Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

January 28, 2012
Kings at Jazz: Five things to watch

SALT LAKE CITY - The embarrassment from Wednesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets should still be fresh on the minds of Sacramento Kings players and coaches.

The 92 points the Kings allowed in the paint were a record since the NBA began tracking points in the paint in the 2000-01 season.

The Kings have given up a lot in the paint all season via offensive putbacks, dribble penetration and easy baskets in transition. Perhaps how the Nuggets had their way will be enough to embarrass the Kings into putting forth a better effort.

Here are five things to look for when the Kings play the Utah Jazz tonight, looking to end a three-game losing streak in which they've allowed 117 points per game.

1. Checking Big Al
Jazz center Al Jefferson is a low-post threat the Kings will need to be strong against. If the Kings allow Jefferson to set up low at will, he will pile up points and put the Kings' post players in foul trouble.

2. Chasing Paul
Paul Millsap is a power forward that can use his perimeter shooting to pull his defender away from the basket and then attack off the dribble. The Kings might be better off conceding jump shots to Millsap.

3. Dealing with Devin
Utah guard Devin Harris was an All Star playing for New Jersey and can hurt the Kings off the dribble. Opponents have hurt the Kings off the dribble a lot this season by getting by the initial defender and taking advantage of the lack of a shot blocker by the rim. Who will take the challenge to keep Harris out of the paint?

4. The 40-and-over club
The Kings are still the only NBA team shooting below 40 percent this season. Shooting in the mid 40s would give the Kings a chance to win if they can play better defense.

5. Fast or slow
Kings coach Keith Smart said after losing to Denver he would have to slow things down on offense because of the Kings poor shooting and their struggles on defense to give them a better chance to win. Smart wants to play at a fast pace for 48 minutes but the Kings can't handle that right now.

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