DENVER - There haven't been many times the Kings have had their defense of a wing player praised.
Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien even noted the lack of a stopper on the wing as to why Danny Granger was able to score a season-high 37 points in defeating the Kings on Nov. 30.
But following the Kings 104-86 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Denver coach George Karl had some nice words about the Kings defense.
It might have been a case of coach talk and Karl being courteous in giving the Kings credit. Regardless, someone saying something positive about the Kings' defense is a step in the right direction.
Carmelo Anthony shot six for 22 and finished with 16 points. Anthony had a game-high six turnovers.
"I think Sacramento played him kind of smart," Karl said. "...when we let the defense dictate us, we kind of get frustrated as a team."
In fairness to Anthony, he had been away from the team for eight days after the death of his sister. Kings coach Paul Westphal even noted that Anthony was "rusty."
Anthony said he didn't have his legs and his shots felt like "bricks."
The problem for the Kings was Anthony wasn't the only perimeter player to worry about. Chauncey Billups got to them for 22 points. J.R. Smith came off the bench for 17 points.
If the Kings are going to make progress they have to a better job on the perimeter. Steve Nash won't make things easier tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins wasn't shure how to score on Nuggets center Nene, noting the width of Nene made it hard for him.
Cousins does continue to show some progress in finding his offense. He used shooting touch around the basket and wasn't in a hurry.
He had only one turnover.
Cousins said he's also getting better at forgetting bad plays, which he admits isn't easy to do when the team is losing.
And if we learned anything, don't miss shootaround. Samuel Dalembert's illness allowed Cousins to start last night and he'll start again today.
One statistical oddity: The Kings blocked seven shots, none by a center. Donte' Greene blocked three off the bench. Tyreke Evans blocked two and Francisco Garcia blocked a shot.
One final thought:The Kings struggle to win when Beno Udrih plays well, largely because there's no telling how Evans will play night-to-night.
So it's almost impossible when Udrih misses eight of 10 shots as he did against the Nuggets. Coupled with Evans making 6-of-17, the Kings weren't going to be able to overtake Denver.
Udrih seems to have a game like this every couple weeks. That means he's probably due for a big game tonight.
Then again, I've been wrong before.