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December 9, 2012
The Morning After: Blowout loss helped change Kings' thinking

PORTLAND - It was all bad just a week ago.

The Kings had been beaten badly at Staples Center by the Los Angeles Clippers last Saturday. They looked disinterested and morale was low.

Things have changed.

The Kings have won three consecutive games after beating the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night. And we have the Clippers to thank for this.

The 35-point loss forced the players and coach Keith Smart to think about what they could do to keep the season from spiraling out of control.

The loss was so bad Sports Illustrated highlighted the Kings of what was "not hot" in this week's edition.

The Kings had three days in between games after the Clippers loss. That allowed Smart to reassess his offensive approach.

"I changed things completely from trying to play with a crowded floor, trying to over post up people," Smart said. "And I just went to a strength that I know I'm capable of coaching in spreading the floor out and making our guys work."

And at least for a week, the Kings have enjoyed playing with each other.

"I think it's coach shaking up the lineup a little bit," said forward Travis Outlaw of the difference over the last week. "Everybody is playing for each other, [there is] no selfishness, and we're just trying to win."

The lack of selfishness was evident Saturday night with how happy everyone was to see Outlaw play well.

The win was the most important thing, not who got their shots up.

"They're finding out the game can be so much fun and the feeling we've had over the last couple of games can be very enjoyable if we don't load up one player," Smart said. "If everyone has a chance to share the wealth the team functions very well from there."

It's working because the Kings are winning. The next test will be if the players still buy in after a loss.

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