Well, I think it's safe to say this wasn't the start to the stretch run we were looking for. If this were earlier in the season I think Nate would be calling a three-hour practice about now. I don't know if he'd dare risk it though. Maybe if Brandon was excused.
--This looked like a game between two teams that couldn't defend, which is far more distressing for the Blazers than the Kings because...well...the Blazers are supposed to be able to defend a little. My exhaustive research tells me that this is approximately the nine-billionth game in a row we've let the opponent shoot near 50%. Granted we shot decently ourselves and our offense looked good at times, but the thing about relying on offense alone is you have to bring it every...single...quarter. That's devilishly hard for a young group to do. Our response to the Kings tonight was to try to outscore them. One 14-point quarter (the third for those who weren't paying attention) was enough to turn that plan into so much toilet tissue. They scored on us from the perimeter, on the run, and worst of all inside over and over again through Ron Artest. Artest looked like he completely broke the Kings' offensive game plan (like the selfish sack of...ummm...sugar beets he is) but it didn't matter because he abused us for 24 points on 10-19 shooting. We had no answer for his quickness and power. Long story short if we do not either: A. Tighten up and re-commit to our individual defense or... B. Come up with some nifty, new schemes that the opponent isn't prepared for we're going to have a hard time in the next couple of months.
--The Kings outscored us by 10 in the paint. That's not good.
--The Kings hustled more than we did and played tougher than we did. That's REALLY not good. They're way closer to Steve Buscemi than Michael Madsen on the toughness scale.
--The Kings rebounded better than we did. Again, not good.
--We mentioned above that our offense looked good at times but at other times our shot selection was unbelievably ugly. If beautiful offense could be described in terms of erotic cakes we showed up with a big ol' bran muffin in that third quarter.
--The Kings drew more foul shots than we did. Also once again we shot a horrible percentage from the line. (10-16, 62.5%) That's the kind of thing that just pulls the rug out from under you. It also makes you pull your hair out as a fan (and I'm sure as a coach) because there's little reason for it.
--On the bright side we did continue to share the ball, we got more running opportunities than we usually do, and we had some bright individual performances. That wasn't near enough to balance all of the other shortcomings though. And that's why we lost to a somewhat discombobulated Sacramento squad at home.
--The Mikes reminded us several times that Brandon Roy was under the weather. He looked it a little. He had some sterling moments but his timing was off. He ended up with 11 points on 5-18 shooting with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. He needed more rest than he got over the weekend, I'm sure.
--Lamarcus Aldridge had a strange game where he'd assert himself and then disappear. He shot 5-11 for 12 points. (I feel safe saying any game where Brandon scores 11 and Lamarcus scores 12 we lose.) He played a pretty nice defensive game but also collected 5 fouls. I want his offense to look more consistent though.
--Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw really tried to take up the slack in this game and both did well. The Web-Slinger broke out of his recent doldrums to the tune of 18 points on 6-10 shooting, 4-7 from three-point land. Super Trout busted out 23 and made the Kings look like they had no answer. His 11-18 shooting was phenomenal. I'm tempted to continue the above-mentioned comparison to erotic baking here but I better not. Let's just say they were plenty good.
--Joel Przybilla and Channing Frye both game it a good go. Joel beat up the Kings for the 19 minutes he was out there. He was a rebounding stalwart and had a couple of lovely help-side blocks tonight. Unfortunately the Kings were doing major damage with Artest and Martin. He can't really help much on either. Channing had a really nice offensive game.
--Jarrett Jack was one of the only guys besides Joel banging out there. He also had 11 assists. To the extend the offense worked it was in large part due to him on this night when Brandon was under-performing. Unfortunately he couldn't carry us all the way by making his shots. He scored 9, 5 of them off of free throws. 2-11 was hard to watch on a night we needed shots. I'd love to see this game combined with one of his better shooting nights.
--Steve Blake got way more aggressive on his shot tonight. I like that moxie. When he's able to hit the stop-and-pop jumper he becomes much more dangerous.
One-Sentence Game Summary:
Thank heaven for the Sonics.