Snips and clips from the Kings' camp, plus:
- "The Bust" Revisited: A New Look at G reg Oden's Free Agency
- Haiku Game Review
- Fried Rice
- Blazers/Kings Recap
- Popcorn Machine
- The Basketball Jones
posted by pookeyguru to Sactown Royalty gameday open thread
Please Die LaMarcus Aldridge
Signed, Angry Kings fan who just wants his team to win.
posted by elfboy to Sactown Royalty gameday open thread
I think our wishes are coming back to bite us in the ass.
We all wished that the Kings remained competitive to end games. That's happening.
Now I wish that the players, the young players especially, learn from these games, learn how to be effective in these situations, and turn these losses into victories.
by Aykis16, Sactown Royalty (SBN)
That was not a fun game to watch. Once again, the Kings had control of a basketball game in the final minutes, but couldn't execute well enough down the stretch to secure the victory. By all rights, this game shouldn't have gone to overtime. The Kings led 81-73 with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and Portland ended up finishing off the quarter with a 12-4 run. There were a few offensive possessions during that span for Sacramento that were just terrible. No ball movement, just long jumpers or turnovers. Boy did the Kings have a lot of turnovers. 19 in fact, most by Tyreke Evans (5) or DeMarcus Cousins (4). * * *
The Blazers executed several of their plays really well, running the offense either through LaMarcus Aldridge in the post or Andre Miller on the side. It's obvious that Miller is a great floor general, but he's just so boring to watch. Boring can be effective though, and Miller came up big in both the final minutes of regulation and OT.
The Blazers defense is really fun to watch if you're into that sort of thing. Their rotations are good, and they have the length and quickness to close down quickly on outside shooters, as well as to make it hard for opposing teams to go inside.
Nicolas Batum was probably the player of the game though, scoring 24 points and playing solid defense. He is probably my favorite young prospect in the league, and I'd trade anyone on the team besides Tyreke or DeMarcus for him. * * *
posted by darkadun to Sactown Royalty gameday open thread
How many close games can we be in and still lose??
I mean seriously. Outside of the Boston game, the last 5 losses have been by like 4 points or less. And then this game was ripe for the picking, at home against a Portland team that isn't quite the same with all the injuries.
Its frustrating, because every game follows the same script. Close game come 4th quarter...be up 5-10 points.....lose in the final 2 minutes. ughhh
posted by twoolfork1 to RealGM Kings message board
We are really a horrible 2nd half/late game team.
In the begining of the year we would get down early then come back late and lose.
Recently it's been the opposite. We play great in the first half then collapse towards the end. I don't know what it is about this team. I guess its age and inexperience. We score 5 points in overtime that wont beat anybody.
by Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee Kings/NBA blog
The Kings led 81-74 with 6:06 left in regulation, but couldn't close out the Blazers. Portland ended regulation on an 11-4 run and outscored the Kings 9-5 in overtime.
The loss is the third in a row for Sacramento (9-31).
Nicolas Batum led the Blazers (23-20) with 24 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points. Andre Miller scored 20. Beno Udrih led the Kings with 20 points and was one of five players in double figures.
Two things hurt the Kings tonight: They made just 15 of 22 free throws (68.2 percent) and they committed 19 turnovers that led to 18 points. The Blazers were able to slow the Kings using a zone defense and had just enough offense to win the game. * * *
posted by dannyboy55 to SacTown Royalty game recap
It's reminiscent of Brad Miller in his bitch-prime, but instead of once every couple games, he does it about once a quarter. There was yet again another brutal incident (not the one where he fell down going for a loose ball/board that he usually fouls on in frustration for not getting the call) where he made a bad personal play, good D, and no ghost foul call and he gets beat bad back on the D end for a layup.
He needs to realize, HE IS NOT THAT GOOD YET. Guys in the NBA are way better than high school or the SEC (if this were football one could make a 10% better argument). His game is too fast. Needs to slow down. We all know this and I'm sure his coaches are preaching this too him but to me this tells me he is a wonder of talent but a horrible learner and a baby (not a boy).
