Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 19, 2012
The Morning After: Smart finds success going small again

Keith Smart played college basketball at Indiana for legendary coach Bob Knight. But let's not forget much of his education as an NBA coach came under Don Nelson.

Smart reminded us of that in Wednesday's win over the Indiana Pacers.

During the fourth quarter of the Kings' comeback, Smart went to a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and DeMarcus Cousins.

It's the kind of unorthodox lineup some coaches would not tryout - four guards and a center.

But then again, Nelson was never afraid to try something different. And it worked for the Kings because rather than go inside to the likes of David West or Roy Hibbert, the Pacers went small and the Kings' were faster and able to use their zone defense to frustrate the Pacers.

Bringing in a smaller guard to help run the team has been important in all three wins under Smart since he took over.

The first time in the Kings' rally against Milwaukee, Jimmer Fredette played with Thornton and Evans in a three-guard look.

Thomas was a key figure in the Kings' win at Toronto, allowing Evans to play off the ball more.

Perhaps Smart has figured out how to close games with this roster. The key will be trying to make sure the Kings aren't behind by 15-plus points, as they were against Milwaukee and Indiana.

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