Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 31, 2012
Kings' Thomas happy for Shaq


OAKLAND - Before tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors, Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas asked about Grant High football star Shaq Thompson, who earlier in the day tweeted his plans to accept a scholarship to the University of Washington. "I've never seen him play," said Thomas, "but I keep hearing about him. And any time someone like that (top recruit) becomes a Husky, I'm happy about it."

January 31, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Warriors

FINAL
Warriors 93, Kings 90

OAKLAND - The Kings were done in by the Warriors bench, which played almost the entire fourth quarter and built a 12-point lead before holding on late to give the Warriors the win.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Kings (6-15), who for the second game in a row, lost by three points on the road.

Brandon Rush came off the bench to lead the Warriors (7-12) with 20 points. Rush scored 15 of the Warriors' 26 fourth-quarter points. Stephen Curry made a free throw for the only point for the Warriors that didn't come from a reserve in the quarter.

The Kings trailed 91-90 with 2.8 seconds to play, but Rush made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left in the game. Tyreke Evans heave at the buzzer from inside halfcourt was high off the backboard.

Evans finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

The Kings committed as season-high 21 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Warriors.


January 31, 2012
Kings at Warriors: Five things to watch

OAKLAND - The NBA's two Northern California teams are at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

So this isn't the marquee game for the league, but it's important for both squads. My focus (of course) is the Kings, so here are five things to look for when the Kings play the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

January 31, 2012
Report on Kings' Petrie 'not true,' Joe Maloof says

As reported several times in The Bee and on sacbee.com -- most recently in Ailene Voisin's column on Jan. 18 -- Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie's future with the team appears increasingly uncertain.

But a report that surfaced Monday night in a fan blog, Sactown Royalty, attributed only to sources - that Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have considered relieving Petrie of his position and have contacted a management agent - has been denied forcefully by Joe Maloof.

"No, this is not true," Maloof texted The Bee. "I had heard about (the rumor). We will be fine. We have had the toughest schedule in the league by far."

January 31, 2012
Tip Sheet: Oakland return reminds Smart of 'going back home'

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PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Salt Lake City. Jim Urquhart. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 30, 2012
Monday practice: Hayes discusses 'irritating' shoulder

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following Monday's practice.

Kings forward-center Chuck Hayes said today that his left shoulder "slightly popped out" in the final seconds of the Kings' loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

The first thing Hayes said he thought: "Don't panic." Then: "Not again."

"Just breathe slowly, move your arm so it can pop back in," he recalled thinking. "And it did."

Hayes, who missed 11 games after dislocating the left shoulder on Jan. 5, said he expects to play Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors. He said he is aware that the shoulder might be a recurring issue while he continues to rehabilitate and strengthen it.

January 30, 2012
Tyreke Evans won't be your small forward

The story for Monday's newspaper is about Tyreke Evans and his work to become a better facilitator on offense under Keith Smart.

The debate over whether Evans is a point guard seems to have gone on even before the Kings drafted him in 2009.

Some have suggested Evans should be moved to small forward and force him to play off the ball.

Smart doesn't agree that is the best thing to do with with Evans.

"He can't play the three," Smart said after Sunday's practice. "That guy was born with a basketball in his hand - got to keep that thing in his hand. I've tried that one time and that doesn't work so I'm not going to go back to that one because he's not a small forward."

There are other reasons why Evans wouldn't make the best small forward on a regular basis.

Listed at 6-foot-6, Evans would struggle defending a lot of small forwards that are stronger than him. That would potentially keep Evans in foul trouble.

And Evans isn't a spot-up shooter, which he'd need to be in a lot of situations playing small forward.

The Kings will use Evans there in some situations, but don't expect Smart to move Evans and make his backcourt too small by starting any combination of Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas.

January 29, 2012
Weekly Power Rankings: Thunder ahead of two East powers

If the Oklahoma City Thunder have all it takes to reach the NBA Finals is a mystery. The only player on the roster they count on that's been to the Finals is center Kendrick Perkins. And if the Thunder are going to win the West, it will be up to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

For now the Thunder looks like the best team in the NBA ... at least that's how I see it.

So here are my power rankings for you all to laugh at. Enjoy.


January 29, 2012
Chuck Hayes is OK

Chuck Hayes' return to the lineup looked as if it might be a one-game deal when he left the court in the final seconds of Saturday night's loss at Utah.

Hayes was holding his left arm after missing 11 games because of a dislocated left shoulder.

But Hayes won't miss any time.

"(Hayes) just got treatment today but i think he's going to be OK and ready to go," said Kings coach Keith Smart.

Hayes grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals in 20 minutes against the Jazz. His return as a "glue guy" on the court that doesn't need to score is expected to help the Kings, especially on defense.

The Jazz had 96 points last night. The Kings had allowed 117 points per game in their previous three losses.

