The NBA: Kings of Convenience

DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton are
the Kings of Convenience.

*All images are from the Associated Press.

The Sacramento Kings will not make the 2012 NBA Playoffs. 

They will have to make some major decisions pretty soon, though.

First, they’ll have to decide if they’ll keep Tyreke Evans or not. Do they offer him a contract extension, or do they try shopping him around for better pieces? Evans has shown a bit more versatility this year by playing thru positions 1-3 for the Kings. He has, however, taken a bit of a backseat to DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton, and, just recently, Isaiah Thomas in terms of the offense. 

I suggest they keep Tyreke, unless they can trade him for an absolute All-Star. Maybe Evans and Thornton for, let’s say, Steph Curry or even Deron Williams?

They also have to decide if they’ll make an offer to starting big man Jason Thompson, who has been on some kind of a tear lately. This one I’m not so sure about. Perhaps give him an offer then trade him away? Thompson has been great, but his upside is… just okay. At best, he can be SoCal’s version of Udonis Haslem in his prime. Actually, that’s not too bad at all!

The biggest thing the Kings have to solve, though, is how they can move up in the West. They’ve been pretty solid of late, and they have a really deep starting unit on paper, but it probably will never translate into a playoff berth without any big changes.

They’ve got Cousins and Thompson up front, with Donte Greene proving to be a serviceable back-up… sometimes. Evans, Thornton, and Thomas make for a good wing trio, which means, as long as John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette play off the pine, things aren’t exactly doom and gloom for Sac-town.

So what’s the problem?


The Kings are #10 in offense in the whole league. They can score. 

The Kings are also #30 in defense in the WHOLE league. They let other teams score a little too much!

The Kings seem comfortable in the knowledge they can score with the best of the NBA, but that doesn’t – shouldn’t – excuse them from playing D.

Maybe the Kings ARE too comfortable. Maybe things need to be shaken up. 

Otherwise, all that’s left for Sacramento, while they’re still in Sacramento, are these Kings of Convenience. 

After the JUMP, March 24-25, 2012 stat-stuffers:

Game Recaps for March 24, 2012:
LAC over MEM, 101-85
Blake Griffin netted a game-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and 5 assists as the Clippers rolled past the Grizzlies. Chris Paul scored 19 points while handing out 13 assists for Los Angeles, which opened a five-game homestand by snapping a three-game skid. Zach Randolph led the way with 14 points and OJ Mayo posted 13 for Memphis, which has lost all three contests on its current four-game trek and has dropped five of six overall.

ATL over WAS, 95-92
Joe Johnson's 16 points included the go- ahead three-pointer in the final minute as Atlanta came back from a 16-point second-half deficit to edge the Wizards. Josh Smith netted 20 points and came one rebound shy of his fourth consecutive double-double for the Hawks, who have won five of their last six. Nene poured in a game-high 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who dropped the first game of a back-to- back-to-back stretch and the seventh of their last nine.

NJN over CHA, 102-89
Kris Humphries had 20 points and 16 rebounds as the New Jersey Nets pulled away in the second half to down the Charlotte Bobcats. Deron Williams added 19 points and 14 assists for the Nets, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Byron Mullens paced the Bobcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Corey Maggette netted 13 points. Charlotte dropped its third straight contest and suffered its fifth loss in six games.

NYK over DET, 101-79
Amare Stoudemire led a balanced Knicks attack with 17 points as the Knicks overwhelmed the Pistons. New York shook off a loss to Toronto on Friday, its first defeat first under interim coach Mike Woodson, to improve to 6-1 during his tenure. Ben Gordon drained 4-of-8 three-point attempts en route to a game-high 20 points for the Pistons, as they suffered their fifth consecutive loss.

