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

March 23, 2012
Missed free throws hurt Kings down stretch, and other notes

This was how DeMarcus Cousins summed up the final few minutes of the Kings' 103-102 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, which was decided by Al Jefferson's put-back shot with 0.9 seconds to play:

"Just turnovers down the stretch, just small things, and small things turned into big things, which put us in that chippy situation, and they made the most of it," Cousins said.

In the final 3:11, the Kings were 2-of-9 from the field and, perhaps more damaging, 1-of-5 from the free-throw line. They also committed a pair of turnovers.

Marcus Thornton, the Kings' best free throw-shooting regular, made 1-of-2 attempts with 2:07 left. With 1:17 remaining, after the Kings had tied the game at 97-97, Jason Thompson went to the line for two shots and missed both.

The Kings finished 4-of-9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) for the game, their lowest percentage from the stripe in a game this season.

"I think for me, I've got to make those free throws at the end, and we had other chances too by finishing plays," Thompson said. "We had plenty of chances to win the game, it just didn't go our way at the end."

* The Kings had 26 offensive rebounds and scored 70 points in the paint for the second consecutive game after not reaching that number previously all season.

But they made just 35-of-75 shot attempts in the lane, missing many put-back attempts and contested lay-ups. The Jazz also finished with 14 blocks, including four each by Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors.

That was reflected in Cousins' line in particular -- 22 points on 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) shooting.

"Once we go back to the film and see how many unfinished plays we had as a group, it's going to be frightening," said Kings head coach Keith Smart. "That's what the game was, right there."

* Tyreke Evans said his left ankle, which he sprained several games ago, is "feeling much better."

"Just icing it, doing treatment," Evans said. "I just wanted to come out aggressive and play like I can play."

* Terrence Williams, whom the Kings signed to a 10-day contract the team announced Wednesday, was the lone inactive player for the Kings.

This is what Smart had to say about Williams before the game:

"We just had 4-on-4 stuff (in practice Wednesday), but even there he knows how to play. He understands how to play, moving the basketball. Not having a whole lot of what we do yet, we probably won't see him tonight, getting him ready as we move forward. But he's going to be a player.

"He's off the charts athletically, competitive. We're looking forward to getting him into some five-on-five situations when we get an opportunity for that."

Smart was also asked if he needs to find a balance between working Williams in and making sure the Kings are focused on winning games. Smart said the Kings are more using the 10-day contract to look at Williams long-term and not to rush to get him into games.



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