On a related note, on one possesion in the 3rd or early 4 Q where he got the board and started dribbling up the floor when Beno was calling for the ball and he ignored him, it ended up in a missed, somewhat weak FG attempt down in the lane, I thought it would be a perfect leadership opp for Beno. He should have called him out, told him to get me the ball and I will get it back to you or shoot it myself since I'm hot tits from the floor the last 15 games... but nothing.
We need a leader bad, DeMarcus needs one, I don't like watching him when he plays bad, he's not a guy I like to root for and he needs someone to set his [barnyard slang] straight on the court. * * *
posted by prowseinthehouse to SacTown Royalty recap thread
Some notes from the game:
- I got to sit in row A (Eeeee!! squeel like a little girl!) so that was exciting.
- Andre Miller talks a lot. * * *
- DMC [Cousins] didn't play too well, but I think everyone knows that.
- DMC does not like Pryzbilla.
- Omri does not like anyone in a Trailblazers uniform.
- Omri don't take no [barnyard slang] either.
- Pryzbilla did his job perfectly in taking DMC out of his game by getting in his head.
- DMC made it very easy for Pryzbilla to do his job.
- Disappointed Pooh couldn't have played more on his night, but that's what the game dictated.
- Andre Miller talks a lot.
- Half time show was NUTS! Russian acrobat girl, need I say more?
- I really liked Dalembert today. Hopefully he keeps bringin' his A game, only one /facepalm from him today! * * *
- That non-timeout call was complete bull-oney — seriously though, how could they think PW didn't want a timeout with 3 seconds left? * * *
- Andre Miller talks a lot.
- Overall, I thought it was a fun game, but unfortunately we saw the same ending as always.
Sorry for the nonsense but I rarely get to go to a game so I had to tell somebody about my experience.
posted by allbenji's to SacTown Royalty postgame thread
At home against a terrible Portland line-up. Simply pathetic. I know we're bad and I know Portland is a great team WHEN HEALTHY but the Kings just got beat by:
- Andre Miller (over the hill but still decent)
- Wes Matthews (one decent season role player with ridiculous contract)
- Batum (aka Lebron, Kobe, amd Wade all in one when he plays the Kings)
- Dante Cunningham (who?)
- Aldridge (All-Star)
- Przybilla (hasn't even played in like 3 years & when he did he was a decent 3rd big)
- Fernandez ("I wanna go back to Europe because my coach doesn't like me")
I mean, really, this team just beat you at home — THIS TEAM? I'd take any roster in the league over this one and not even think twice. Just pathetic.
You can't tell me our roster tonight shouldn't have been far better than this Blazer team tonight. So what was the difference maker??
by Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee
By coach Paul Westphal's count, the Kings have led in the fourth quarter in six of their past seven games.
Then there's the bad — the Kings are 1-6 in their past seven games.
And after taking a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter Wednesday night, the Kings saw their lead dissolve with nearly 11 minutes of insufficient offense in a 94-90 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Arco Arena. * * *
"I thought we did enough good things that help you win basketball games to win a game against a good team," Westphal said. "But it seemed like we needed a shot to rattle around and go in, and it'd rattle around and go out." * * *
The Bottom Line:
1. Yeah, we've got a young team an all, but at some point the FAILwagon has to run out of FAIL, doesn't it?
2. How do we manage to lose to the Blazers' second team suckbrigade like that?
3. It was a bad game for Cousins, but he can't turn a frown upside down if he's stuck on the bench.
4. A very depressing loss...
* * *
New Information, New Analysis
On November 17, 2010, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that former #1 overall draft pick Greg Oden would be lost to season-ending microfracture surgery due to damaged cartilage on the surface of his left femur. A collective wail was heard throughout the Blazer Nation as the news was received that the team's 7-foot centerpiece would be lost for the third time in four NBA seasons to non-contact issues with his knees.
I was certainly among those aghast at Blazer President Larry Miller's rapid declaration that the team fully intended to resign the injury-prone Oden to a new deal if the hurtin' hoosier worked hard and showed progress in his rehabilitation regime.
