Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 1, 2012
Smart: Physical Trail Blazers a 'great test' for Kings

Kings head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following Wednesday's practice.

The Kings play the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday for already the third time this season, having lost their first two meetings by double-digit margins.

This time, forward John Salmons said, when push comes to shove, the Kings need to do both.

"We've got to match their physical presence," Salmons said. "The first two games they were very physical with us, so we have to match that play."

The Kings committed 34 turnovers in the first two games -- a 101-79 loss on Dec. 27 and a 101-89 defeat on Jan. 23, both in Portland. They were outscored by the Trail Blazers in the paint by a total of 104-78.

The Kings had a tendency on offense in those games of catching and holding the ball too long instead of quickly moving it with a pass or dribble, said head coach Keith Smart.

That allowed the Trail Blazers to set up their defense, Smart said, in which they do a good job of dictating lanes for the player with the ball and forcing him into a well-defended area of the court.

"They've created their style of play from being a physical, hands-on team," Smart said. "They're going to put their hands on you, they're going to hold you, they're going to push you around, and sometimes we have gotten rattled when teams have done that to us.

"This team here is a great test for us. You want to play against a physical team because you want to kind of mimic them a little bit. Once you establish that's how you play, you're going to get away with a little bit of something extra."

* Kings forward Jason Thompson appeared to be receiving treatment on his lower left leg toward the end of today's practice. Smart said Thompson was getting some standard recovery time after Thompson rolled his ankle on Saturday in the Kings' loss to Utah and played 31 minutes Tuesday night at Golden State.

-- Matt Kawahara

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