Kings Blog and Q&A

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March 30, 2012
Kings at Jazz: Five things to watch

jejones@sacbee.com

SALT LAKE CITY - The Kings seek their fifth road win of the season while also trying to end a four-game losing streak.

Here are few things that could impact tonight's game:

1. Head games

Jazz guard Devin Harris said he was trying to get in Kings center DeMarcus Cousins' head and vice versa after their Harris stared down Cousins last Thursday in Sacramento.

That happened after Cousins bumped into Harris chasing a loose ball.

Cousins said he didn't know that problem "the kid" (Harris) had with him but added he wouldn't mind solving it for him.

If Cousins channels his emotions correctly and doesn't get caught up in unnecessary banter with Harris, he could have a big night.

2. Jimmer's back

Playing in Utah means another homecoming for Jimmer Fredette. When Fredette played in Utah in January, he was playing some of his better basketball of the season with Marcus Thornton out with a thigh injury.

With Thornton healthy there haven't been as many minutes for Fredette. But there will be plenty of attention on Fredette, regardless.

The Kings will have Fredette's media time earlier than the normal 90 minutes before tip-off to accommodate the crowd of media expected to want time with Fredette.

(This was the setup in January, too).

When Fredette is in the game, he has to play loose and aggressively on both ends of the court. When he has open shots, Fredette has to take them. Defensively, Fredette has to play tough and not worry too much about fouling.

You can be assured when Fredette is in the game there will be a lot of cheers for the former BYU star - and boos from the Utah alums in attendance.

3. Reke's role

Statistically, Tyreke Evans has been a better player since being moved to small forward in the starting lineup. But there are moments like Wednesday's loss, where he looks unassertive.

Evans said it was hard to find a rhythm because he was being substituted for so much (he played 30 minutes, the fewest of any starter). This came after Evans played only two minutes in the fourth quarter Monday at Houston.

There have been turnovers when Evans has cut to the basket and missed a pass because the passer expected him to spot up for a jumper - even though that's not the strength of his game.

Evans still appears to be engaged on defense, but the Kings have to figure out how to get Evans going in the halfcourt offense.

4. To play (or not play) Thompson

Coach Keith Smart sat Jason Thompson last Thursday against the Jazz for a good portion of the fourth quarter so Chuck Hayes could defend Jazz center Al Jefferson, even though Thompson was having a good game.

That could be a crucial decision again tonight.

When Thompson is out, the Kings lose their second-best scoring big man and athleticism. With Hayes, the Kings gain a better passer and more accomplished defender.

How Jefferson is playing could decide who sees the most time in the fourth quarter.

5. 10 days and beyond

Terrence Williams signed a 10-day contract last Wednesday. In three games he's already shown he can play defense and is already one of the Kings best passers.

Williams staying until the end of the season appears to be a formality at this point and he should have an impact tonight.

Williams didn't play against the Jazz last week after being with the team only a day. But he could be a plus against Utah because of the size they have with guards like Harris, C.J. Miles and Alec Burks.



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