"If Greg Oden plays up to his potential he is worth [the $8.8 million qualifying offer]," Miller told The Oregonian. "At this point, I don't see us not giving the offer if Greg is doing the things we need to see him doing to get back on the court. That's how I feel. If he is doing those things, we want to keep Greg around. I don't feel like I'm ready to give up on Greg Oden. I don't think anybody in our organization is ready.''
I called this "tilting at windmills," believing the team to be in denial over a player who had averaged a modest 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in just over 20 minutes a game in his injury riddled career. Paying Oden nearly $9 million during his rehabilitation year would necessitate the loss of free agent-to-be Joel Przybilla, I felt, and would effectively tie the Trail Blazers' championship balloon to a giant rock, a costly player sure to be injured again and again.
Bringing back Greg Oden was the height of irrationality, I believed. If past experience was in any way predictive of future outcomes, banking one's hopes on a guy that had managed to play just 82 games in a four season career seemed not only a poor reading of costs and benefits, but indicated a fundamental incapacity to perceive the world as it truly was.
The only rational move was for Portland to cut ties with The Bust: to re-sign free agent Joel Przybilla, and to get on with life — older and wiser.
Or so I thought... I have completely changed my mind over the course of the last two months. Here's why.
1. True Centers are Rare Commodities
In basketball terms, why do we care about Greg Oden at all? Players are traded and cut every day, after all. Other than his illustrious status as the #1 overall selection in the 2007 NBA draft, why do we care if the disastrous knees of Greg Oden are in Portland or on the other end of the country? The $8.8 Million which it will cost to roll the dice on Greg Oden again is a massive pile of money and there are lots more players where he came from, right?
Simply put, the pool of humans who are 7-feet tall and athletic enough to play professional basketball is a small one. Hell, Chris Kaman was a Western Conference All Star a year ago, right? That should be a tipper right there that the range of choices is severely constrained.
There are 30 NBA teams competing against one another for a "true Center" or three. The Los Angeles Lakers are regarded as having extraordinary depth at the position because they have two — Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — the latter of whom splits time at the position, much like his 6'11" cohort LaMarcus Aldridge has been doing lately.
The Andrew Boguts of this world are few and far between. Some de facto "Centers" are undersized, like Big Al Jefferson of the Jazz. Other so-called "Centers" are little more than defense-stretching jumpshooters, like Channing Frye of Phoenix, David Lee of the Warriors, or Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors. No small number are stiffs — the Collins brothers and elite draft pick Hasheem Thabeet of the Grizzlies come to mind. Then there are the geriatrics, like the Messrs. O'Neal of the Boston Celtics or our own Marcus Camby.
Top tier true Centers in their prime? It's a really short list, man...
Dwight Howard. Andrew Bynum. Pau Gasol (a 7-footer who can also play out on the perimeter a bit). Brook Lopez. Emeka Okafor. DeAndre Jordan. Andrew Bogut. Joaquim Noah. Maybe there are a couple others that I'm forgetting, but you get the point — Greg Oden is potentially a very rare beast. Where supply is low and demand is high, prices shoot up to the sky.
Nearly 9 Million bucks might sound like a ton of money to you or I, but in NBA terms that not that big of a dollar dish for the one irreplaceable piece: a true Center in his prime, capable of lighting it up on both ends of the floor. The problem being, of course, that absolutely nothing in Greg Oden's injury history indicates he has more than a Yao Ming chance of staying healthy for a full season. Combining his pro and collegiate seasons, he's 0-for-5, after all...
The question for me was always one of opportunity cost: gambling $9 Million on the health of Greg Oden meant an inability to pursue free agent Center Joel Przybilla, a world class rebounder and team leader on the floor. It was an either/or, I believed, and the expected value of a steady, solid Przybilla season was preferable to the feast or famine or really big famine or catastrophic famine of a continuing association with the injury-prone Greg Oden.
Choices had to be made and for me it was simple: Marcus Camby ($12.9 Million next year), a new deal for Joel Przybilla (something slightly in excess of $7 Million needed to keep him), and "good doing business with ya, Greg, sorry that things didn't work out." A team can't be spending $30 Million on one position, after all.
That math has changed for me, however, because...
