This is going to be short because A) I don't think I can offer anything the boxscore can't tell you, and B) I don't feel like writing a whole lot.
What sticks out to me is the following:
- Cousins playing 38 minutes and grabbing 8 boards (7 defensive) in the 4th qtr. That really matters. The most impressive stat is Cousins 2 fouls in 38 minutes. That really really matters.
- With 9:31 remaining in the 4th qtr, Tyreke Evans hit a left handed layup. *
- 9 total Turnovers for the Kings. 11 total turnovers for the Hornets. I'll take that every time.
- Kings shot 47%. That's a good start, but against the Hornets? It means little unfortunately. The NBA, like most things, is a "put up or shutup" league. The Kings allowed 42% from the field tonight which is primarily where the difference in scoring came in. Also, shooting 8-24 from 3 (for 24 total points) vs the Hornets going 3-9 from 3 (for 9 total points) is the biggest reason the Kings won so handily.
- Right now it's clear that there is at least a 7 man rotation with the way Keith Smart is distributing minutes. The starters + Chuck Hayes + Isaiah Thomas. There are at least 2, if not 3, spots up for grabs, and who grabs them and how quickly might determine the season the Kings end up having.
- Jimmer still needs quite a bit of work, obviously defensively, and from the minutes I saw (what I saw of the 1st half) Jimmer starting to figure out something of a rhythm tonight. 10 minutes isn't a whole lot for a 10th overall pick, but I'll take it. It's a real start for Jimmer. This Kings team absolutely needs an offensive player off the bench, and Jimmer certainly fits that bill IMO. Can Jimmer grab the brass ring? We'll see over the remaining 42 games.
- The Kings are 9-15, and 3-11 on the road (6-4 home). With 7 of the 9 next games on the road (which leads up to the AS break), that will finish the league's most brutal 1st half schedule. The good news is that tonight (win), tomorrow, @ New York, @ Detroit, @ Cleveland and @ Washington all represent very winnable games on the 6 game road trip leading up to the All-Star break.
- Thornton's 3 with 3:30 to go was really important. Evans layup to put the Kings up 5 was really important.
- The biggest shot of the game was probably Isaiah Thomas' 3 with 4:58 remaining in part because it happened with a defender in his face and with the shot clock running down. It put the Kings up 84-82 and they would never be trailing again. (There were several ties over the next minute and change though.)
The more "glamorous" shot was the pass by Evans that is nearly picked off and then recovered by Isaiah Thomas who hits a 3 with 2:15 remaining. That sunk the Hornets.
Demz da breakz as they say.
As far as Thomas goes, what impresses me most is A) the defense against Vasquez, B) the willingness to take big shots without fear, C) the passing and assists, and D) the 5 boards. Isaiah Thomas is clearly the 3rd best G right now, and, in my opinion anyway, that says a lot about how talented Isaiah Thomas is. Nothing he is doing is well above and beyond his capability. Hopefully the young man keeps it up.
Bottom line? You can't win games you don't play. The Kings played just enough at the right times with a few excellent performances to pull out a victory against the Western Conference's worst team on the road. Nothing to write home about, but that's the way it goes. Beating the Hornets is something you do if you want to be a 500 team.
Tomorrow Minnesota with the opportunity of (gasp in delight...) winning 4 games? Can the Kings take advantage of Kevin Love's absence? Stay tuned....