Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NBA notes and observations: What I Saw

We might be sleeping on this Kings team, or the Lakers aren’t who we thought they were (Yes, they’re missing Bynum and Kobe’s hurt... shut up). While I didn’t get to watch the entire game, I was struck by the energy the Kings played with in the 4th quarter. Watching their lead begin to dwindle behind the masterful post-work of Pau Gasol, the Kings’ offense was out of sync. 

  • The Kings might have done some maturing in the offseason. DeMarcus Cousins absolutely abused Pau Gasol on the offensive glass at the end of regulation. With the game still up for grabs after a late Lakers run, Cousins was a pest on 3 straight missed FT’s or shots as Gasol could do little to keep him from securing the board. Of course, he followed up with a performance from Bad Cousins by getting a double technical after cocking his fist at Gasol. This led to his swift benching by Westphal to preserve his cool for future games. 
  • Marcus Thornton is a grown-ass man. He did his best Kobe impression on the court as Kobe had himself a selfish game. Thornton was a scary efficient (9-13) overall and (4-7) from 3 point land. He took over and created his own shots when his shoot first point guards couldn’t do it for him. He hit an array of off the dribble and catch and shoot opportunities. He looks like the real deal and a possible All-Star candidate soon as long as Tyreke allows him to get his. 
  • Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace (I actually enjoyed hearing, “World Peace for the score.” Kinda cool and I thought it wouldn’t be) were the reasons that the Lakers were able to make a late run. Beautiful work in the high post led to off ball movement from World Peace and easy buckets in the paint or off jump shots. Unfortunately, Kobe decided to try too much as the game started slipping away from them. 

  • Deron Williams will be the singular reason that the Nets beat out inferior teams throughout the year. He is a top 3 PG and a top flight competitor in this league. Such a shame they lose Lopez, who would benefit from a “full” season with Deron. For now, he sets up Anthony Morrow beautifully from deep. Should be a nice pairing for the year. 
  • Ricky Rubio is already a top 10 PG. There is simply no one else in the league right now that sees what he does on the floor aside from Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Deron Williams. He ran the fast break seamlessly and threw passes that no other play could dream of completing. Shit, he might turn Anthony Randolph into a real player and I’ll have to change our avatar! He is the quintessential PG; someone who makes all of his teammates better by being extremely unselfish and giving them the easiest buckets possible. His presence, along with Love, Beasley, Williams, Barea, a possible Randolph awakening, and Wes Johnson should make them a tough beat for the West’s contenders. 
  • KDTrey is taking the scoring title again. His length and quick release make him impossible to stop and I can’t see anyone out-producing him this year, James Harden or not. Gonna be talk about the Hall of Fame for him when all is said and done. 

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