2. Joel Przybilla is Not Right, Physically
My assumption was that Joel Przybilla would be able to come back with some extremely close rendition of his previous game. Seven-foot-one before surgery is seven-foot-one after surgery, don'tcha know... Rebounding? One part size, one part technique, and one part force of will — none of which should have been impacted by surgery. Przybilla's points were essentially putback buckets of offensive rebounds and he was never a high flying on the defensive end, using his raw size to alter shots.
No worries, or so I thought, until we all saw that there was indeed something very big to be worried about.
The best tool for assessing the level of a given player's performance isn't the product of some elaborate mathematical formula but rather making close observations of reality with one's eyes. As any fan of Joel Przybilla can attest, there is something very wrong with Joel following his comeback from two rounds of surgery on his patella tendon. Formerly a Top 10 sort of talent as a low post rebounder, Przybilla has consistently been a step slow getting to rebounding position, his timing clearly off with respect to boxing out, his body seemingly incapable of elevating to gather boards. Worse yet, Joel's physical limitations seem to have affected his confidence.
Whether Przybilla simply "needs time to heal" (to quote Mike Rice on Monday) or whether the limitations his game now shows are a permanent phenomenon implying the end of his career as a useful NBA player (my own take) remains to be seen. What cannot be reasonably argued is the obvious statement that at this moment post-surgery Joel is a shadow of his former self as a low post rebounder and shot blocker.
As we have seen in the Aldridge case, perceptions of player change lead the accumulation of statistics necessary to properly document the observed change. However, as time passes and Joel's minutes on the floor mount, a big enough stack of statistics are being accumulated to be able to test (and confirm) this anecdotal observation.
See for yourself:
Games Played: 82
Minutes Played per Game: 23.8
Rebounds per Game: 8.7 (13.2 per 36 minutes)
Points per Game: 5.5 (8.3 per 36 minutes)
Blocks per Game: 1.2 (1.8 per 36 minutes)
Turnovers per Game: 1.0 (1.4 per 36 minutes)
Games Played: 30
Minutes Played per Game: 22.7
Rebounds per Game: 7.9 (12.6 per 36 minutes)
Points per Game: 4.1 (6.5 per 36 minutes)
Blocks per Game: 1.4 (2.3 per 36 minutes)
Turnovers per Game: 1.3 (2.1 per 36 minutes)
Two Year Average
Games Played: 112
Minutes Played per Game: 23.5
Rebounds per Game: 8.5 (13.0 per 36 minutes)
Points per Game: 5.1 (7.6 per 36 minutes)
Blocks per Game: 1.3 (1.8 per 36 minutes)
Turnovers per Game: 1.0 (1.4 per 36 minutes)
Games Played: 16
Minutes Played per Game: 9.4
Rebounds per Game: 2.8 (10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes)
Points per Game: 1.6 (5.8 points per 36 minutes)
Blocks per Game: 0.2 (0.7 per 36 minutes)
Turnovers per Game: 0.5 (1.8 per 36 minutes)
Stated in easy to understand terms, Joel Przybilla has been able to play less than half of his typical number of minutes. During this limited time on the floor, in terms of productivity per minute, Przybilla's rebounding proficiency is off by approximately 20%, his scoring proficiency (such as it was) is down by 23%, and his blocks are down 60%. The turnovers he is committing, on the other hand, are up by 28%.
When Joel says he is "70 or 80%" of the way back, then, what he says is very literally true in terms of statistics, and it entirely dodges the question of his inability to compete for more than very short stints. When #10 hits the floor, Blazer fans are looking at a shadow the guy they saw before his knee injury. Moreover, Pryzzy looks ill at ease, timid, unathletic, and slow on the floor. He is intimidating nobody from scoring.
Not good, not good at all.
Remember now, Przybilla's contract expires at the end of this season, making him an unrestricted free agent following the current campaign. Whereas the $7.4 Million in paychecks Joel is cashing this season would have been regarded as money well spent in previous seasons, particularly if one prices in his intangibles of floor leadership and defensive intimidation, the 10 minutes-per-game post-injury Przybilla looks very costly at the same money.
