After a frustrating loss in Atlanta to the Hawks, the Kings move forward to their second game in back to back nights on Tuesday in Miami, featuring a Heat team devoid of just about all of their stars that headlined the previous couple of seasons, and yet are still a dangerous team to cover. With Dwyane Wade leaving in free agency to the Bulls and Chris Bosh sidelined with blood clots, the Heat are a team searching for an identity, and relying on big defensive nights from former Kings center Hassan Whiteside in the meantime. With a bevy of young, hungry talent and impeccable coaching from Erik Spoelstra, the Heat will be no Sunday drive through South Beach for Sacramento. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Tuesday, November 1st; 4:30 pm PST
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL; CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 am
A Few Things to Consider:
Mac Attack: Hey, has anyone noticed that Ben McLemore is starting to look like a competent NBA shooting guard? In his fourth year with the Kings, Ben looks like an absolutely changed man coming off of the bench early on. Through four games this season, Ben has shot 50% from the field and nearly 38% from deep and while some might call it contract year performance, or finally having a coach willing to put his arm around him, Ben has looked leaps and bounds better. Does he still have moments where he plays like a deer in the headlights? Sure. Kahwi Leonard taking his lunch money on two consecutive plays during the home opener ended up being the difference maker in a game that was way closer than it should have been. But Ben has also come out firing in situations where the offense has waned in nearly every game so far this season and it isn’t that he’s just shooting shots that are available to him, but that he’s taking the right shots. Ben seems much more comfortable with the ball in his hands, and because of this he has the patience to create (and make) a shot for himself off of the dribble or a pump fake, something nearly unseen in previous campaigns . This season has already seen a couple of times Ben get a defender off balance and commit a foul during Ben’s shooting motion, but even Monday night against the Hawks, Ben had a sequence in which he drove left-to-right toward the top of the key, then went around his back for a dribble to get into the paint, where he pumped Tim Hardaway Jr. out of his socks, before banking in a shot off the glass with his left hand over a waiting Dwight Howard. The Ben McLemore that Kings fans have been looking forward to seeing now for four years is here. Don’t miss him.
Point Guard Watch, Game 5: If you were able to watch or listen to the game Monday night, there was a sequence near the seven minute mark of the second quarter in which Ty Lawson did just about everything a basketball player could do on the court in the matter of about 30 seconds. You know what I’m talking about. The guy has been playing out of his socks for coach Dave Joerger this season, and while his shooting is something that makes you look forward to a few games down the road when Darren Collison is back, Ty has played just about as well as someone could reasonably expect, considering where he was, and how he was playing last season. In Tuesday night’s game against the Heat, Ty Lawson and current back-up Garrett Temple will be facing off against Slovenian point guard, Goran Dragic and his assumed back-up, Tyler Johnson. In the 30 year old lefty, the Heat have a point guard who is capable of doing just about anything he wants to do on the court. This season, Dragic is shooting over 45% from the field, and in limited attempts 46% from beyond the arc, scoring over 18 points a game and dishing out just under 7 assists. While slower than the match up on Monday night, Dragic possess good quickness and control of the ball and is someone who can beat your team by just consistently doing the right thing, over and over and over again. Johnson, on the other hand is someone who has said in the past that he wants to be used in a combo guard role off the bench, likening himself to Manu Ginobili in how he likes to operate. Aggressive and athletic, Johnson is going to provide a good counter punch to the methodical play of Dragic. If the Kings can contain these two, the only other ball handlers currently on the Heat are the turnover prone Dion Waiters, and Rodney McGruder. Those are literally the only other two healthy guards on the Heat roster currently, with Justice Winslow their only small forward. Well, maybe Hassan Whiteside has a bit of Magic Cousins in him?
Odds and Ends:
Prediction: Hassan Whiteside starts the game off by asking if DeMarcus ever found out what that guy Jason Jones does for a living when he’s not hanging around the players, and the impending headache causes Boogie to sit most of the first half. Coach Erik Spoelstra the counters by putting in his anti-Kings line up of Wayne Ellington, Derrick Williams, James Johnson, Willie Reed and Hassan Whiteside, to which the Kings go on a 20-4 run. Pat Riley fires Spo at halftime, and announces the signing of Smish Smosh, a lefty power foward who really doesn’t like it when you talk about blood. He won’t play, but will pop a ton aspirin in his mouth, just in case. The Kings will find a way dig themselves out of whatever hole they buried themselves in the first half, and win:
Kings 109, Heat 106.