Forgive me for these ridiculous words masquerading as a preview, but that's the way it is.
Clippers are better than the Kings, but they lost to the Wolves Tuesday night so that's....something. I'm not sure what it means for the Kings though. The Clippers for what's it wroth are 8-7 on the road (as opposed to 12-5 at Staples) and the Kings are at 8-5 at the artist formerly known as the scamming wristband. (This is known as foreshadowning.)
On a real note, I am excited to see what kind of response the Kings come out with against a top tier team like the Clippers (I'd argue they are top 3 in the West after Oklahoma City and San Antonio).
The Kings Pace is 93.6 possesions per game (3rd of 30), the ORtg is 100.5 points per 100 possessions (24th of 30) and the DRtg is 108.5 points per 100 possesions (28th of 30). Lob City's Pace is 89.8 possesions per game (23rd of 30), the ORtg is 108.0 points per 100 possessions (3rd of 30) and the DRtg is 105.5 points per 100 possessions (21st of 30).
Opponents Required Reading.
Some post game thoughts from the Clippers Blog crew after the loss to the Wolves Tuesday Night.
Chris Paul the movie star? I don't know know if I see movie star, but I know basketball superstar slash franchise player is there for Chris Paul right now. It's kind of like the same thing isn't it?
In case you have heard of the "Clipper Darrell" scandal, read Steve Perrin's take on it. It's excellent as per usual.
Kings required reading
As all things with me, this will be a regurgitation of things you have probably already seen. But that's what I do here at EC. I regurgitate, you throw up, and your toilet throws a party with puke all over it. Awesomeness all the way around.
Dale Kasler, Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis (the Bee's holy trinity of political reporters) talk about the deal the new Kings arena is coming with. As does Rob McAllister of KFBK (and Cowbell Kingdom). You probably have already seen this, but in case you haven't read it. I almost finished a post last night about the arena, but I'm probably going to wait until tomorrow to post all my thoughts.
Marcus Thornton cares about winning first and foremost. Or says the excellent piece by Jason Jones in today's Bee. (That's your cue for "click link and read assiduously like wolverines.)
Cowbell Kingdom's Jon Santiago'scoverage of practice in Kingsland yesterday.
Ailene Voisin did a chat with some "fans" at the Bee yesterday. There are a few knuckleheads running around there I swear. Kind of like here, but I can't kick me out. (That's a nice synergy yeah?)
Bryan Rosa at A Royal Pain does an Isaiah Thomas report card. Bryan also addressed an ESPN report by Bradford Doolittle (of Basketball Prospectus fame) of a possible trade for Rajon Rondo. (Excuse me, I'm in the hospital writing this after setting myself on fire. I'll be back in 3 or 4 years when the burn marks subside.) In case you are not familiar with why I despise Rajon Rondo, well, read this.
I linked to this already on Tuesday night, but my piece at TheProBasketballTalk (the NBA site I've recently begun writing for) regarding the history of the arena issue and why it so's complicated to get an arena built in Sacramento is still up. Please read it if you have not. Strangely enough, I felt that if there is a real problem with it, it's that I didn't connect the dots enough.
Stathead Final Thoughts
You've heard me say the "T" word before. This means trend. Let's talk ORtg to DRtg yet again.
Right now Jason Thompsom (110 ORtg to 109 DRtg) and Isaiah Thomas (112 ORtg to 111 DRtg) are the only 2 players with a positive differential between ORtg and DRtg. DeMarcus Cousins is close (101 ORtg to 103 DRtg), and Chuck Hayes has a career positive differential that may actually appear with a strong Kings showing in the 2nd half.
As far as TS% goes, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Jason Thompson are the only Kings players over 52% in TS%. That has to change if the Kings are to get better offensively. That said, because Thomas and Thornton are quality FT shooters who are getting to the line, it's possible that their TS% will rise. JT"s FT% was the biggest sinker of his TS% early on in the season, but now JT"s FT% is actually at 55.8% which isn't nearly as bad as 37%. (And well below JT's career FT% of 66.5%.)
On a team DRB% alert, the Kings are now over 70% for the first time in awhile. Let's hope that percentage keeps climbing. Sacramento, believe it or not, is also in the top 10 in the NBA in FT/FG% meaning that the Kings foul below the league average rate of FT's to FG attempts. (This is a good thing.) This is sort of remarkable given that DeMarcus Cousins is still a foul machine.
One last note: DeMarcus Cousins is again leading the NBA in personal fouls. But there is a large difference between this season and last season: DeMarcus Cousins committed 332 PF's in 81 games as a rookie but just as importantly was 58 of the next highest fellow who happened to be Amare Stoudemire at 274 PF's committed. This year Amir Johnson is 2nd in PF's (he was in the top 10 a season ago) is only 11 behind Cousins. Sot here is progress in terms of fouling by Cousins even if it still means he's leading the league in PF's. The truth is that as a big Cousins will always be in the top 10 (most likely) in Personal Fouls committed a lot of years if he is in the game. It's not the amount of fouls that concerns me with Cuz: It's the type of fouls that Cuz commits which is concering. If they are defending the basket and keep easy layup's from happening, that is a big's job after all to protect the paint. Big's pick up fouls due to their proximity to the rim. Get used to this as Cuz's career moves forward.
As the Lob City Clippers come into town tonight, I'm interested to see how Tyreke Evans defends against the Clippers tonight. I'm also interested to see if Keith Smart attempts to use John Salmons on Chris Paul to slow him down for long stretches. It worked against Monta Ellis, and while Ellis is not Chris Paul, if Salmons can defend Paul effectively it might give the Kings a shot to win assuming the other guys are going well at the time. We'll see though. Nothing is guaranteed in life, and tonight is no exception.
Also, tonight is the start of a 4 game in 5 night stretch for the Kings. Tonight Lob City, tomorrow La-La Lakers land, Sunday in the Valley of the Sun and Monday in the Mile High city rebranding itself as Denver Colorado. Even though the Kings have played a lot on the road lately, the flip side to that coin is that once these 3 road games passes, the Kings will have 19 home games (including 10 in a row immediately after this 4 game in 5 night stretch starting next Wednesday) left and 9 road games left. Yes please. I wanna see how some significant home cooking can get this team on track.
I for one am hoping for a 19-14 2nd half so the Kings can win 30 games. That would A) give Keith Smart a chance to stick around as a head coach (the job he's done up to this point has exceeded my expectations by a considerable lot), and B) start the culture change that has been long overdue in the EC.
Tonight. 7pm. Comcast CA. Be there or be Lob City'd. (See what I did there?)