If Joel seeks a new two year contract (this being on the short end of the range of possibilities) the team obtaining his services will be acquiring a player who is 32 and 33 years old during those seasons — long in the tooth in basketball terms. Anything close to a Mid-Level Exemption offer made to Przybilla at his age and in his current state of physical repair would seem to be a price too dear. If Joel is to be brought back in a manner which makes economic sense, a rational offer would seem to be in the ballpark of $2 to $3 Million per season.
If one accepts this price estimate, can it any longer truly be said that the Blazers face a choice of "Greg Oden OR Joel Przybilla"? Does it not make more sense to concentrate on bringing back the youth and potential of Oden, while tendering a (low) offer to Przybilla as well — and not crying oneself to sleep if the latter is able to land a better gig elsewhere?
That's the way I would play it, anyway...
3. "You Can't Win if You Don't Play..."
The bottom line is this: it is going to take a talented set of Bigs to get past the Los Angeles Lakers — Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom are proven goods, three time consecutive Western Conference Champions. The emergence of LaMarcus Aldridge as LAMONSTER has aided the cause, but even a healthy Marcus Camby isn't sufficient to get the job done. The team MUST have another top level Big.
Portland's options are severely constrained, however. Brandon Roy's contract, untradeable, is a massive millstone around the neck of the franchise. With a Nic Batum contract extension looming and already bumping into the luxury cap line, Portland will be limited to a mid-level exemption free agent player — not nearly enough money to attract a star 7-footer. Nor are Portland's middle-of-the-round draft choices in the 2011 sufficient to snag a baby monster.
If Joel Przybilla is permanently dinged — a reasonable assumption given the nature and severity of his injury — it seems that the dice must be rolled one more time on the health of Greg Oden. Oden remains the one potential franchise-changing factor to which the Blazers have access.
Is a new Oden contract a safe bet? Of course not.
Is it a reasonable bet? Arguably.
But most importantly: it is the only possible bet.
* * *
Marcus Camby gone
"So what else is new?" we sigh
They grind out a win
Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...
Discussion ensues about Tyreke Evans getting suspended a game for doing 120 mph on the highway... A man of Ricey's heart?
MB: "You've had lots of tickets."
Rice: "No, I haven't!"
MB: "...In other states."
Rice: "Well, in other states — yeah. I was young. I'm more mature now."
The Blazers are selling a package called "Hoops and Hops," $31 for tickets and 10 4-ounce beer tasters...
Rice: "I wouldn't make the game!"
A gretty girl in Blazer gear gets some time on camera and Ricey makes approving sounds...
MB: "People come up to you wherever we travel and you're always saying 'Where are you sitting, we'll get you on camera?' and the next time they're in town they say, 'Hey, you never got me on camera.' I think you tell everyone you'll get them on camera..."
Rice: "I do, I do."
Mike Rice, paragon of passivity and moderation...
Rice: "I saw an official the other night who was jumping up an down like he was celebrating, 'That's a foul!' I hate to see that. Just be calm if you're an official, like the announcers."
Blazers 94 at Kings 90. (Overtime)
January 19, 2011.
Blazers' record is now 23-20, the Kings are 9-31.
Too many words...
1. With Marcus Camby injured, Dante Cunningham started at Center (!!!). He hit a jump hook (!!!) for first Portland points. Unfortunately, that was one of the few highlights. The lowlights, they were many, as the Blazers came out like intrepid fertilizer salesmen, shoveling steaming samples of an array of organic guano towards the rim. Three wide open treys clank out and Sacramento jumped out to a 10-2 lead in a horrific open. Nate needed time out after less than four minutes of the farce.
After the time out, Nate inserted Joel at Center, admitting finally that the Small Forwardish Dante Cunningham is probably not his best option in the paint. The Kings were quick to double LMA, but Andre hit a setshot and the Blazer dungwagon began to chug forward at last.
A digression: on my way home I was listening to Wheels and Tone on the pregame and Brian Wheeler, prattling melodically per usual, was talking about the plight of the Sacramento franchise. In the course of his babble, Wheeler called the Maloof Brothers "good owners." Sir — you are full of crap up to your eyeballs. The Maloofs are jackasses. There is nothing wrong with the Sacramento fans and it would be highly irresponsible for the taxpayers of Sactoe to give a handout to those nouveau riche dirtballs in the way you so poignantly advocated. That is all.
