John Salmons played his best all-around game of the season for the Kings Thursday night.
Salmons had season highs in points (19) and rebounds (eight) in the Kings 95-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was just the sixth time this season Salmons scored in double figures.
It's been a rough season offensively for Salmons as he's averaging just 7.6 points while a career-worst rate of 37.1 percent.
Kings coach Keith Smart has never wavered in supporting Salmons. Here's what Smart said about Salmons Thursday night:
"I said to you guys, I will share with him that I have confidence in him, I believe in him, and I know what he's doing. He's putting work in and he's a proud pro, so he's going to work. The things that he is doing, other than scoring, have been great. He does it. He's been doing a great job on any assignment that we put him on, like guys that he has to guard that are tough covers, from two to threes. He's done that. I knew I had a plus with him, all those numbers of scoring weren't there, but he still was a plus defensively. A couple games here and there, but you know, one, twos, and threes are tough in our league. There was a little positive there for him. Rather than saying, OK let me shift a guy in right away, believe me, it was something that I never rushed him with. I felt bad when we talked about it, but I always knew that from knowing him around the league as a pro, that somewhere down the line his game is going to come back to him. He's too proud of a pro to have a season-long bad game. The guy is really working. I'm happy that he played well, the team is happy that he played well. As he said to me a while back, 'If I'm playing well, then our team is going to play well.' That was true tonight."
Salmons puts a lot of pressure on himself to play well and hasn't taken his struggles lightly.
Salmons is usually one of the last Kings to leave the court after practice because he's working on his shooting.
Salmons said he will continue to believe his good play is important if the Kings are to play well:
"That's just my mentality. I try to look at myself in the mirror. It's easy to blame other people so I feel like if I play well we have a chance to win. That's just how I approach the game. Just try to put accountability on myself to go out there and play hard every night."