Sacramento 92 (0–2) | New Orleans 97 (1–1)
It would have been nice to win this one by a larger margin but a W is a W, especially after the Spurs dismantled us to start the season a couple days ago.
The Kings started strong (and we started weak), and held the edge in points for most of the first quarter. After the Hornet's first lead (with about 3 minutes to go in the first), the lead jumped back and forth with no team ever leading by more than 7. Our 5 point margin of victory was actually the biggest lead we had all night.
The Hornets were able to put this one away thanks largely to their efficient shooting (45.5% from the field) and their ability to get to the line (26 of 32 from the stripe compared to Sac's 13 of 20).That aggression down low led to a 40 to 30 advantage for points in the paint. The Kings, despite way out rebounding us on both ends of the court, were ultimately undone by their inability to hit any manner of shots (poor percentages across the board).
There's a lot of talent on this Hornet team and, frankly, I like the way things are shaping up for us, but I also think it's going to take some time before we find out sea legs. The guys are still getting used to playing with each other and it was pretty evident that we haven't quite adapted to this new zone defense. It'll be interesting to see what happens when we start firing on all cylinders.
Bullets after the jump.
- CP and DX now have captain's patches. Nice. Curry said it was the first time he'd seen the patch since P.J. Brown was around.
- CP3: What was that? Thank god he went 14 of 15 from the stripe because he was having some kinda trouble finding a rhythm in the field. The pull up jumpers, the smooth finger rolls, and the usual fair of circus-worthy and-ones just weren't finding their way in. Focus on the 31 points because if you venture down the line you'll see the 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. Oof.
- DX: Low point totals (he too was missing open shots he normally knocks down), but a 13 point, 8 rebound, 3 steal, 2 block night is always welcome. Plus, the Kings came down hard on him and, despite not getting the calls (he went to the line 4 times), he refused to be his normal whiny self.
- Emeka: Holy crap, I'm so glad we got this guy. He's an absolute beast. he only finished with 11 points, but he grabbed 13 boards, blocked 3 shots (including the one that iced the win), and stole the ball once just to prove he could. I mean, the guy's got post moves, he fights for rebounds. What's not to love? Welcome aboard, Mek (I'm told that's his nickname). Nice to have you playing the 5.
- JuJu: Though he finished well, Julian started the game a little erratic. It's like we still haven't totally reigned in his potential, which is really frustrating since it's hard to describe someone who's been in the league for more than 2 years as "raw." Then again, he's 22 years old (crazy, right?). 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists is a step in the right direction for JuJu, but I think he can do more.
- The Rest of the Team: Nothing terribly notable. Peja drained a couple of treys for 10 points off the bench, Hilton and Bobby Brown couldn't buy a bucket, and Songalia (despite decent contributions) found a way to turn the ball over 3 times in 13 minutes. Bench needs a shot in the arm, but that seems like old news.
- Byron: Great job resting CP. He and DX each played around 36 minutes, which is nice considering CP averaged over 40 a game last season. Only knock on Byron was not giving Collison a look despite Bobby Brown's lackluster showing.
- CP is still look for his first steal of the season. DX had 3 steals tonight.
- The Kings: not a bad showing from a group I assumed to be much worse than they apparently are. Frankly, we're a tad lucky they shot as poorly as they did (37.5% from the field, 29,2% from beyond the arc, and 65% from the stripe) because they out-rebounded us to the tune of 52 to 43 (with a 21 to 10 showing on the offensive boards). Couple of thoughts on their guys...
- Kevin Martin: Slow your roll, son. 9 for 29 from the field? Jeezum, let someone else try. Poor form to the coach that's green-lighting a guy who finishes 2 of 10 from 3 point land.
- Jason Thompson: Bad shooting night (4 of 16 for 9 points), but his 12 boards and 6 assists were impressive. He's one to watch for when he puts it all together.
Tyreke Evans: This guy is good. Very impressive and (I hate to say stuff like this but) he's got quite a bit of gumption. He gave 110% and it showed. 22 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and he got to the line 8 times. It'd be nice for him to up that assist total in the future, but he looks pretty darn good already.
Composed to: "The Freaks Come Out at Night" by Whodini
The Opponents Take: Sactown Royalty