Sacramento's defensive scheme was to always double the ball, leaving Andre. This did not prove to be a particularly viable strategy and the Blazers rapidly erased the Kings' lead, catching them at the 4:10 mark , 17-all.
Batum was mechanically subbed out by Nate at the 3:50 mark in favor of Rudy. Rice: "I don't love that substitution... Nic was just starting to get into the groove." Rudy contributed a quick assist, but the Wild One's point seemed well-taken.
Rudy passed out of a wide open trey to a contested Andre baseline shot. Ugh. The Kings went on an 8-0 run. Tyreke Evans scored over a flatfooted Joel Przybilla like he was an inflatable bo-bo doll planted in the key. Ugly. The lead ballooned to 7. Patty Mills ran and clanked and Sacramento held for last shot. Beno Udrih got a clean look from the corner but he clanked it and the Blazers escaped with a minor flesh-wound. END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: SAC 26, PDX 21. Kings, worst team in the Western Conference, were shooting 55%. Good thing the Blazers are defensive monsters, eh? Kings were outrebounding the Blazers 11 to 8 as well. Nice.
2. The 2nd Quarter began with Rudy doing the dribble dribble dribble pull-up J from downtown. Swish. Carl Landry shook his head, unable to do anything about the perfect shot. Pryz with an easy dunk, capped by a Small Forward. Yikes. Portland's defense was consistently terrible, but against a terrible team one can survive these things. At the first TV timeout, Sacramento lead by 3.
Out of the break it was Dante Cunningham back at "Center." We learned that he is probably not the best guy to be checking Samuel Dalembert. LMA hit a couple, which opened up the perimeter a bit, with Rudy hitting a wide open trey to tie the game around the 7:00 mark.
Carl Landry to the line, and the Mikes talk of the arthritis in the knee of this undersized benchwarmer who was obtained by GM Geoff "Buy Me a Brain" Petrie for Kevin Fricking Martin. Daryl Morey = Smart. Sacramento = very, very good team to trade with. BRING US OMRI CASSPI AND JASON THOMPSON, CHO!!!
Pretty much a slop fiesta. Cousins was barking and barking and barking at Pryz about something or another. Cousins is a world class dumbass and is an iron-clad lock make my eagerly anticipated 2011 NBA All Jerks Team. I think he plays the same position as Kevin Garnett though, doesn't he? Screw it, they're both in, I'll work it out.
Cousins plows into Pryz and the latter gets called for an offensive foul away from the ball. Ridiculous. Worst yet, it erased an Andre Miller make that would have made it a 1 point Blazer lead. A couple Kings buckets ensue. Rice: "The Blazers are playing a zone defense and Sacramento is still able to drive the ball up the middle off the weave — they've gotta MOVE THEIR FEET!" True enough.
HALFTIME SCORE: SAC 48, PDX 46. Coulda been worse, Sacramento still shooting 53% at the half. This is one of the worst teams in the NBA, mind you...
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: The Clash "The Magnificent Seven" (live, c. 1981)
3. Andre Miller hits a corner trey. Thank you, Baby Jesus. Portland briefly opened up a 3 point lead, but clankish shooting prevented the Blazers from opening up a little something-something on the flatfooted Kings. MB: Sactoe is 29-for-49 from the free throw line over their last two games.
I do believe we have found a team that shoots worse than the Blazers. The Kings feature a fine flock of certified Clankmasters — moreover, certified Clankmasters that really ENJOY flinging the ball in the general direction of the rim. Blech. I can't believe that I really enjoyed watching a permutation of this crew a year ago. This year's model are downright vomit-inducing... The fact that these schmucks played even with the Blazers has to be regarded as very, very distressing. At the first TV timeout it was Sacramento by a single point.
