10.20.2017 – Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks

1st Quarter

  • DSJ is out for this game because he tried to dunk over three guys 6 feet away from the rim, and will be out for the Houston game tonight. That should give him lots of time for coaching on when exactly it’s okay to launch your body into the air.
  • JJ Barea starts for DSJ, and Yogi is cut so that Noel and Dirk can both start. I wonder if this shows that Carlisle has decided that the “Dirk at center” experiment lasted all of one game, or that he’s just trying to get the best players on the court with all the injuries the team is dealing with. It would also be understandable if putting Dirk at center is intended to open up the floor for DSJ’s benefit, and with him out they run out a more conventional lineup. Regardless, the offense looks better with JJ at the point, simply because JJ has been running this system for years. I don’t think the best version of this team has DSJ on the floor, but he still needs all the minutes he can get.
  • Noel gets a dunk when a good pass to the weak side allows Wes to find Noel near the rim. Sharing is caring.
  • Powell subs in at PF, our first look at him at the 4 this season. If his shot making becomes consistent it could work out, but going 1-5 tonight isn’t helping that case. He’s a decent screener, especially off ball, which is nice when the Mavs actually run their sets which usually involve both bigs.
  • Mejri has a great block on a floater in the lane that he barely got his fingers on, one of many great blocks by Dallas tonight.

2nd Quarter

  • Meet Gian Clavell, getting his first minutes in the NBA. His only basket on the night is a corner three, which was cool to watch, because it is almost certainly the greatest moment of his life to this point.
  • Vince Carter is still balling hard at 40. I’m pretty sure it’s because he isn’t going at the opposing team, but the specter of father time, who is following him around like Mr. Robot. If you’ve hit a game winning shot in the playoffs as a Maverick, I’ll always root for you.
  • Sacramento’s defense loves to sacrifice weak side defense so that the big defending the screener can double the ball handler. In the first half Dallas was doing a decent job of exploiting it, but only decent. It was amusing watching Koufos repeatedly leave his man with reckless abandon. One look that caught my eye was Finney getting double teamed on a drive, at the expense of leaving Dirk wide open. Dirk missed the mid-range shot (I don’t know if I can emotionally handle Dirk becoming the player that defenders decide they don’t need to cover).
  • Speaking of DFS, he shot well this game. If he can elevate his perimeter shooting from a Rajon Rondo “Oh god why is this happening” to a Shawn Marion “well I hope this goes in” his value will skyrocket.
  • Shoutouts to all the roll people out there. A sweet roll with butter is untouchable; biscuits are a dry, crumbly chore.

3rd Quarter

  • Look at the graph from halfway through the 2nd to the end of the 3rd. That’s 18 minutes of terrible basketball; our ball movement disappeared as everybody just started taking turns trying to make something happen, and the Kings remembered they are professional basketball players who know how to hit open jump shots. Rebounding issues are going to be a common refrain this season, and even bad teams will be able to hang around if they have big dudes under the basket.
  • Speaking of Z-Bo, he’s so fun to watch on the block. He needs to break bad again. Not criminal bad, but I wouldn’t mind a technical every couple of games from him.
  • Watching the Kings, you can understand why, if you have a great player on a terrible team, just go ahead and eat the loss and get some value for that player. I don’t know if the Ewing Theory (Bill Simmons’ theory that a team improves when you remove their best player) applies here; the Kings aren’t “better” without Boogie, but if I was a Kings fan I would enjoy watching this team more, with a lot of young players growing into something cohesive.
  • Mejri ends the quarter with two great defensive plays. Unfortunately the first ended with a terrible call that allowed Sacramento to keep possession, and the second ended with a somehow successful three by Hield after a harsh hedge by Mejri.

4th Quarter

  • I wish we’d gotten more of a show from Fox. His hair is worth the price of admission. I was low key hoping he’d have a great game, he’s not going to get many guard matchups as favorable as he will against Dallas. I don’t think we even really got to see him in transition just to watch how fast he is.
  • I guess this was the George Hill game? 9-12, 3-3 from deep. We really can’t slow down anybody who’s been in the league long enough to find and exploit the holes in our defense. That doesn’t bode well for when we play teams who have players better than George Hill and Marco Belinelli.
  • Too many missed shots, too many extra possessions for the Kings. I’m ready for Curry to come back (or DSJ to come back so we can at least fall with style).
  • Queue it up

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