in Hill sitting next to you. Pau is 34 going on 40 and his value has gone down faster then a Romney for President poster.

    Mike, Nash will not change that. Pau is older, slower and weaker then ever. Jamison was to be his replacement? This team can not compete with Clips, Griz, OKC or Heat. They need youth. Pau will only get slower and more disappointing. 5th seed and 2nd round again unless changes are made.

  79. Ko: Pau is playing out of his element. His is being strictly used as a high post player not a low post player which he really is. If he is traded it should be because Lakers need depth or a shooter at that position. Pau just had 17-11-7 last night. Only LeBron Kobe and Durant have done that this year.

    I will continue to contend the problem is not Pau. Do the Pau bashers expect more from him at a position that’s not utilizing his full arsenal because we realize the other 11 players can’t contribute more than what they are doing? If the answer is yes then the problem is the other 11 not Pau because he’s doing all he can and helping the team in ways that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet.

  80. When we’ll start to see some work from Persons? Dwight FT, Defense mainheim…

    Chuck, that’s a great slot. Prob the best you’ll ever see. Make a difference.

    Make it happen…

  81. lol – this stuff is hilarious. Sorry for the sarcasm but the hyperbole around here is ridiculous. by some peoples reasoning on here – since NY, Nets, Bulls, Clips, Celtics all lost, they too should scuttle their teams and start trading players less than 25% thru the season. This is why Laker fans get a bad rap for being over the top.

    Yes there is lots of work to be done – but blaming D’Antoni for the teams woes after one loss? seriously? The bench issues have been discussed ad nauseam but until all our players are back and the rotations are fully set and we have a real pg out there we won’t get a real idea of where this team is.

    What else did we learn tonight – Was good to see Meeks get some shots up – 15 pts in 16 mins ain’t bad and his shot looked good. Morris is a change of pace defensive pressure guard but not ready to lead the team – and Howard is not in true game condition yet and is going to struggle on back to backs. Aside from Kobe and Meeks – no one else showed up to play tonight – this loss was on the entire team not just Pau (even kobe made some horrible turnovers – his handle looked crappy tonight).

    As for Pau for Jsmoove – Ferry has already said he’s not doing that trade – aside from getting Korver who would fit well on this team – Josh is does nothing to space the flr and is historically insists on taking jumpers that are outside of his range and not making them – oh and he’s shooting 31% from the free throw line so that will help as well. And he’s not going to be able to facilitate out of the high post like Gasol is doing so well with Howard. Unless a trade comes up that allows for Gasol to be moved for a couple young athletic floor spacers who are also great rebounders and play defense all the time, Gasol ain’t being moved. Sure he’s not worth 19,000,000 – but he was when you won and he’s still a better player than what you’re realistically going to get in return. Plus Gasols contract is up next year – which is a HUGE expiring deal with which to build a team around Howard/Nash which are the only two players on the roster past next season.

  82. Well put Kevin.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/34607/rapid-reaction-kings-113-lakers-98

    fair and honest assesment from Kaz. Turnovers, energy, and missed freethrows (all team issues) killed Lakers tonight. Sac is just a legitimate bad matchup for the Lakers and will be until this team is rolling – Sac won 3 times in preseason so tonight wasn’t a total fluke but the lakers gift wrapped the game for them.

  83. Uhhh – wait a minute. The Clippers lost a tough come-from-behind overtime game on the road against last year’s conference champions with their best player having a historically bad shooting night. No – you don’t see any of their fans wanting to “scuttle their team” at this point in the season – and for good reason.

    Hardly comparable to losing by 16 to the worst team in the conference…

  84. Kevin my issue is not Pau on offense. Although not what they were it’s still decent. It’s his defense. He is getting beaten by most everyone and then giving up offensive rebounds. 70% of the games this year he has given up more than he scored. -14 tonight is an example, he doesn’t appear to be playing close to he did for Spain this summer.

    If you expect a defensive hole at PG and get one in PF it put a huge burden on the other three guys. Smith is not an option as it as turned down so Mike must reduce his minutes to 30 not 40! Watch the rerun tonight on TW and just watch Pau. I promise you will be writing a retraction on your comments.