Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

November 8, 2008
...and cleaning up the mess

Don't let the above ellipses confuse you. It's a continuation of the blog headline from just a week ago that began "Taking out the garbage."

A week later, they've picked things up a bit around here. Friday night's win over Minnesota was yet another step away from the box full of dynamite. As I alluded to before, a loss to Memphis in the home opener may have been the spark that lit the fuse. And the more folks I chatted with after the fact, that assertion was supported many times over.

Now it's a a 2-4 record with a real chance of breaking even by the end of the homestand. It's Golden State at Arco on Sunday and the possibility of upsetting an evolving Detroit team on Tuesday. For the extra-greedy, it doesn't get better than the struggling Clippers on Wednesday as a candidate for first road win.

A few late-night observations that wouldn't fit in print...

MARTIN ON THE BALL

If we're a family newspaper - and we are - then this is a family blog. And with that standard set, Mikki Moore's description of Kevin Martin's grit in this game just can't be recounted verbatim.

But anyone who knows how bad Martin's ankle was and what it took to play could guess what word came after "brass..." Martin clearly didn't have the lift or the efficiency of his normal game (9 of 23 shooting), but his mere presence and what it meant to the entire team is something that couldn't be found on the stat sheet. Asked where this game ranked in terms of games played in which his body was pleading with him to head for the bench, Martin said this was the most extreme case.

"It's No. 1 because I didn't get much time to rest," said Martin, who sprained the ankle in Wednesday's game.

Kings coach Reggie Theus credited Martin for playing through pain as well.

"That's part of the leadership we need from Kevin," Theus said.

Moore told a funny story about Martin from after the win over Memphis, when Martin apparently went around the locker room spraying his teammates and himself with Lysol. When Moore asked him what he was doing, he said, "We all had a funk all over us after that road trip. I'm just trying to get the funk off."

J.T. AND P.T.

It's only one game, but Jason Thompson somehow went from the guy who so many felt should have been starting to the fourth guy off the bench.

The rookie forward who entered averaging 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 24.2 minutes while shooting 58.8 percent didn't enter play until the start of the second quarter. He finished with just 11 minutes, with Theus saying afterward he thought Thompson "played a little bit tired tonight for the first time."

Theus also mentioned that Thompson - who played just seven minutes in the first three quarters - may have been a bit under the weather since his voice apparently wasn't working at practice. Thompson, however, said it was just byproduct of "different cities and different climates" and was no more than a case of the sniffles. He didn't seem to agree that he played tired.

Needless to say, the handling of those minutes matters for reasons beyond that particular night's game. The phrase "youth movement" doesn't refer to the team's young talent rotating seats on the bench.

"The positive (with Brad Miller back) is that we've got bigs who we can start to find who's playing well and just go with that guy," he said. "We're not just playing guys just because. We're going to play guys who are playing well at that time and keep trying to run them in and out of the game. Keep in mind that Spencer (Hawes) and Jason had been playing pretty good, and (you) don't know really want to mess up their rhythm either."

Final thoughts...

* The entire point guard stable is coming around at once. Beno Udrih hit 6 of 11 shots for 15 points, and he may have only had one assist but he had no turnovers. Bobby Brown hit 3 of 6 for eight points and had two assists, while Bobby Jackson hit 2 of 4 and pitched in two assists.

For all the theories out there that Udrih had been hurt, he told me after the Memphis game that he feels better physically than he did at any point last season. The hip, Udrih said, isn't bothering him. He has energy, pep, and - until tonight - everything but the play to prove it.

* Kevin Martin and John Salmons are slowly improving their chemistry, and a tale told by Martin reflected that reality.

After Martin saw Salmons locking up Mike Miller, he said he went out of his way to suggest to Theus that he run a play for Salmons. In essence, he recognized the defensive impact and knew Salmons would appreciate it if they called his number on the other end.

* Kings gave up a season-low 10 turnovers, with just three in the second half. I'll look that up tomorrow, but the combination of 24 assists and 10 turnovers may be the best in that category in the Theus coaching era.

* Hawes spent much of the summer talking about his new-and-improved hook shots, but he finally showcased it against Minnesota. He dropped a swooping right-handed hook and one with his left hand as well. He also hit one of two three-pointers, meaning his league-leading three-point percentage of 85.7 took quite a hit. He had hit six of seven threes coming in, which is completely normal for a 7-foot center of course.

* The gas tank was almost half empty tonight, as the home opener crowd of 13,685 was down to 10,592 in home game No. 2. I'm curious to see how many Warriors fans bring the number up on Sunday night. - Sam Amick



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