January 29, 2012
The Morning After: Going with the plus players

SALT LAKE CITY - Isaiah Thomas did it again.

The Kings rookie came into a game and energized the team. Thomas scored 13 of the Kings' 26 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's 96-93 loss to the Utah Jazz.

Thomas accounted for all 13 bench points for the Kings against the Jazz.

January 28, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Jazz

THIRD QUARTER
Jazz 78, Kings 67

SALT LAKE CITY - This game was tied at 56 before the Jazz used a 9-0 run to pull away. Earl Watson's three pointer at the buzzer gave Utah its biggest lead of the night.

Four of five Kings starters have scored I double figures but the Kings have zero bench pints. Meanwhile the Jazz have gotten 18 points off the bench from C.J. Miles.

Utah has 31 bench points.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with a game-high 22 points and eight assists. Gordon Hayward leads Utah with 20 points.


January 28, 2012
Chuck Hayes returns to action

SALT LAKE CITY -- Kings forward/center Chuck Hayes will play tonight against the Utah Jazz. He's missed 11 games after dislocating his left shoulder Jan. 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Hayes was a starter when he injured his shoulder but will not start tonight. The Kings will stay Jason Thompson playing Hayes' spot along with Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup.

January 28, 2012
Kings at Jazz: Five things to watch

SALT LAKE CITY - The embarrassment from Wednesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets should still be fresh on the minds of Sacramento Kings players and coaches.

The 92 points the Kings allowed in the paint were a record since the NBA began tracking points in the paint in the 2000-01 season.

The Kings have given up a lot in the paint all season via offensive putbacks, dribble penetration and easy baskets in transition. Perhaps how the Nuggets had their way will be enough to embarrass the Kings into putting forth a better effort.

January 27, 2012
Kings still need to conquer the scouting report

One thing that has come up more than once in conversations with Kings players over the last couple of seasons is scouting reports - namely the players need to do a better job of studying them.

Good teams know the nuances of their opponents and the Kings have struggled with that

When I spoke to Chuck Hayes earlier in the season about the Houston Rockets' 22-game winning streak during the 2007-08 season, Hayes noted how everyone knew the opponent.

January 27, 2012
Kings' low payroll offers clue to current struggles

Sacramento Bee database reporter Phillip Reese has looked at the Sacramento Kings payroll, one of the lowest team payrolls in the NBA. See his "Kings' low payroll offers clue to current struggles," which ranks teams based on total wins and payroll.

January 26, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings fail to contain Nuggets in the paint

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PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins sits on the bench after coming out of their game against the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The Nuggets won 122-93. Steve Yeater. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 26, 2012
The Morning After: Kings' struggles force Smart to re-evaluate offensive philosophy

Kings coach Keith Smart keeps running into obstacles when it comes to implementing the running style of play he wants with the Kings.

First, there's the overall lack of conditioning of the team. Secondly, injuries have prevented Smart from finding continuity.

Perhaps the most important things is this season, the Kings just can't shoot well.

January 26, 2012
Thompson: Kings need to "look ourselves in the mirror" on defense

Kings forward Jason Thompson addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the Denver Nuggets.

One statistic that may not have received much outside attention as recently as Wednesday afternoon: The Kings went into their game against the Denver Nuggets allowing the most points in the paint per game of any NBA team (50.4).

The Nuggets, of course, illuminated the issue by scoring 92 points and making all but four of their 50 field goals in the paint in their 122-93 win over the Kings at Power Balance Pavilion. The loss prompted forward Jason Thompson to say that the Kings need to "look ourselves in the mirror" on defense.

"You've got to look at it as, is it just points in the paint in the half-court or is it points in the paint from fast-breaks?" Thompson said. "You break it down to, is it from help or is it just from one-on-one? That's why I say everybody's got to look ourselves in the mirror. Obviously points in the paint, it comes down to the bigs, obviously we'll take the fall for that. But it's all five of us (starters) and guys coming off the bench as well."

The Nuggets, who lead the NBA in fast-break points per game, scored 26 fast-break points. They scored 25 points off of 18 turnovers by the Kings.

Guard Jimmer Fredette reacts to the Kings' most lopsided home loss of the season.

January 25, 2012
Kings lose to Nuggets, 122-93

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Written and circled on the white board in the Kings' locker room after their loss to the Denver Nuggets were a number and three words: "90 pts in paint."

Such was the Kings' undoing Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion. The Nuggets, finding easy looks under the basket on fast-breaks and in the half-court alike, scored 92 points in the paint en route to a 122-93 win.

The Nuggets led by three points, 32-29, early in the second quarter, then went on a 34-14 run to close out the quarter and led by as many as 35 points late in the game.

"We didn't have any resistance in the paint," Kings head coach Keith Smart said. "Of course we knew the fast-break was going to be a tough issue for us anyway, the way they get out and push the ball, they're No. 1 in the league. But we just got broken down too many times.

