Kings Blog and Q&A

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February 28, 2012
Kings defeat Jazz, 103-96

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' win over the Utah Jazz.

DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and Isaiah Thomas added 18 points and eight assists as the Kings defeated the Utah Jazz, 103-96, at Power Balance Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Thomas and Cousins keyed a strong third quarter for the Kings, who had trailed by three at halftime. Thomas had six of his assists in the quarter, while Cousins scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.

After a slow start from the floor, the Kings shot 52.4 percent as a team in the second half.

The Jazz pulled within 98-96 with just over a minute left in the game. But Gordon Hayward's open three-pointer from the corner rimmed out and Kings guard Marcus Thornton grabbed the rebound and was fouled.

Thornton made five of six free throw attempts down the stretch to ice the game and finished with 21 points.

Tyreke Evans added 13 points and Thompson had 10 points and eight rebounds as the Kings improved to 12-22.

Guard Devin Harris had a team-high 18 points and seven assists for the Jazz, who had six players in double figures. Forward Josh Howard scored 15 points and center Al Jefferson had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Jazz shot 47.1 percent from the floor but hurt themselves with 16 turnovers and poor free throw shooting (11-of-22).

The Kings didn't take any better care of the ball, committing 17 turnovers, but made 24 of 29 attempts from the free-throw line. They also outscored the Jazz in the paint, 60-46, and totaled 23 assists.

"The goal tonight was we had to make sure we kept the quarters close, 24-point quarters or 25-point quarters," said Kings head coach Keith Smart. "I thought our guys did those things and kept us in the game.

"This (Utah) team is going to be dominant in the paint, with their two big guys, but I thought our guys did a really good job of coming on the traps."

With his 18-point night, Thomas kept pace with Otis Birdsong for the franchise record for most points scored by a Kings rookie in his first five starts (96).

The crowd delivered a pair of standing ovations to co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, in the wake of the city and the Kings announcing Monday a tentative deal to build a new downtown arena.

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