No words to mince here: Tyreke Evans cost this Kings team the game with that foul. Would it bother me if it was another player or something of that nature? Not necessarily. But Tyreke Evans should, and always should, know the situation at hand. Mistakes are made, and I know that too. But this kind of mistake in a game where, frankly, these kind of fouls were called all night, and Tyreke looked like the Kings had a foul to give. Just a stupid braindead dumb play by him.
I am beginning to wonder, though, if Tyreke Evans is legally braindead with his ability to showcase quality decision making on a consistent basis. Having said that, let's talk about other things. It's not like Tyreke Evans is one of those players who could actually help his team win games at any point in the future based on his current set of playing behavior.
First, hats off to Isaiah Thomas who had an amazing terrific game that I actually said on Twitter to be the game of his life. I'm not sure if that's the case or not, but if that is indeed the case, there are worse things than that. Thomas had 23 points (8-16 shooting, 3-7 from 3, and 4-5 line), 10 assists and 8 rebounds in 43 minutes. No, that's not a typo. Thomas' defense on Kyrie Irving for nearly the whole game kept Irving from breaking down the defense, and taking the game over for Cleveland. Isaiah Thomas had the kind of 2 way game Tyreke Evans needs to have on a consistent basis. Again, hats off to the young man for the spectacular game.
DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 9 rebounds, another bad shooting night, and what should have been the game winning basket with 3.2 seconds left on a drive to the hoop that put the Kings up 1 at 92-91. Some will point out the difference between Cousins foul that put Alonzo Gee on the foul line and Evans foul to put Kyrie Irving on the line, but I beg to differ. Cousins foul came in a flow of the game where he is known to make those mistakes. Evans' mistake was simply an unforgivable brainfart of epic proportions regardless of what Keith Smart says in his presser. Either way, Cousins turned in a so-so game for him which might be the biggest compliment I can give him.
John Salmons had a quality game tonight even if fans mostly cursed at him for missing the 3 that would have put the Kings up 2 with 12 secs remaining in the game. Still, it was nice to see that John Salmons can contribute to the Kings. That's my main takeaway for him.
Jason Thompson looked effective at times, but didn't play a whole lot after leaving the game in the 3rd qtr due to foul trouble. JT's best stretch was in the 2nd qtr when the Kings were in the back and forth phase of the 2nd qtr.
I liked what Chuck Hayes brought tonight even if it's not flashy. Hayes steadiness is somethign this team desperately needs, and hopefully the All-Star break can provide Hayes that rest he may need to help reinvigorate him for the rest of the season.
Is JJ Hickson completely terrible? No, but Hickson has lost all his confidence and doesn't seem to understand where he needs to be and/or his teammates don't need to get the ball to where Hickson can be effective. Whatever the issue with Hickson is, it's clearly between the ears. If nothing else, that's a common ailment Hickson shares with a few of his teammates.
Jimmer Fredette struggled to get his shot off again tonight. Nothing much more to say to that.
Marcus Thornton provided 21 points and 10 boards, some of the scoring on volume shooting and a hot early stretch to open both the 1st and 3rd qtr's. But the fact that Thornton could provie a reasonable level of production is the point I want to make here. You know what you're going to get. The shots sometimes goes in and sometimes the shots don't fall. With Thornton you know what you are getting. I find that particularly soothing given the difficult and mercurial production of a certain Tyreke one who I will not mention his first name in any way shape or form.
Okay, hitting the home stretch here, the bottom line is that Tyreke's mental midgetry cost the Kings the game after some real up's & downs by the Kings all game. They managed to come back in the 4th qtr after being down 10, the Kings came back to lead at one point 90-88. Yet, Tristan Thompson ties up the game on an offensive rebound. Then, Salmons misses a 3 with 12 seconds left, the Kings get another shot with Cousins and Thornton, Cousins fouls Alonzo Gee (who misses 1 of 2 FT's to put the Cavs up 91-90), Cousins drives around Antawn Jamison (hooking him in the process), and the Kings are up 1. Then Tyreke's mental boner comes into play. Tyreke played like crap, and I often wondered all game if he was determined to screw the Kings at every juncture he was in the game. While I don't actually think that, it sure seemed like that at multiple times all game.
No matter what happens from here, it's beginning to look like the only way the Kings can salvage anything out of this season is if the team hits a home run at the trade deadline. The Kings traded Mike Bibby at the deadline in '08, John Salmons and Brad Miller in '09, Kevin Martin in '10, and Carl Landry in '11. Will Geoff Petrie make a trade? Will it be Tryeke Evans? More and more, it doesn't seem like this team's biggest issue is anything but Evans himself. Until that changes and Tyreke Evans can show that he can be an effective player on a winning team, I'm convinced all Tyreke Evans is capable of is putting up stats to fill the stat sheet and make a few highlight reels. Beyond that though, I'm not convinced that any quality chemistry can be built as long as you protect a selfish loser like Tyreke Evans so often and so quickly as the Kings franchise continues to do.
That's the problem. Everything else is secondary and frankly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. You get a player that can push this team in the right direction and that solves every real problem this team has other than the age factor. That's the bottom line.