Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 29, 2012
Kings vs. Jazz: Assists are up again, and other notes

Guard Isaiah Thomas addresses the media following the Kings' 103-96 win over the Utah Jazz.

Isaiah Thomas careened up-court and threaded a bounce pass to a cutting Marcus Thornton under the basket. Thornton converted the lay-up with 0.8 seconds left in the third quarter, and Thomas had his sixth assist of the quarter.

Thomas finished with eight assists in the Kings' 103-96 win over the Utah Jazz, and the Kings as a team had 23, making this the fourth time in the last five games they have recorded 21 or more assists.

Those are the five games Thomas has started at point guard for the Kings, who entered Tuesday's game still averaging a league-low 17.3 assists per game.

"I don't know if it's me," Thomas said. "It's about making the right play. I'm doing that at a pretty high level right now, but give credit to my teammates because they're helping me out a lot."

* Francisco Garcia played 9:29 of the fourth quarter largely for defensive purposes. Kings head coach Keith Smart said he was impressed by Garcia's defensive play late in the Kings' win over the Washington Wizards before the All Star break, and wanted Garcia defending the wing.

* Smart said he will continue to encourage guard Jimmer Fredette to be a shooter when Fredette is on the floor. Fredette made 2-of-5 shots Tuesday and finished with five points, two assists and two turnovers in 8:24.

Center DeMarcus Cousins discusses coming back from the All-Star break and the play of Isaiah Thomas.

* On Tuesday morning, Smart said the one thing he wants the Kings to improve on the most in the second half of the season is decision-making in close games. You caught a glimpse of why early in the fourth quarter, when the Kings, nursing an 83-80 lead, committed four turnovers in their next five possessions.

The Kings looked tentative with the ball during that stretch and made several bad passes, but regained their composure quickly enough to present a potentially damaging run.

"Close games like that, we can't have that," said guard Marcus Thornton. "But guys made big plays when they needed to, to combat those turnovers."

* The Kings won in part by making 82.8 percent of their free throws (24-of-29) while the Jazz made 50 percent (11-of-22). After an awful start this season at the line, the Kings have been an improved free-throw shooting team. They entered Tuesday's game 16th in the league (74.8 percent).

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