January 25, 2012
Chat live with Matt Kawahara: Kings vs. Denver

January 25, 2012
Kings-Nuggets: Both teams missing pieces tonight

The Kings, missing guard Marcus Thornton and forward-center Chuck Hayes to injury, will play a likewise shorthanded opponent tonight in the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets will be without injured guards Arron Afflalo and Rudy Fernandez, as well as center Timofey Mozgov, who is away for the birth of his first child.

Kings head coach Keith Smart declined to say who will start in Thornton's stead. John Salmons started at shooting guard on Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, while rookie Jimmer Fredette is another option.

Smart did say he would like to get to a point where he has an established starting lineup -- something that has been complicated by Hayes' absence and Thornton's nagging injury.

January 25, 2012
Kings-Nuggets: Five things to watch

The Kings announced earlier today that guard Marcus Thornton is expected to miss 1 to 2 weeks with a significant hematoma in his left thigh. How the Kings continue to deal with his absence will be one thing to keep an eye on beginning tonight, when they play the Denver Nuggets at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion.

1. What will the starting five look like? Thornton's absence leaves Kings head coach Keith Smart with options. He can start John Salmons in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans for a bigger lineup -- as he did against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday -- or have Jimmer Fredette start alongside Evans. Should Salmons move to shooting guard, it may mean another start for Donte Greene against a sizable Nuggets frontcourt.

January 25, 2012
Kings-Nuggets shootaround: Hayes not quite ready

Forward-center Chuck Hayes' left shoulder responded well to Tuesday's full-contact practice -- Hayes' first since dislocating the shoulder on Jan. 5 -- but the Kings aren't planning on pushing his return, head coach Keith Smart said this morning.

"He won't go tonight," Smart said. "He woke up this morning with no pain, things like that. Now he's got to get over the approach mentally. ... It's totally in his hands and our team physicians' to see when he's ready. When he's ready and they say he's been released to me then we'll have him on the floor."

January 25, 2012
Marcus Thornton to miss one to two weeks with thigh injury

The Kings will be without leading scorer Marcus Thornton one to two weeks after a diagnostic ultrasound test performed today at the UC Davis Medical Center revealed a significant hematoma in his left thigh.

Thornton was diagnosed with a thigh contusion and after he was kneed by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard Jan. 8. Howard was setting a screen when Thornton ran into him.

Thornton missed three games before returning to the lineup. He re-aggravated the injury last Friday at San Antonio and left last Saturday's game at Memphis in the second quarter when his leg stiffened up.

Thornton has missed four games because of the injury. He leads the Kings at 16.4 points per game.

January 25, 2012
Tip Sheet: Thornton not expected to return against Nuggets

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PHOTO CREDIT: Denver Nuggets' Andre Miller (24) celebrates with Ty Lawson (3) and Nene (31), of Brazil, after Miller scored a basket in the final seconds of the second half of an NBA basketball game on Jan. 18, 2012, in Philadelphia. Denver won 108-104 in overtime. Matt Slocum. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 24, 2012
Tuesday practice: Hayes cleared for contact

Kings head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following Tuesday's practice.

Kings forward-center Chuck Hayes practiced full-contact today -- the latest step in his recovery from dislocating his left shoulder against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 5.

Hayes wore a protective sleeve on the shoulder and said afterward that the shoulder "felt good."

"We did some contact drills where I had to engage my shoulder muscles and see if it'll hold up with some resistance, and it felt good," Hayes said. "Now I just think it's the mental standpoint now, just trusting the rehab, trusting the doctors and trusting the treatment that my shoulder's OK."

January 24, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings quickly lose control against Trail Blazers

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PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins (15) battles under the boards with Portland Trail Blazers' Marcus Camby, center, and teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, right, in the second half during an NBA basketball game Monday in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers defeated the Kings 101-89. Rick Bowmer. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 24, 2012
The Morning After: Game slowing down for Jimmer Fredette

PORTLAND, Ore. - Jimmer Fredette scored 13 points off the bench in the Kings' 101-89 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night.

That is significant in that it was the first time in Fredette's rookie season that he scored in double figures in consecutive games.

Fredette had 20 points in last Saturday's loss at Memphis.

January 24, 2012
Video: Keith Smart postgame

Coach Smart discusses Monday night's loss to Portland and the play of DeMarcus Cousins (18 points, 13 rebounds).

January 23, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Blazers

FINAL
Blazers 101, Kings 89

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Kings lost their second consecutive in another double-digit road loss.

Jamal Crawford led the Blazers (10-7) with 26 points.

DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings (6-12).

The Kings host Denver on Wednesday.


THIRD QUARTER
Blazers 74, Kings 56

PORTLAND, Ore. - Not much changed for the Kings in the third quarter. The Blazers only scored 21 points but the Kings couldn't cut into the lead.

