Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 5, 2012
Smart: Kings show they can 'run late'

Marcus Thornton said he "wasn't tired at all" while logging nearly 47 minutes in the Kings' win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

Neither did forward Jason Thompson, who played more than 40 minutes, exhibit any overt signs of fatigue.

As the Kings closed out their 114-106 win over the Warriors, it was their five starters on the floor for the entire overtime period. All five played the entire third quarter and at least 40 minutes, led by Tyreke Evans, who played 48 minutes and 23 seconds of a fast-paced game.

More than the minutes, what impressed head coach Keith Smart was that the Kings "were still able to run down the stretch," which speaks to conditioning. As Smart moves toward a tighter rotation, minutes are divided up between fewer players.

"I think they're getting there to be able to run late in the game," Smart said. "A lot of teams don't like to run late in the game, and you can get a lot of advantage points when you do that.

"But the fact that conditioning-wise (center DeMarcus) Cousins was still on the floor and able to rebound the way he was and able to stay out of foul trouble until late, that's conditioning that has (improved) from where it was to the spot it is right now."

Cousins and Thompson pulled down a combined 14 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Warriors are established as a team that will run. But Evans said the pace of Saturday night's game was not so much the Warriors dictating the tempo as the Kings responding to Smart wanting to push the tempo.

"This is the style we want to play," Evans said. "It starts with me. Sometimes I get caught up in the moment of just kind of backing it up, but I've got to keep the pressure on those guys."

Thornton, meanwhile, has played a little more than 88 minutes in the Kings' last two games, his first since missing four games with a left thigh hematoma.

He said the thigh is "not back to normal yet," but it's "getting there."

As far as conditioning, Thornton said, "I think I'm in good shape. You need your breaks, but all in all, I was good."

-- Matt Kawahara



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