LAS VEGAS - So I played the part of a scout for the early part of the first half, charting the Kings' offensive possesions to assess the status of their heavily-promoted up-tempo game.
The Amick system included 'H' for half-court sets, 'F' for fast breaks and a '2' for secondary breaks. I made it to 15 possesions, with 11 'H's and just one true break. In part because of rapidly-decreasing interest and also because of juggling other job duties, I stopped after that. But needless to say, the run-and-gun game Kings coach Reggie Theus hopes to implement still has a ways to go.
"We're not there yet," Theus said after the Lakers' 94-89 win. "I really want to get it up the court. Not necessarily get up the court and shoot it, but get it up the court. That's when I think we're going to have the best opportunity to get the movement without me calling plays. That's my goal."
Count Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin among the most ardent supporters of the plan. While he played just 15 minutes, he spent much of it pleading for the tempo to pick up. On one particular possession, he ran the left side of the floor waiting for a pass-ahead from point guard Beno Udrih. When it didn't come, he mentioned to Udrih twice that he wanted the ball to come.
It was one of quite a few signs on this night that the players on this squad won't be afraid to speak their respective minds for the greater good. In one second-half sequence, a Udrih pass was stolen on the left elbow when Jason Thompson didn't step up to meet the ball. Udrih stood frozen in frustration while the Lakers went on the break, leading Francisco Garcia to just about rush the floor and shove him back on transition defense while expressing his own frustration with the coaching staff. By the time Garcia and Udrih talked, the swingman took the more-tempered route and a message had been sent.
Sights and sounds
* I'm being a bit redundant here, but Floyd Mayweather's rantings are burned on my brain because he was just about 4 1/2 feet behind my ears.
He was talking trash to the Kings all night, giving more grief to John Salmons than the rest. Mayweather said he knows point guard Bobby Brown, although I didn't get the backstory on their connection. So while he repeatedly encouraged the rookie point guard, he wasn't so friendly with the group as a whole.
"(With) how your rookies are playing, I could get in there," Mayweather yelled.
Another heckle, coming just after the Kings broke a timeout huddle with some sort of rally cry: "Screaming teamwork don't win games!"
I'm new to the world of phones with cameras, so I may include random shots on the blog just because I can.
Below we have Las Vegas residents and Magdalena Reljic, 18, and her sister Vidosava Reljic, 16, Kings super fans who remain passionate despite watching their favorite players go. They are from Serbia, meaning the original link to the Kings came because of Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. Then, according to Magdalena, Mike Bibby became the favorite because he had played with Divac and Stojakovic. Now? Magdalena claims Kevin Martin (hence the jersey) and Vidosava is a giddy Quincy Douby fanatic (hence the Douby facepaint). They were the exception in the crowd, as the Lakers fans dominated the place.
- Sam Amick