The Kings are shooting 33.9 percent and have been outrebounded 47-27. The Blazers are shooting just 42.3 percent, but the Kings struggles on offense have made that percentage more than adequate.

Jamal Crawford, who chose to sign with the Blazers over the Kings, has 20 points off the bench.

DeMarcus Cousins has 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings.


January 23, 2012
Kings at Trail Blazers: Five things to watch

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Kings will be without Marcus Thornton after he re-aggravated his bruised left thigh. John Salmons (stomach virus) will play.

How the Kings adjust without Thornton and Salmons' energy are among the things to watch tonight hen the Kings face the Portland Trail Blazers.

January 23, 2012
Tip Sheet: Salmons in, Thornton out against Trail Blazers

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PHOTO CREDIT: Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge, right, and San Antonio Spurs' DeJuan Blair, left, reach for a rebound during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game on Jan. 13, 2012, in San Antonio. Eric Gay. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 22, 2012
Salmons meeting team in Portland after illness

PORTLAND - John Salmons has been released from the hospital and is due in Portland tonight. He is questionable for Monday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Salmons missed Saturday night's game at Memphis with what is believed to be food poisoning. Head trainer Manny Romero stayed with Salmons and will fly back with him.

January 22, 2012
Kings, 49ers share this: lousy facility

SAN FRANCISCO - Since the Kings are en route to Portland - hopefully near a television by today's NFC Championship game between the 49ers and New York Giants - it seemed like a good time to remind folks back in Sac that Power Balance Pavilion isn't the only antiquaited sports facility. Engineers have been working around the clock to release the rain flooding the Candlestick Park parking lots. Worker removed tarps from the field, but the the field is very soggy nonetheless. The worst is yet to come, weather wise.

No complaints from the media types, though. The NFL arranged for media shuttle buses from a hotel near the airport, with a police escort. It's the only way to travel.

January 22, 2012
Weekly Power Rankings: Who needs Derrick Rose?

Here is Week 5 of my very unofficial NBA rankings. I still believe the Knicks and Celtics will turn things around at some point. Same goes for the Mavericks.

When that will happen? I have no idea.

January 22, 2012
The Morning After: Coach Smart discusses loss at Memphis



January 21, 2012
Stomach virus keeps John Salmons in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kings forward John Salmons did not make the team chartered flight to Portland following Saturday night's128-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies because of a stomach virus.

Salmons is kept at an area hospital overnight.

Salmons notified team training staff around 7 a.m. this morning that he was feeling sick and did not attend Saturday's game.

The Kings play at Portland on Monday.

January 21, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Grizzlies

FINAL
Grizzlies 128, Kings 95

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Kings' winning streak ended at two as the Grizzlies routed Sacramento thanks to a strong second half. It was the Kings' most lopsided loss to the Grizzlies in franchise history.

The Grizzlies beat the Kings by 28, 118-90, Feb. 26, 2011.

Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies (9-6) with 23 points as four Memphis players had at least 20 points. The Grizzlies shot 54.3 percent for the game.

The Kings (6-11) were led by Jimmer Fredette's season-high 20 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Donte' Greene had 19 points.


January 21, 2012
Kings at Grizzlies: Five things to watch

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Here are your five things to watch when the Kings go for their third consecutive win tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

1. A fast start
The Kings jumped out to a 32-20 lead after the first quarter Friday night at San Antonio which was key in beating the Spurs. If the Kings can do that, they'll be in position to win late.

January 21, 2012
The Morning After: Smart acknowledges everyone is chipping in for the Kings

SAN ANTONIO - Keith Smart's emphasis has been on building a team where everyone gets the credit.

And Smart is making sure everyone gets credit.

Smart shared that it was Francisco Garcia who suggested Smart leave John Salmons in the game late and he responded with consecutive jumpers to tie the game at 86 before Tyreke Evans gave the Kings the lead for good.

January 20, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Spurs

FINAL
Kings 88, Spurs 86

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings handed the Spurs their first home loss of the season by rallying in the final two minutes with four points from John Salmons and the game-winner by Tyreke Evans with 47.6 seconds to play.

Evans led the Kings (6-10) with 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Tony Parker led the Spurs (10-6) with 24 points.


THIRD QUARTER
Kings 73, Spurs 67

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings are still ahead in what would be their most impressive win if they hold on to their lead.

Tyreke Evans has 19 points to lead the Kings, who have answered every Spurs run tonight.

DeMarcus Cousins had to go to the locker room to be evaluated after being hit in the head, but returned to the bench.

Tony Parker has 19 points to lead the Spurs. Tim Duncan has 10 points and nine rebounds.


January 20, 2012
Kings at Spurs: Five things to watch

SAN ANTONIO - If the Kings want to become a good team, they have to start winning on the road with some regularity.