LMA was really off in this game. Joel drew a charge call on Przybilla and stepped over the prostrate Cousins on the floor. Cousins took offense, testosterone-pumping jackass that he is, Joel giving a wry smile. LMA slapped five with Pryzzy in front of Cousins on the other end of the floor. Portland was 2-for-12 shooting and still up by a point. Suck and suckier or something.
Cousins is borderline psycho on the good days, when his chemicals are more or less in line with anticipated levels; tonight Pryz had him 62 miles off into Early Ron Artest Kookalookaland... He was flinging long Js like he was a gansta Mehmet Okur, it was really quite hilarious and the source of much mirth. If the Blazers possessed a modicum of shooting competence, they would have been up by 15. That's a big IF, obviously, and they were not.
Out of time out, a long LMA jumper clanked off. The teams traded buckets in the paint. Pryz picked up a needless 4th foul at 1:02, unable to elevate for what should have been an easy rebound for him. We had a rare Sean Marks sighting as Joel headed for the bench, the score tied at 63. Nic bricked on the next Blazer possession, Pooh Jeter did likewise for the Kings. Are we noticing a pattern here? Patty Mills got fouled in the paint at 10.6 seconds and drained the pair, but Sacramento had plenty of time for a wraparound pass and a big dunk to tie things up. END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: PDX 63, SAC 63.
4. Well, this game was some kind of mess, wasn't it? With Camby on the shelf and LMA in a funk, with nobody picking up the slack in any appreciable way, the Blazers WERE the Sacramento Kings. Nic was team-high with 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting and Andre chipped in 14, shooting 6-for-13. LMA? He was 3-for-12 for 8 points. Yuck. Wesley was worse, 1-for-6 for 4 points. Not looking promising.
The Kings scored 4 easy points to start the final quarter, but Rudy managed to drop in a longball, keeping Portland in the hunt. At 9:36 Nate reinserted LMA and Andre Miller, Portland down 3 points with the ball. Rudy penetrated and bounced passed to LMA for a jam.
Dante rebounds and throws elbows, hitting Omri Casspi in the chops. Being from a soccer country, Casspi accentuates the contact. Being a tough mofo, Casspi takes offense and both Omri and Dante get rung up with double technicals. The important thing is that the foul gets charged to Dante, and that's as good as a turnover. The Kings are the second worst team in the NBA and they were leading by 3 points with the ball at 8:27. The Kings passed and passed and wound up with a Dalembert dunk and a 5 point lead.
Blazers used their patented Super Genius defense, leaving Beno Udrih wide open at the arch for a trey. First thing you know they were down 7 points to one of the most sad-sack waste of space teams in the entire association. You think this is fun, the Clippers are coming to town and they're gonna put a 30 point beatdown on this bunch of offensively inept, defensively incompetent sluggards. Portland only needs two shooters and a big. Ha ha!
MB talking like Omri Casspi isn't usually capable of putting up the 10 points that he had running. Ummmm, don't watch much NBA, do ya? Portland chipped away, with Nic hitting a trey at one end and taking a charge by Landry on the other. Portland zone defense put the Kings ill at ease. LMA hit a long jumper for a 7-0 run out of the time out and the game was tied at 81 at 3:40.
Evans hit a J to reestablish a 2 point King lead, but LMA jammed a Rudy miss and he had his 10th point of the quarter, 18 for the night — quite a comeback after a terrible start. At the final time out it was tied up, 83-all.
Nate reinserted Joel for the stretch run. Rudy missed an open trey on a set play out of the time out, Casspi missed one of his own on the other end. On the Blazers' end, LMA was long on a hook in the paint and fouled Tyreke fighting for the ensuing rebound. Jason Thomson missed a 18 footer for the Kings, but the Blazers turned it over.
Nic came up with a big block but Portland couldn't convert on the break. In a scramble, Rudy managed to save a loose ball off of Udrih, tweaking his back in the process. It was Blazer ball with 48.5 seconds remaining and the game went to time out for the officials to review the possession.
Blazers burned clock, whipping the ball around out of a double-team on LMA and ending up with a nifty Andre jumper from 12 feet. With just 33 seconds remaining, Portland was up by 2 points and Sacramento Head Coach Paul Westphal needed time out.