CHI over TOR, 102-101 (OT)
Luol Deng barely got the ball out of his hands before the final buzzer, but was able to score off Earl Watson's deflected shot, giving the Bulls an overtime win over the Toronto Raptors. James Johnson, who had 20 points and 8 rebounds for the Raptors, made 1-of-2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left, this after a call was changed. Johnson then blocked a layup try from Deng, but the door was left ajar for Chicago when Gary Forbes missed a pair from the charity stripe with 6.4 seconds left. Following a timeout, the Bulls got the ball to Watson, who drove into the lane, but his shot was met by Johnson's fourth block of the night. Deng was under the bucket and the ball was inches off his fingertips and on its way to the basket when the red light illuminated. Video replay confirmed the call, which meant a fourth straight victory for the Eastern Conference leaders. Carlos Boozer had 24 points and Deng had 23 with each grabbing 10 boards in Chicago's 40th win of the season. Jose Calderon scored 20 and had 10 assists for the Raptors.

DAL over HOU, 101-99 (OT) 
Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and Brandan Wright blocked 7 shots as the Dallas Mavericks edged the Houston Rockets in an overtime thriller. The Rockets had a chance to win it at the final buzzer, but Chase Budinger's three-pointer from the right corner clanked off the front of the rim. Jason Terry had 24 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 17 seconds left in the extra session for the Mavericks, who have won five of their past seven games. 

SAS over NOH, 89-86
Danny Green made the go-ahead jumper with 41.8 seconds left as the Spurs got past the Hornets. DeJuan Blair scored 23 points to pace San Antonio while Stephen Jackson added 14. The Spurs have won three straight and six of their last seven. Jarrett Jack had 27 points for New Orleans, which was coming off a 97-90 win over former teammate Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

IND over MIL, 125-104
George Hill scored a game-high 24 points to go along with 5 assists as the Indiana Pacers downed the Milwaukee Bucks , in the final tilt of a back-to-back-to-back stretch for each team. Roy Hibbert added 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Pacers, who earned their third win in four games. Ersan Ilyasova paced the Bucks with 22 points and 8 boards. Carlos Delfino had 13 points, Brandon Jennings finished with 12 and Monta Ellis contributed 11 in Milwaukee's second loss in three games.

GSW over SAC, 111-108
Klay Thompson scored a career-high 31, David Lee added 22 points and 14 rebounds and the Warriors hung on for a win over the Kings. Lee scored the eventual game-winner with 1:23 left and Richard Jefferson's dunk sealed the final result after Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas dribbled the ball out of bounds with 4.7 seconds remaining. Brandon Rush added 10 points for the Warriors, who had lost five of six entering Saturday. DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 18 rebounds to pace Sacramento, which has dropped two straight.

Game Recaps for March 25, 2012:
PHX over CLE, 108-83
Marcin Gortat scored the first 10 points of the game en route to a 22-point effort to lead the Phoenix Suns over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rookie Markieff Morris poured in a career-high 22 points as the Suns wrapped up their four-game road trip with two straight victories. Kyrie Irving led the way for Cleveland with 16 points and 6 rebounds. The Cavs continued to skid, as the loss marks their third straight and their sixth in their last seven overall.

MIN over DEN, 117-100
Kevin Love posted a double-double of 30 points and 21 rebounds, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a rare win over the Denver Nuggets. Love, who made 11-of-19 field goals, was coming off a franchise-best 51-point performance in Friday's double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City. Luke Ridnour scored 25 points for Minnesota, which returned home after a 2-5 road trip. Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 17 points. Denver, which had won eight straight at Minnesota, suffered its third loss in four games.

BOS over WAS, 88-76
With Ray Allen missing his second straight game with a sore right ankle, Avery Bradley filled the void in a big way, scoring a career-high 23 points to lead Boston over the Wizards. Paul Pierce poured in 21 points to go with 8 rebounds  to give the Celtics their sixth straight home win. Jordan Crawford led the way for Washington with 20 points. The Wizards fell to 0-2 on their current stretch of three games in three nights.

ATL over UTA, 139-133 (4OT)
Scheduled for three games in three days, the Atlanta Hawks played almost 3 1/2 instead. Joe Johnson scored eight of his 37 points in the fourth overtime as the Hawks finally finished off the Utah Jazz to end a brutal late-season stretch that way outlasted its welcome. Josh Smith added 22 points before fouling out  in Atlanta's first four-overtime game since 1982. Al Jefferson had 28 points and 17 rebounds for Utah, which played four overtimes for the first time ever.