No better place to start doing that then here, where the San Antonio Spurs are undefeated at the AT&T Center this season.

Here are five things to look for tonight as the Kings try to beat the Spurs.

January 19, 2012
Roster changes force players to into new roles

SAN ANTONIO - Consistency has been hard to come by for the Kings this season. That was to be expected with the young roster.

But as Kings coach Keith Smart also pointed out after Thursday's practice at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility, the Kings' young players are in new roles.

"You're asking all these guys to be primetime players and they've never been in that role - to be a primetime guy every night," Smart said.

What makes great players great is consistency. The Kings haven't found that and their youngsters don't have the same support behind them anymore.

"(DeMarcus) Cousins, if he wasn't playing well, he had (Samuel) Dalembert," Smart said. "Tyreke if he wasn't playing well, he had (Beno) Udrih. We don't have a lot of that now, these guys are the forefront. They now have to bring something to the table every night, that's what I'm trying to build."

Until the Kings know they can count on certain players to be consistent, Smart will continue to mix up his lineups as he sees fit and rely on his entire roster to try to win games.

January 19, 2012
Tip Sheet: Fourth quarter defense keys win over Pacers

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PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) pumps up the crowd against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday. Steve Yeater. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 19, 2012
The Morning After: Smart finds success going small again

Keith Smart played college basketball at Indiana for legendary coach Bob Knight. But let's not forget much of his education as an NBA coach came under Don Nelson.

Smart reminded us of that in Wednesday's win over the Indiana Pacers.

During the fourth quarter of the Kings' comeback, Smart went to a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and DeMarcus Cousins.

It's the kind of unorthodox lineup some coaches would not tryout - four guards and a center.

But then again, Nelson was never afraid to try something different. And it worked for the Kings because rather than go inside to the likes of David West or Roy Hibbert, the Pacers went small and the Kings' were faster and able to use their zone defense to frustrate the Pacers.

Bringing in a smaller guard to help run the team has been important in all three wins under Smart since he took over.

The first time in the Kings' rally against Milwaukee, Jimmer Fredette played with Thornton and Evans in a three-guard look.

Thomas was a key figure in the Kings' win at Toronto, allowing Evans to play off the ball more.

Perhaps Smart has figured out how to close games with this roster. The key will be trying to make sure the Kings aren't behind by 15-plus points, as they were against Milwaukee and Indiana.

January 19, 2012
King pass a Pacers test

I got back from 49ers camp in time to catch the second half of the Kings-Pacers tonight on the tube, and was impressed with a few things. I love the way Keith Smart went to a zone defense in the fourth quarter and seemed to surprise the Pacers with his small lineup of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins, Francisco Garcia and rookie Isaiah Thomas.

The Kings shoot 30 percent and win the game in the fourth? Effort, energy and adrenalin rushes remain constants in NBA victories.

Smart's intent is clear: He plans to transition Evans to small forward and find out long the Kings can go with Thomas at the point. He seems to envision Jimmer Fredette as more of a shooting guard - and when Fredette stops hesitating, he will be a much more effective player. He creates separation for his shot, but then becomes tentative, attempts a few dribbles (a chronic Kings ailment), and then takes a tougher shot. His handle (that left hand) needs some work, too, but he'll figure it out. This is where the lack of Summer League and a full training camp hurts.

So, as an aside, here is the essence of my conversation with KNBR host Tom Tolbert at 49ers camp earlier Wednesday: When I mentioned that the Kings were the worst passing team I have covered (either as a beat writer or columnist) in three-plus decades, he cracked, "No way. You have to pass the ball to be a bad passing team. They don't even pass the ball." Amen to that.

January 18, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Pacers

FINAL
Kings 92, Pacers 88

The Kings opened the fourth quarter on a 22-7 run to take their first lead of the night and hold on to win and end and three-game losing streak.

The Kings held the Pacers to eight points in the fourth quarter.

The Kings (5-10) turned to reserves Francisco Garcia and Isaiah Thomas the entire fourth quarter. Travis Outlaw also came in to start the rally with five points early in the period.

Garcia finished with 16 points, 10 in the fourth.

DeMarcus Cousins matched his career high with 19 rebounds to go with 13 rebounds.

Danny Granger and Darren Collison each had 16 points for the Pacers (9-4).


January 18, 2012
Kings vs. Pacers: Five things to watch

Kings coach Keith Smart gave no indication Tuesday the Kings starting lineup would be different tonight when the Kings host the Indiana Pacers.

But here are five reserves that could impact the game and what to they might bring to the court.


January 18, 2012
Tip Sheet: Smart attempts to get team on track against Pacers

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PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart yells to his bench in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 10, 2012 in Philadelphia. Matt Slocum. Associated Press.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 17, 2012
The Morning After: John Salmons is in a slump like he's never had

MINNEAPOLIS - John Salmons didn't exclude himself when discussing the problems the Kings are having on offense.

