PHOENIX - James Johnson played like the player the Kings hoped he'd be in Monday's 101-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Johnson has been in a shooting slump this season (37.7 percent) but last night was an exception. He made 5 of 6 shots for 11, blocked three shots and had three steals.
"I know you see me in there after practice every time working on my game," Johnson said. "I think it's finally starting to click. I'm starting to get in a rhythm. I'm not in my game rhythm shooting yet. It's a bad excuse for how many games we're in the season but at the same time it takes work."
Johnson was praised for his hard work after being traded to Sacramento by Toronto. Johnson admits now that just because he was working hard doesn't mean he was working right.
"I was working in the summer time but I can honestly say it was probably the kind of work that wasn't getting me anywhere," Johnson said. "I was shooting my old way and my old way was wrong. It was just working on bad habits more and more."
The coaching staff has worked on Johnson looking to pass first as he's struggled to find is shooting touch.
They also want Johnson to rebound and defend well. And in the last two games that the second unit has played especially well (Oklahoma City, Phoenix) Johnson has been on the floor.
*DeMarcus Cousins wasn't solely to blame for shooting 1 of 10 against the Suns.
The guards can't give him the ball in the post against good defenders where he's at a disadvantage.
Smart said Cousins, however, does need to figure out how to go at defenders like Marcin Gortat with a better plan.
"When you're playing with length and guys who are long and athletic you just have to find avenues, how to be crafty," said Kings coach Keith Smart.
As for the guards:
"The guards have to do a better job of understanding the matchup that night," Smart said.