Sacramento Kings: No tanking here
With the season winding down and several teams jockeying for draft position, better known as trying to lose, the Kings struck back at the notion that they are doing the same, at least for one night. With Isaiah Thomas out again, it was reasonable to think that the Kings were going to continue their losing skid, but Boogie Cousins and Ray McCallum had other ideas as they led the Kings to a 102-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Kings don’t need to tank in their current state, as the team has already proven that they are going to lose more than they win on their own, so it is nice to see them game planning and playing rotations that can lead to wins. At this point, the team isn’t going to get a top-3 pick unless the ping pong balls bounce in their favor, and for future development, it is important that they attack these last eight games as if they were preparing for the playoffs.
I’ve touched on Boogie time and again in this space, so I won’t wax over how dominant he was last night, but my God that was an awesome display he showed!
35 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists with some other passes that led to wide open misses, active defense and several displays of power, athleticism, and grace, sometimes all in the same play, helped drive the Kings to victory. However, it was the play of Ray McCallum that was really fun. Being as the Kings have only one consistent ball handler, IT, there was no way they were going to win a game without him unless Ray stepped in a big way, and I think it’s safe to say that 22 points, 10 assists, and 0 turnovers in 44 minutes is how you step up. The best part was, it was more than just his stats, it was the confidence with which he played, whether shooting or setting teammates up, and how he shouldered so many minutes while elevating his game down the stretch to help keep the Kings in the lead during the 4th. With all this said, I want to see IT in these last eight games because I might not get to watch him on a regular basis after this season.
- Boogie dropped the sickest up-and-under reverse layup I have ever seen by a center in my life. He spun to the baseline, took on the twin shot blockers of Jeff Withey and Anthony Davis, and used the rim to protect and make the shot. This pains me to say as a Kings fan, but for the sake of using a reference from my lifetime, Big Cous looked like a young Kobe on this one. Check out this video at the :12 mark
- It was nice to see Boogie hit a couple of jumpers at the beginning of the game, but not fall in love with it for the rest of the game. Boogie has grown this year, and I feel he has taken another mini leap, just in terms of energy, effort, and smarts over the last 20 games or so.
- Ben McLemore had a decent showing last night, shooting and attacking with confidence, in addition to not getting turned around on defense with regularity. He cooled off as the game went on, but in the first half he was taking and making shots we’ve been wanting him to all year. He even dropped in a nice Euro step and finish on a 1-on-1 fast break while avoiding the flying Withey who was coming from behind for a block.
- I have to touch on the Reggie Evans ejection. First off, its bull s%^t that it is even a flagrant foul. As LeBron said last week when he got called for a flagrant on a similar play, “If I can jump up in the air and elbow someone in the face and finish a play, I must be a kung-fu master.” Well, we know Bron isn’t a kung-fu master so it’s safe to say that Reggie isn’t either. Is it really his fault that Anthony Davis decided to stick his grill right up in Reggie’s face? Uh no, the offense has right of space as well. He simply tried to shoot the ball. Absolutely horrible call. Oh yeah, LeBron got called for a flagrant 1 and Reggie got called for a flagrant 2, so at least the NBA is consistent right.
- Lastly, I want to touch on Anthony Davis. Every time I watch him, he makes a few plays that are downright scary for a 21-year-old. I love DeMarcus and think he can be a cornerstone for a very good team, but Davis is even better. He is simply amazing to watch that every time I try and think of a comparison I feel bad because I’m leaving something of his game out. If (As) he develops a post-game or a better shot and continues to grow as a defender, mainly in the pick and roll, look out NBA. He kindly welcomed Jared Cunningham to the Kings by volleyball spiking his first shot, a floater, past half-court.