"We've just got to continue to learn how to trust each other and continue to play together and make open shots, particularly myself," Salmons said after the Kings lost 99-86 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Salmons is off to a bad start. He's shooting 35.5 percent (44-of-124) and has been dreadful from the three-point line at 18.2 percent (8-of-44).

January 16, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Timberwolves

FINAL
Timberwolves 99, Kings 86

MINNEAPOLIS - The Kings ended their five-game road trip 1-4 after dropping their consecutive game.

Kevin Love led Minnesota with 33 points and 11 rebounds. And while Ricky Rubio gets a lot of attention, it was Luke Ridnour that hurt the Kings the most with 25 points and nine assists.

Rubio finished with nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Francisco Garcia each had 12 points for the Kings. Tyreke Evans had nine points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

The Kings (4-10) had a season-high 20 assists, but couldn't slow down Minnesota late as the Timberwolves (5-8) exploited Kings' breakdowns on defense.

The Kings host Indiana Wednesday before another three-game road trip.


January 16, 2012
Kings at Timberwolves: Five things to watch

MINNEAPOLIS - Ricky Rubio has become popular around this city rather fast.

Rubio was taken with the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, one spot after the Sacramento Kings selected Tyreke Evans.

Rubio stayed in Spain while Evans went on to win Rookie of the Year. Rubio is playing his way into the same honor this season, averaging 11 points and 8.3 assists.

Rubio's passing is one of the five things to watch tonight.

January 16, 2012
NBA rookies photo gallery: Fredette vs. Rubio

Jimmer Fredette from BYU and Ricky Rubio of El Masnou, Spain, meet tonight, Jan. 16, 2002, in Minnesota for the first time when the Sacramento Kings take on the Timberwolves. Here is a visual comparison of two rookies who came into the league with lots of hype. Statistics from nba.com.

See the photo gallery.

January 16, 2012
Shootaround report: Keith Smart making most of the mornings

MINNEAPOLIS - When you're 4-9 and coming off a 39-point loss, you can forget the idea that shootaround is just a walkthrough.

Kings coach Keith Smart had the Kings get their ankles taped so they could have a more active shootaround this morning in preparation for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Having a young team coupled with a coaching change, Smart is using any chance he can to do some work on the court.

January 15, 2012
Smart trying to change the Kings' habits on offense

MINNEAPOLIS - Keith Smart has a drill where players dribble to a spot and have to make a choice.

Depending on where the defender comes from, the player has to decide where to pass the ball.

Needless to say watching the Kings play on offense, it's a drill that's needed as Smart tries to change how the Kings play.

January 15, 2012
NBA Weekly Power Rankings: The Bulls are the best

The Miami Heat are in the midst of their annual losing streak with LeBron James' mental toughness being questioned (again). The Heat will be fine in the long run, but right now no one is playing better than the Chicago Bulls.

Derrick Rose is still playing like an MVP and it looks as if he's not conceding the East to the Heat.

January 15, 2012
The Morning After: DeMarcus Cousins and the cameraman

DALLAS - By now you might have heard there was an incident involving DeMarcus Cousins during the postgame locker media time.

I spent time on my Twitter account that probably should have been devoted to my game story (don't worry bosses, I filed on time) clearing up what actually happened.

January 14, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Mavericks -- Kings historically bad in the first half

FINAL
Mavericks 99, Kings 60

DALLAS - The Kings lost their second consecutive game with their worst offensive showing of the season.

Aside from the franchise lows for points in a half (23) and field goals (eight) in the first half, the Kings had their lowest point total and lowest shooting percentage of the season (25.6 percent).

They also made only 22 shots, another season low.

The point total matches the fewest scored in the Sacramento era. The Kings scored 60 Jan. 10, 1991 at Charlotte.

DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings (4-9). Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 14 points.

Jason Terry scored a game-high 21 points to lead Dallas (8-5).

January 14, 2012
Marcus Thornton will play tonight

DALLAS -- Kings starting guard Marcus Thornton (left thigh contusion) will play tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Thornton has missed the last three games.

Thornton was the Kings' leading scorer (18.7 ppg) when he was injured last Sunday against Orlando. Tyreke Evans (18.8 ppg) has since passed Thornton.

January 14, 2012
Kings at Mavericks: Five things to watch

DALLAS - If the Kings are going to improve to 2-2 on this road trip they'll need to play well tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, who have won four in a row and are 7-5 after starting the season with three losses.

Here are five things to look for from the Kings tonight:

January 14, 2012
The Morning After: Dalembert reflects on time with Kings, dominates in win

HOUSTON - Last month Samuel Dalembert believed he would be a Sacramento King this season.

