OAKLAND - Ok, this was a strange one: the Kings dominated most of the statistical categories tonight in their loss to the Golden State Warriors, except one: turnovers (21 to 8). That will definitely get you beat.
Here are a few other late-night thoughts:
Despite the disappointing record, the Kings have two easily identifiable pieces around whom to build - Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. You can't say the same when you look at the Warriors. They have to be worried about Stephen Curry's recurring ankle problems; he just isn't right. Monta Ellis is an undersized shooting guard, and he wasn't thrilled about being on the bench during the Warriors comeback. David Lee? Very productive, but do you want that contract?
Evans remains an immense talent, an intense competitor, and someone who is truly receptive to coaching and direction. Is he a point guard? Absolutely not. But he is a unique and powerful player, at times a dominating player, and he clearly is responding to Smart's insistence that he pass ahead, play faster, move without the ball, and cease with the one-on-one dribbling displays. And, yes, I continue to believe he can (and should) be a lockdown defender.
Cousins is maturing almost by the minute. He played 36 minutes, scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and engaged in a calm, thoughtful conversation with the refs after he was called for a turnover on the baseline. His conditioning continues to improve, which is a crucial factor as he moves along in his career. Additionally, while he scored on some patient, crafty moves down low, we are seeing him positioned more often at the elbows, where he can face the basket, square up for his feathery jumper or make a one or two-step dribble to the rim.
Geoff Petrie's immediate challenge: Finding players with complementary skill sets to Evans and Cousins. He still needs a floor leader and that small forward who can hit the deep jumper (a la Brandon Rush of the Warriors) and open the inside for Cousins. The lack of dynamic on-court leadership was apparent once again during this latest meltdown.
Jason Thompson quietly is re-emerging as a factor, doing what he should be doing: rebounding, running the floor, providing energy, understanding his role.
Jimmer Fredette is suffering from the rookie blues. He is passing up open shots, trying to penetrate against multiple defenders, and making the game much too hard. He is probably the Kings' best outside shooter. Take the open shot to stretch the floor, and when you aren't open, move without the ball. Of course, he would benefit immensely from the presence of a few more ball movers. Bad habits are contagious. Hope he doesn't go there.
The diminutive Isaiah Thomas has the potential to be a more consistent version of Nate Robinson.
How about guarding the corner three's? Rush converted four of his five attempts. That's what he does.