LMA reached and fouled Carl Landry at 26.2, sending him to the line to shoot penalty shots. Landry calmly hit the pair, tying the game at 85. Nate called time out to draw up a play and move the ball. Rice predicted that the Kings would let Dalembert cover LMA straight up with no double-team. Rice wanted Wesley for 3. Andre held until the 7 second mark and got the ball to LMA, who missed the 12 foot fadeaway over Dalembert. Omri Casspi rebounded with about 2 seconds left, but in a major brain freeze failed to call time out, instead flinging the ball the length of the court at the rim. It was overtime. END OF REGULATION: PDX 85, SAC 85.
OT. Both teams were 0-and-2 in overtime this season — something had to give. Blazers won the tip. LMA missed a hook but was able to recover his own miss. The ensuing Chinese fire drill ended with an Andre airball. Dalembert got the ball in the paint and put the round thing through the ring for a 2 point Kings lead. On the other end, LMA drove the lane and was fouled, lamarcusing his attempts.
Evans threw up a brick. Andre went for a reverse layup and LMA cleaned up the miss for his 21 and a 1 point Blazer lead. Tyreke Evans took it to the rim, getting fouled by Nic — but he missed the first shot, as he is apt to do. After putting in the second, the game was tied at 88 with 3 minutes of overtime remaining.
LMA hit a long J, putting Portland up by a pair. The Kings once again got the ball into the paint. The ball came loose but Portland couldn't control and out of the out of bounds play Udrih hit to tie it.
Andre hit a jumper for Portland. Casspi drove the lane hard but could not finish. Joel managed to save the rebound and the Kings fouled. Side out was to Portland, 1:25 showing. Portland ran clock, but LMA was unable to score over Dalembert on another baseline fade. The shot was blocked by the big Haitian and the ball was side out to the Kings as the game went to commercial, 1:08 remaining.
Blazers went zone. Casspi shot a nice-looking trey which rattled out, Pryzzy with the rebound. Matthews from the corner, no go. The Kings rebounded the ball but there was no time out. In a wild frenzy the Kings were unable to hit and unable to tip. With bodies flying, Nic came down with the ball and was fouled with 7.6 seconds remaining. Nate inserted Dante for Pryz. Nic hit the pair, making it a two possession game. The Kings called time out.
The ball came in from Evans to Udrih to Green and through his hands out of bounds, DAGGER! A stupid way to lose for a stupid team. The Blazers called time out to move the ball to the friendly end of the court, up 4 with just 4.6 seconds to play in overtime. The Kings fans headed for home. The ball came in to Matthews and the white flag was up, just a 4 point lead in overtime. Compare and contrast to the Wolves pressing the ball to the last second in a loss of twice the margin. Losers!!! I loved watching the Kings last year, this year I just wanna steal their underutilized players (Casspi, Thompson) and flip off the Maloofs...
FINAL SCORE: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 94, SAD SACK KINGS 90. (OVERTIME)
Game ball: Nic Batum — 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting, 1.33 points per shot used (exact methodology).
Joel Przybilla had 11 rebounds in over 29 minutes of game time and was responsible for putting nutball Cousins on the bench with a serious punking...
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Well, here's the LINKETY LINK for Orville's popcorn pix...
A. Wow, Blazers almost lost this sucker midway through the 4th Quarter, when the Kings went on a 10-4 run to take a 7 point lead.
B. The Blazer comeback followed, an 11-2 run in which starters Wesley Matthews (4 points for the night) and Dante Cunningham (6 points for the night) were ensconced on the bench.
C. LMA did a LeBron impression tonight, scoring 8 points in the first 3 quarters and 15 points in the 4th Quarter and Overtime. Who said a team can't use a Big effectively as a crunch-time go-to guy?
D. Nic Batum had a season-high 24 points, LMA made it to 23 after a slow start, Andre added 20, and The Flying Squirrel had 13.
Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?
Here's Wednesday's show, in case you missed it...
The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.
"The Bust" Credits:
Photo Credits: Greg with a Cane: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press. Joel Jumping: David J. Phillip, Associated Press. All images heavily tweaked in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.