Guard Isaiah Thomas addresses the media following the Kings' 95-92 win over the Trail Blazers.
Keith Smart is confident in Isaiah Thomas' confidence.
It's one big reason why Smart said he feels comfortable having the rookie guard on the floor. Thomas played a little over 17 minutes in the Kings' 95-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
With Marcus Thornton returning to the starting lineup, Smart used a rotation of three guards against the Trail Blazers, with Thomas the lone guard coming off the bench.
"Sometimes players will ooze confidence to their other teammates, and they have a supreme level of confidence on the floor," Smart said. "(Thomas) is a know-how guy."
Smart also reiterated that he values Thomas' plus/minus ratio -- the team's scoring differential when he is on the floor -- which is among the Kings' better ratios.
Thomas' ratio Thursday night was actually minus-6, though he was in the game for most of the fourth quarter as the Kings closed out the win to snap a five-game losing streak.
Head coach Keith Smart talks about his confidence in guard Isaiah Thomas and other topics following Thursday night's game.
Thomas shot 2-of-5 from the field and finished with four points, three assists, a rebound and two turnovers.
His most memorable play came on the defensive end, following a Thornton turnover in the fourth quarter. As Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews went in full-speed for a transition layup attempt, the 5-foot-9 Thomas jumped with him and made a clean, athletic block of Matthews' shot.
"I play to win," Thomas said after the game. "And I feel like when I'm in the game them guys (teammates) play a little harder. They see me going out there, trying to get blocked shots, trying to do whatever I can to win, and it gets them amped up a little bit."
-- Matt Kawahara