Chuck Hayes' contract had been voided for failing his physical and the Kings were in need of another post player - an area the team might have looked to add depth before losing Hayes.

January 13, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Rockets

FINAL
Rockets 103, Kings 89

HOUSTON - The Kings never recovered from their bad third quarter and lost the third game of their five-game road trip.

Sacramento (4-8) got 29 points, six rebounds and five assists from Tyreke Evans but the rest of the starting lineup added little, combining for 20 points.

Meanwhile all five Rockets' starters scored in double figures. Kyle Lowry had 25 points, nine rebound and seven assists. Samuel Dalembert had 21 points, 16 rebounds four blocked shots. Luis Scola added 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Houston (4-7) outrebounded the Kings 55-36.

The Kings play at Dallas Saturday night.


January 13, 2012
Kings make Alex English hiring official

Below is the statement form the Kings on Alex English joining Keith Smart's coaching staff:

Sacramento Kings' President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie announced today the hiring of Alex English as an assistant coach, joining current assistants Jim Eyen, Jim Todd and Bobby Jackson on Head Coach Keith Smart's staff.

January 13, 2012
Marcus Thornton still out, Alex English to join coaching staff

HOUSTON - Kings' leading scorer Marcus Thornton will miss his third consecutive game because of left thigh contusion.

Rookie Jimmer Fredette will start again for Thornton.

Thornton (18.7 points per game) took part in a light workout Thursday and experienced what Smart said was normal soreness.

January 13, 2012
Kings at Rockets: Five things to watch

HOUSTON - The Kings finally won a road game Wednesday in Toronto and will look to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Here are five things to watch for as the Kings go for win No. 5 this season against the Houston Rockets.

January 12, 2012
Tip Sheet: Cousins dominates Raptors frontline in Toronto

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PHOTO CREDIT: The Kings' DeMarcus Cousins, right, is fouled by the Raptors' Jamaal Magloire. Cousins scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. Pawel Dwulit. The Canadian Press.


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January 12, 2012
The Morning After: Smart still figuring out the lineups

TORONTO - Keith Smart continues to try out different lineups in what has become training camp during the season.

Injuries have affected Smart's plans, too. But in the Kings' 98-91 win over the Toronto Raptors, Smart used only nine of his available players. Travis Outlaw was the only player not to play.

Donte' Greene appears to have found more of a role under Smart and Francisco Garcia is playing a bigger role.

Smart described the situation as "unfortunate" because he has to use games to figure out which lineups work instead of practice.

Teams usually have the day off after back-to-back games but Smart will get the team together this afternoon in Houston because he's only had one practice since taking over the team last Thursday.

If Marcus Thornton can work today, that would help Smart figure out his rotations, too.

Thornton has missed the first two games of the five-game road trip because of a left thigh contusion.

January 12, 2012
Kings effort compensates for ills

The Kings' victory over the Toronto Raptors earlier tonight is just another reminder that basketball, more than either of the other big two sports (baseball and football), is a game of adrenaline. Especially in a regular season game without the emotional buildup inherent in, say, ESPN's telecast of the Clippers-Heat, the team that collectively expends the most energy probably wins. Consider that the Kings yet again managed only 13 assists and committed 16 turnovers, yet entered the fourth quarter tied and made plays when necessary. Again, stats means more in baseball and football.

A few other thoughts:

• When he worries less about scoring, little Isaiah Thomas is a very creative playmaker.

• Jimmer Fredette is the Kings best shooter. When he stops forcing shots and trying to do too much with the ball - AND his teammates start setting him up for open jumpers - all parties will benefit.

• It sounds crazy given his assists/turnover ratio (five turnovers, zero assists tonight), but DeMarcus Cousins is an amazing passer. When are we going to see this part of his game?

• I love coach Keith Smart's theories on conditioning. There is no comparison between the teams that are in terrific shape (Bulls, Heat, Lakers, etc.), and those that aren't (Kings, among others.) We know about the struggles of Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Donte Greene, but the Kings have to be hoping that newcomer Chuck Hayes sheds at least 20 pounds while on the disabled list. So, again, what exactly where these guys doing (eating?) during the lockout? And how much were they paying their personal trainers? Just wondering.

January 11, 2012
In-game blog: Kings defeat Raptors for first road win of the season

FINAL
Kings 98 Raptors 91

TORONTO - Led by a dominant game from DeMarcus Cousins and the bench play of rookie Isaiah Thomas, the Kings won their first road game of the season.

Cousins scored 21 points to go with a career-high 19 rebounds. Thomas had a season-high 20 points and six assists.

Tyreke Evans added 29 points for the Kings, who have Thursday off before playing at Houston Friday.

The Kings (4-7) are now 2-2 under coach Keith Smart.

The Kings still aren't shooting well (37 percent) but the Raptors weren't much better (43 percent). The Kings made up for that by making 31-of-34 from the free throw line.

