Kings Blog and Q&A

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

April 16, 2012
The Morning After: Kings using multiple options late in games

Former Kings coach Paul Westphal was the target of a lot of criticism back in 2009 for his strategies late in games.

Fair or not, there were folks in the media and fans who were not a fan of giving the ball to Tyreke Evans and allowing him to create on his own.

That's not the case with the Kings now.

In the final minute of Sunday's 104-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Kings coach Keith Smart turned to DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton for late baskets.

Thornton hit the game winner with 3.4 seconds to play. Cousins gave the Kings a 102-100 lead with 10.7 seconds to play.

Evans tied the game with two free throws with 39.4 seconds to play.

Smart has shown a willingness to go to different players late. Thornton is obviously the first option if the Kings need a three pointer.

But Smart has given the ball to Evans, Cousins, Thornton, John Salmons and Isaiah Thomas in late-game situations.

That doesn't include games in which players gave up the ball for better looks to reserves like Donte Greene or Jimmer Fredette.

Smart isn't against giving the ball to Evans late in a game.

He just has more options and is glad to use them.

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