Game 37 Recap – Magic 109, Kings 88

I don’t really know what there is to say about this game.

Remember the Dwyane Wade commercial with him driving to the basket? He’s going through his thought process of what to do in the form of two different personalities on his shoulders giving him advice?

Yep, that’s the one! Okay, the nerdy Dwyane is advising a jump shot while the rougher Dwyane is demanding a poster. Nerdy Dwyane sees Paul Davis in the lane and says, “that’s a large man, Dwyane.” And he was talking about PAUL FREAKING DAVIS! Imagine Dwight Howard standing in the middle of the lane. He must look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

And that’s basically what he was in this game. He was a creature that a mere mortal wasn’t capable of handling. I actually liked the Kings plan to defend him. They bodied him up early, fouled when the position was too deep and perfect for him and made him use post moves instead of pure, brute strength. They put him on the free throw line and made him make them. The double teams were good and by the correct personal. They had Ime Udoka come down and swipe at the ball after the first dribble. Other guys did the same. The problem was that none of it worked. Dwight Howard did what he’s supposed to do.

Sure, Spencer Hawes got eaten alive by Dwight. Jason Thompson got eaten alive by Dwight. But they’re supposed to get eaten alive by the big man in Orlando. So you can live with it as long as you stop their three-point shooting.

Well, the Kings also did a good job of doing that too. Orlando was just 8/27 from three. The problem was Orlando often didn’t settle for the three (which sounds odd considering they attempted 27 of them, right?). They drove the ball to the basket a lot. And they scored inside a lot. It wasn’t just Dwight, either. He was 9/12 inside of 10 feet but the rest of the team was very efficient too at 17/22 inside 10 feet. That’s really good. They simply were too quick for the Kings’ defenders when they needed stops.

However, while all of those things seem pretty damning, the entire problem with this game was the offense in the fourth quarter. Yes, the defense was bad in giving up 33 points but a lot of that was predicated by the fact the Kings couldn’t make a single shot. 4/22 shooting in the fourth quarter isn’t going to get it done. 10 points in the fourth quarter isn’t going to get it done, either. The Kings played right into the hands of the Magic in the most crucial stretch of this game.

For a while, it looked like it was the lineup Coach Westphal had thrown out there. Kings needed Tyreke Evans back in the game more than they needed anything. Unfortunately, when he returned after just a couple of minutes sitting in the fourth, the problems still persisted. Stagnant offense that led to slow defense.

I’m sure everyone is going to write this tomorrow, but wouldn’t Kevin Martin fix fourth quarters like this? His style of play seems to be engineered in a lab to perfectly coexist with the offensive efforts that Tyreke Evans throws at opposing defenses. They’re like a bio-dome backcourt combination – built to coexist in perfect harmony. Kevin Martin may not have won this game for the Kings tonight but he definitely would have helped them stay in a position to win this game after the first 36 minutes.

He returns Friday (at the earliest) and everyone will finally get to see what the rest of the basketball world questions – can Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans coexist in the same backcourt? We already know the answer because we’ve seen both of them play and know their styles complement each other.

It just would have been nice if they could have had that tonight when the offense died and they were left in the towering shadow of Dwight Howard and his brooding prowess.

After all, that’s a large man.

Final Game Notes
- Jason Thompson is STRUGGL-ING! When does this end? He played another terrible game tonight. Six points and five boards in 19 minutes of play. And it wasn’t even foul trouble. He just was completely ineffective. He’s making bad decisions on offense. He’s playing foolishly on defense. His jumper is horrendous. His dribbling and passing are tricking only his teammates. I wonder if you need to sit him for one game or just punt the first five minutes of the game and go exclusively to him. Just see what pounding it in to JT does. Maybe it breaks him out of this slump. Something has to break his way though.

- Tyreke Evans had a really good game but he couldn’t finish around the basket so it ended up looking like a terrible game. 5/16 shooting happened but he started 0/7 so it could have been a lot worse. He got to the basket whenever he wanted. A couple of times, he was simply too slow putting up his shot and you could tell Dwight had watched his game before. He anticipated his moves perfectly twice. But other than that, he just couldn’t get it to roll in. Also, his defense is pretty special. He still struggles to stay out on shooters but you simply can’t get by him one-on-one in an age in which hand-checking is a no-no.

- Jon Brockman had nine points, six rebounds and five offensive rebounds in 12 minutes. Why doesn’t he get more time? He was throwing Rashard Lewis around on the boards like he was Adam Morrison.

- One blocked shot the entire game. This is where the Kings are lacking so much. Hilton Armstrong won’t be the answer. But imagine if they had a shot blocker? How much would that change EVERYTHING for them? It doesn’t even have to be a good one. Just a guy who is enough of a threat to make guys reconsider for a second.

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