It’s a game of runs. That’s what we always hear when you’ve got two high-scoring teams trying to duke it out with each other. It’s almost guaranteed that someone will make a run, especially when they’re down double digits.
It’s a theory that has seeped into every NBA game over the past decade or so, whether the two teams are good, bad or the other. There is always a run to be made for one last shot at getting into a game or running away with a game. Monday’s game against the Grizzlies couldn’t have been a better example of runs determining the outcome of the game.
First, there was the second quarter run the Grizzlies made to get back into the game after the Kings made a big run of their own. The Kings went on a 16-0 run early into the second quarter. It was sparked by Carl Landry (seven points in the run) and Beno Udrih (four points, three assists) who picked apart the Grizzlies defense while the Kings forced Memphis into a lot of missed jumpers and challenged shots around the rim. Kings pushed the lead to 14 and looked like they’d run away with this home game.
But the Grizz countered by bringing in a smaller, quicker lineup (they took Thabeet out). They ran Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph as the big guys inside and were able to match up with the Kings’ quickness in the paint. Instead of going another five-and-a-half minutes without scoring, the Grizzlies got aggressive and took it to the basket. They challenged the Kings’ often-weak interior defense and made their comeback through attacking the paint. In their 17-4 run to close out the quarter, the Grizzlies scored 12 of the 17 points by either going to the free throw line or getting baskets inside. The Kings started settling for jumpers and couldn’t convert.
Then the second half of this game came and the Kings just didn’t show up after halftime. Memphis used a 17-8 run to control the start of the second half and finished off the game on an 18-2 run that completely took the Kings out. The problem was the Kings settled for a lot of jumpers and couldn’t knock one down to save their victory. According to HoopData.com, the Kings shot 11/43 from 16 feet and beyond in this game. That’s 25.6% on their outside jumpers, which last I checked was not very good.
The Kings just couldn’t score and were dominated in nearly every facet of the game. Here are the second half stats:
- Kings shot 13/41 (31.7%) from the field. Grizzlies shot 19/41 (46%).
- Kings made 1/9 (11%) from three. Grizzlies made 5/8 (62.5%) on their three-pointers.
- Kings got to the free throw line nine times. Grizzlies had 14 attempts in the third quarter alone (19 in second half total).
- Kings outrebounded 27-22 in second half.
- Grizzlies had 11 assists in the second half while the Kings had just 13 made baskets (7 assisted).
- Kings had nine turnovers in the second half to the Grizzlies seven.
- Kings committed 13 fouls in the second half to the Grizzlies’ five.
As bad as the second half was for the Kings (just 33 points total), it still wasn’t decided until the final run of the game by the Grizzlies. Memphis closed out this contest on an 18-2 run over the final 5:13 of the game. They executed their offense really well and forced the Kings into quick jumpers that never fell. The Kings took just three shots inside in the final five minutes of the game with two of them coming off of offensive boards (a tip and a dunk). That’s it. The Kings were kept on the perimeter.
And that’s where you really miss Tyreke Evans. Beno did a great job of getting guys involved and imposing his Slovenian will on the other team throughout the last two games. But without Evans, you don’t have that constant threat to drive the lane and make chaos a staple of the night. Instead, you have perimeter scorers who are not conditioned to be aggressive. That’s what killed the Kings last night – too much settling, not enough initiating.
Final Game Notes
- Hasheem Thabeet is not as bad as you think. The guy can definitely protect the rim and could end up being a decent presence inside on both ends of the floor. He’s a quicker jumper than I expected and is learning the game slowly. Is he ever going to be an All-Star or justify such a high pick? No, most likely not. But he CAN play.
- With 11 games to go in the season, Zach Randolph set the Grizzlies single-season rebounding mark with 831 rebounds. I don’t know if that says more about the history of the Grizzlies or the season that Z-Bo is having.
- Beno has 27 assists in the last two games and the Kings have a .500 record in those games. Clearly, it’s time to get this Tyreke bum out of town.
- Omri’s numbers haven’t been great over this latest stretch of games but the energy is definitely getting back for him. He’s a lot more active and he’s making things happen on the floor. He’s quick to the boards too. Just needs to get that shot to fall again. I think concerns of him sleeping in front of the rookie wall are now over. He’s awake and ready for action.