The Kings lost, and that's that. Here is the Boxscore. I was going to do the 4 Factors, but I don't feel like calculating Pace and Possessions to do it right now. Maybe in the morning when I'm not in such a "I'm going to conk out" type of mood. Some observations and then I'm nodding off.
* Tyreke Evans was clearly the best player on the Kings tonight. Which was good news and bad news. The bad news is that Cousins had a terrible game by any measurable basis, and Evans couldn't guide the Kings past the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. That's a bit of a problem I suppose, but there wasn't a whole lot of continuity tonight which hurt the Kings a bit. Tyreke also scored 13 of his 21 points in the first 11 minutes of a game, and considering Tyreke ended up playing 39 minutes for the game that was a bit of a problem The efficiency was there (76.8 TS% for the game) and that's a good part of it. The defense on Luol Deng was also there which was a terrific sign. Plus there was 8 boards and only 2 turnovers. An open 3 made with his feet set. A tough lefty layup. I couldn't ask for more, and it was certainly a great first game for Tyreke.
I'll never understand why Smart took Evans out (tired or not) because of the rhythm Tyreke was in, but whatever. It's just one game. I just hope that Tyreke can continue on a roll like that. It felt like Smart was taking Tyreke out for arbitrary reasons and not real reasons. But whatever. It is just one game.
* DeMarcus Cousins stunk. Got a technical. Picked up fouls for no ostensible reason. Only 4 defensive rebounds and 7 total. Unfortunately there were 7 turnovers out of a team total of 21. 25 total minutes
That said, it's just one game and rather than droning on about some of the stuff that ticks me off (the dribble driving is a major pet peeve of mine that Cuz did for instance), I'll just say it is one game. DeMarcus knows it. Time to move on.
* James Johnson can play defense. The other stuff will come with time and figuring these guys out, but it's clear why Johnson started the game.
* The Kings struggled rebounding with Chuck Hayes and Thomas Robinson on the front line. That might be a strong reason to start T-Rob and bring JT off the bench if Smart can get comfortable with that. (I doubt it. T-Rob has a ways to go to be a starter right now.)
* Marcus Thornton hit some shots in the late 3rd and 4th quarters. Aaron Brooks was off, got a tooth knocked out (hope you're okay AB!), and it happens. Isaiah had one of those games too. It happens.
* The Kings only scored 87 points in Chicago despite 21 turnovers and 41% shooting from the field overall. It could be much worse.
* The last point before I sign off is to say that the Kings kept looking like a team that would get blown out by 25 points at multple junctures come the 2nd quarter, and espcecially the early 3rd quarter when Chicago nearly broke the game completely wide open. Even though the Kings never really came away with many quality possessions in a row, there were so many opportunities to come away with a win had the Kings just tightened up in a few areas across the board. A win in Chicago was not so out of the realm impossible that it's foolish to predict a victory.
That is the good news. The bad news is that beating Minnesota is a lot like Chicago: They are a tough and overhauled team. The difference is that the Bulls have been together much longer than this Wolves group has so the Kings might be able to eek a game out in Minneapolis Friday night.
The Kings gave themselves a chance to win tonight. That's more than I could say many games in the first month of last season. That right there is an improvement and something to note even if a loss is just a loss. A lot of so-so performances with one superior performance and the Kings were right in the game against a veteran opponent looking to illustrate how quality of a team they are without their own best player. I've seen worse things, and quite a few of them were last season. This season seems that an improvement is pretty likely. The question is just how much of an improvement is coming at this point, not if an improvement will happen.
Call me Debbie Optimist. Until next time then.