SAS over PHI, 93-76
With the Spurs playing their third game in as many nights, Tim Duncan received the night off, but DeJuan Blair picked up the slack, scoring 19 points and grabbing 6 rebounds to lead San Antonio over the 76ers. Tony Parker scored a game-high 21 points to go with 7 assists to give the Spurs their fourth straight victory. Elton Brand poured in 14 points and grabbed 9 boards for the Sixers, who now hold a slim 1/2 game lead over Boston atop the Atlantic Division.

OKC over MIA, 103-87
Kevin Durant propelled the Thunder with 28 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals as Oklahoma City rolled past Miami in a battle of NBA heavyweights. James Harden and Serge Ibaka netted 19 points apiece -- Ibaka also grabbed 10 boards -- and Kendrick Perkins scored a season-high 16 points for the Thunder, who won their third straight. Dwyane Wade paced the visitors with 22 points, Chris Bosh contributed 18 and LeBron James finished with 17 for the Heat, who saw a four-game winning streak snapped.

POR over GSW, 90-87
Raymond Felton scored a season-high 24 points and handed out 7 assists as the Trail Blazers edged the Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge's 18 points included the go-ahead fadeaway jumper in the final minute and he also contributed 9 rebounds for Portland, which has won two of three. Charles Jenkins, a rookie starting in place of the injured Nate Robinson, netted a career-high 27 points to pace Golden State, which has dropped two of three.

MEM over LAL, 102-96
Rudy Gay scored 18 points, OJ Mayo had 16 off the bench and the Memphis Grizzlies salvaged a four-game road trip with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Entering the game, the Grizzlies were just 1-5 in their last six -- a stretch that started with a double-overtime loss to the Lakers at home on March 13 -- and had been 0-3 on their road trip after losing to the Clippers in the same building the night before. Bryant, who didn't pick up his second field goal until the last two minutes of the first half, ended 7- of-15 for 18 points. 

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
March 24: Klay Thompson (GSW) & Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – 31
March 25: Joe Johnson (ATL) – 37 

Joe Johnson hit a ton of threes on his way to 37 points.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
March 24: DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 18
March 25: Kevin Love (MIN) – 21 

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
March 24: Deron Williams (NJN) – 14
March 25: Steve Nash (PHX) – 13 

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
March 24: A LOT with 3!!!
March 25: Grant Hill (PHX) – 4 

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
March 24: Brandan Wright (DAL) – 7
March 25: Brandon Rush (GSW) – 4 

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
March 24: Goran Dragic (HOU) – 5
March 25: Raymond Felton (POR), Joe Johnson (ATL), & Kevin Durant (OKC) – 4 

March 24, 2012 First Five
C – DeMarcu Cousins (SAC) – 28pts, 18rebs, 5asts, 3blks, 1stl
F – Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – 31pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 2blks
F – Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 24pts, 10rebs, 4asts, 2stls
G – Klay Thompson (GSW) – 31pts, 4 treys, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks, 1reb
G – Goran Dragic (HOU) – 24pts, 8asts, 5 treys, 5rebs, 1stl

Goran Dragic (R) continues to play at a really high level
in place of Kyle Lowry.
Honorable Mention:
David Lee (GSW) – 22pts, 14rebs, 9asts
Nene (WAS) – 21pts, 11rebs, 3blks, 2asts
Jarrett Jack (NOH) – 27pts, 7rebs, 5asts

Daily Zap:

March 25, 2012 First Five
C – Al Jefferson (UTA) – 28pts, 17rebs, 3blks, 1ast, 1stl
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 30pts, 21rebs, 4asts, 3blks, 2stls
F – Kevin Durant (OKC) – 28pts, 9rebs, 8asts, 4 treys, 2stls, 1blk
G – Joe Johnson (ATL) – 37pts, 8rebs, 4 treys, 2asts, 1stl
G – Raymond Felton (POR) – 24pts, 7asts, 5rebs, 4 treys, 2stls, 1blk
Raymond Felton has upped his game to help Portland
make a late drive for the postseason.
Honorable Mention:
Zaza Pachulia (ATL) – 15pts, 20rebs, 3blks, 2asts, 1stl
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 30pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 25pts, 13rebs, 4asts, 2stls, 1blk

Daily Zap:

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.

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