Pre-season game #7: Kings vs. Jazz.

Starting line-ups:
Kings:

  • Tyreke Evans
  • Beno Udrih
  • Donté Greene
  • Darnell Jackson
  • DeMarcus Cousins

Injuries: Samuel Dalembert (adductor)- Out.

Jazz:

  • Earl Watson
  • Raja Bell
  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Paul Millsap
  • Al Jefferson

Injuries: Daron Williams (personal reasons)- not with team. Mehmet Okur (achilles tendon)- Out.

1st quarter recap:
Beno Udrih hit an early three to start the game, but that was the lone bright spot in the first 6 minutes.  After starting the game with Darnell Jackson, DeMarcus Cousins and Donté Greene on the front line, coach Paul Westphal mixed it up, bringing in Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and rookie Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside responded with two blocks in his first two minutes of his NBA career after missing most of camp with a left patella tendon strain. The big line-up the Kings are trying out seemed to work. Landry abused the Jazz from both the outside and the inside as the small forward, and defensively, any lack of quickness was masked by the shot blocking abilities of Hassan Whiteside. The Kings closed the quarter strong and would have left with a lead if not for a big three pointer by Raja Bell with three seconds left.

Kings 23  Jazz 25

2nd Quarter Recap:
The second quarter started with Jason Thompson hitting a very nice turn-around baseline jumper to tie the game at 25.  The Jazz were still searching for an answer to the Kings’ size inside.  Antoine Wright is seeing time after a couple of DNP-CD as Coach Westphal continued to try different looks. Whiteside was everywhere.  He tipped away an ally-oop attempt on one side of the court and then scored consecutive baskets on the other end. The Kings got sloppy to end the half. Cousins went 0-5 from the field with 5 of the Kings’ 9 first half turnovers. Donté Greene matched Cousins o-5 and added a turnover. Casspi, Garcia and Head all received DNP-CD in the first half.

Kings 40 Jazz 44

Half time leaders:

Kings- Udrih/Landry (9) points; Thompson (4) rebounds; Evans (6) assists.
Jazz- Bell (8) points; Kirilenko (4) rebounds; Watson/Price (3) assists.
FG%- Kings 38.5% Jazz 46.2%
Rebounds- Kings 21 Jazz 17
Assist/Turnover- Kings 8/9  Jazz 11/9

3rd Quarter Recap:
Rough start to the third for the Kings. In the first 30 seconds, the Kings turned the ball over twice, gave up a breakaway dunk and picked up a technical (Udrih). A 6-0 run by the Jazz in the first 2 minutes of the second half pushed the lead to 10. Coach Westphal quickly went to the bench, inserting the threesome of Landry, Whiteside and Thompson in an attempt to stem the tide. The Kings continued to struggle to score, totaling a mere 11 points in the first 9 minutes of the quarter. Beno Udrih and Carl Landry did their best to keep it close, but to no avail. The team has moved the ball much better tonight than in their previous pre-season games, but 36.7% shooting through three quarters isn’t going to cut it. Somehow the Kings finish the quarter only down 6.

Kings 58  Jazz 64

4th Quarter Recap:
The Kings just couldn’t get anything going again to start a quarter. Pooh Jeter’s agressive play led to free throw’s, but at the 6:14 mark of the fourth, his makes were all the Kings had on the board as the Jazz moved the lead back to 12. At the 5:40 mark, Donté Greene hit a three- his first make of the game and the Kings first make of the quarter. With 3 minutes left, Westphal went to the bench and gave Jeter and Whiteside some much needed time. The Jazz win going away and finish the pre-season at 8-0.

Kings 71  Jazz 82

Final stats:

Kings- Udrih (17) points; 3 players tied (6) rebounds; Evans (8) assists.
Jazz- 3 players tied (12) points; Kirilenko (7) rebounds; Price (8) assists.
FG%- Kings 36.1%  Jazz 44.0%
Rebounds- Kings 42 Jazz 35
Assist/Turnover- Kings 14/20 Jazz 20/15

Final Thoughts:

This game was a disappointment on many levels. You can’t put a whole lot of stock in a final pre-season game but you would expect that when a coach pairs down the offensive playbook to simplify things, you wouldn’t see such sloppy play in a tune up game.

DeMarcus Cousins was perhaps the biggest disapointment after wowing all through camp. The rookie big man seemed disinterested both offensively and defensively.

Donté Greene was was the second biggest disapointment. Coach Westphal sat both Casspi and Garcia to free up minutes for the third year small forward who has already been named the starter. Greene didn;t hit a shot until the late fourth quarter and his defense didn’t say stopper either.

On the positive side, rookie Hassan Whiteside was spectacular. The power forward out of Marshall blocked shots, ran the floor and showed an aray of offensive skills. After missing all but a few days of camp and only returning to practice yesterday after an extended lay-off, Paul Westphal must be giddy over the play of Whiteside. If he can continue to heal and take steps like this, he will force the Kings to clear a spot in the rotation for him sooner rather than later. I really liked the combination of Carl Landry and Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside can really mask Landry’s defensive deficiencies against quicker players and Thompson also seemed to respond well defensively to playing with a shot blocker like Hassan. Maybe this was a window into what this team can look like once Dalembert is back.

Beno Udrih was the other stand-out tonight. He looked like he was in mid-season form, even when his teammates were crashing around him. It will be interesting to see where he falls on the offensive pecking order once all the other pieces are in place.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".