Cousins quiets down Warriors - Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Golden State Warriors came into Sacramento for the Kings home opener and just couldn't get their shots to fall. Kings fans were so hyped they brought the house down. No, seriously, chunks of the arena were falling on the court.
The Dubs came into this game flying high off of their win against the Clippers in LA Saturday, and you just had the sense that with the winless Kings playing in front of their awesome and under-appreciated fans for the first time this season that this could be a dangerous night for the Warriors. Well, guess what... it was. Here's a few of the reason's the Warriors lost.
Sure, the Dubs missed a lot of open looks. Yeah, they missed a bunch of gimme's at the rim. Still, I have to give some credit to Sacramento's D. It looks like Smart has them playing some tough and active defense so far in the young season, and tonight was no exception. They did enough to hold the Warriors to under 40% shooting tonight, no matter what Golden State tried they just couldn't get their shots to go down.
The Landry/Lee line-up
The Kings won this game in the second quarter, and they did most of their damage during a long stretch where Carl Landry and David Lee were manning the 4 and 5 spots. We've seen this line-up work really well already this season, so I'm not saying that Jackson shouldn't use them together, but there are some things you have to keep in mind for this combo to be successful.
Is it a good rebounding line-up? No. Is it a good defensive line-up? Hell, no. To be successful these guys need to score. That means Landry has to get his shots when he's in the game. I feel like I've said this a lot already this season, but if Landry is going to be an effective player for us he needs to be the number one option offensively when he comes in the game. He is a very good scorer, and he's not that great at anything else. If you leave him out there for ten minutes alongside Lee and only get him two shots, that means he's hurting your team (he was -15 at the end of that stretch). Bogut and Ezeli only played a combined 35 minutes tonight and either of them would have been more effective in the second where we got out-rebounded badly. They should have either force fed Landry the ball or pulled him in favor of one of the true centers.
The thick coat of rust on Stephen Curry's shot
3-15, with plenty of open looks. 'Nuff said. When will we start to see the shooter we all know and love?
You never know what you are going to get out of Cousins, but he was an absolute beast tonight. He was physical when he needed to be. He was nimble and quick when he needed to be. He was even sinking fade aways and long jumpers. With 23 pts (10-16fg) 15 reb 2 blk and 2 stl this was the kind of night that feeds the hopes of Kings fans that Cousins could be the player that turns the franchise into a consistent winner again. I thought Ezeli did a pretty good job defending him, but he was too quick for an out of shape Bogut, and he was eating Lee and Landry's lunch out there. More Ezeli may have helped, but this seemed to just be Cousins' night with the home fans cheering him on.
With the game super tight at the end of the fourth quarter Aaron Brooks made a series of incredibly tough shots to keep the Kings ahead while the Warriors were trying to make their final push. Wow, I mean, really... Wow. They were fun to watch even though they were heart breaking.
This didn't end up being a huge factor, but it was driving me insane. I don't mind turnovers that come from making an aggressive play where there is a significant reward that comes along with the risk, but tonight there were way too many unforced errors on both sides. Sure, it's not like there were a ridiculous amount of turnovers overall, but there were just so many bad ones that make you want to yell at your TV. You have to think that if the Warriors could have just played a slightly cleaner game they would have been able to stay alive in this one.
I know this team is still coming together offensively, but I feel like the players aren't confident and sharp when they pass the ball. The ball doesn't move around the offense crisply, and It seems like every other pass is made tentatively. These guys need to get on the same page and stop missing open cutters and throwing the ball behind a player with a lane to the basket instead of leading him. I expect this to get better, but so far this season I think the team is leaving a lot of easy buckets on the table because they aren't able to make the reads fast enough to make the plays in the moment they appear. This isn't necessarily a criticism of any one player, but more that the team is playing like they are still getting to know each other - which they are. Hopefully we'll see this improve sooner rather than later.
As is always the case in the NBA the Warriors won't have much time to linger on this loss. They'll head back to the bay where they'll take on the Cavs on Wednesday in hopes to get back above .500 and stay atop the Pacific Division.