Andrea Bargnani did not finish the game for the Raptors because of a strained left calf. Leandro Barbosa led Toronto with 24 points.


January 11, 2012
Kings at Toronto: Five things to watch

TORONTO - The Washington Wizards are no longer winless after playing the Kings' opponent tonight, the Toronto Raptors.

Will the Raptors cure what ails the Kings? Here are five things to look for tonight at Air Canada Centre:

January 11, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings travel to Toronto after blowout to 76ers

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Sacramento Kings' Isaiah Thomas, left, and Tyreke Evans sit on the bench in the final minutes of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 112-85. Matt Slocum. Associated Press.


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January 11, 2012
The Morning After: Jimmer trying to find his way

(Apologies. Crazy travel day and this entire post did not show up. It should all be here now).

PHILADELPHIA - Ten games into his NBA career there are still some expecting Jimmer Fredette to be the savior of the Kings.

It's really not fair.

Fredette is in the midst of adjusting to the NBA game. Throw in a coaching change after seven games, an NBA lockout and a short training camp, it's been a hectic month or so of NBA life for Fredette.

January 11, 2012
Kings don't deserve a 'pass'

After watching the Kings earlier this evening and then speaking with my colleague, Jason Jones, who was forced to endure the team's miserable effort against the Philadelphia 76ers, I felt compelled to check the updated stats. The numbers just get worse. The Kings assist totals are simply horrific: In 10 games, they are averaging 14.4 assists to the opposition's 25.2 - a differential of 10.8, by far the worst in the league. So, again, I will revisit my initial reservation about the 2011-12 roster: A starting lineup featuring Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins ... and one basketball. Good luck.

January 10, 2012
In-game blog: Kings blown out to start five-game road trip

FINAL
76ers 112, Kings 85

PHILADELPHIA - Behind the solid play of Elton Brand (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (17 points, eight assists, four steals), the 76ers (7-2) cruised to their sixth consecutive win.

The Kings (3-7) lost for their second game in a row and dropped to 1-2 under new coach Keith Smart.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Tyreke Evans has 15 points for the Kings, who played without injured starters Marcus Thornton (left thigh contusion) and Chuck Hayes (dislocated left shoulder)

The Kings shot 39.5 percent after shooting better than 50 percent for a game Sunday for the first time this season. The 76ers shot 56.6 percent for the game.


January 10, 2012
Jimmer starts for injured Marcus Thornton

PHILADELPHIA -- Guard Marcus Thornton (left thigh contusion) will miss tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rookie Jimmer Fredette will make his first start of the regular season in place of Thornton.

Fredette will handle point guard duties, though Tyreke Evans will still initiate the offense too.

Thornton leads the Kings in scoring at 18.7 points per game.

January 10, 2012
Kings at 76ers: Five things to watch

PHILADELPHIA - Tonight the Kings begin their longest road trip of the early season. It's a five-game trip that begins with tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers and ends next Monday at Philadelphia.

Here are five things to look for when the Kings take on the 76ers:

January 10, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings begin five-game road trip in Philadelphia

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PHOTO CREDIT: Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) battles for a rebound with Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball game of Friday in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 96-73. Matt Slocum. Associated Press.


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January 9, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings fail to take advantage of Howard's foul trouble

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PHOTO CREDIT: The Sacramento Kings Jason Thompson, (34) and Dwight Howard, (12) against the Orlando Magic on Sunday at Power Balance Pavilion. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.


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January 9, 2012
The Morning After: DeMarcus Cousins fights the urge to reach

The message has been consistent from everyone to DeMarcus Cousins when it comes to fouls.

"Stop reaching," Cousins said. "Every time I see them hold the ball out I've just got to go for it. That's something I've got to continue to work on and stop picking up the cheap fouls."

Foul trouble kept Cousins out for a significant part of the fourth quarter in Sunday's 104-97 loss to the Orlando Magic.

Cousins picked up his fifth foul with 6:53 left in the third quarter. He didn't go back into the game until there was 4:48 left in the game.

January 8, 2012
Kings fall to Magic, 104-97

Kings coach Keith Smart addresses the media following his team's loss to the Orlando Magic.

The Magic used a 13-5 run to pull away late in the fourth quarter and beat the Kings, 104-97, at Power Balance Pavilion.

After falling behind by nine points in the third, the Kings rallied to take an 85-84 lead on a layup by Tyreke Evans with 7:26 left in the game.

But with the game tied at 87-87, Jason Richardson hit a three-pointer to start the Magic's late run.

The Kings (3-6) put Magic center Dwight Howard in early foul trouble, and Howard finished with just 5 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes. But Orlando's bench picked up the slack, contributing 42 points, including 20 from Glen Davis.

January 8, 2012
Smart: Kings should stay aggressive against Magic, Howard

The Kings have been one of the league's most active teams in getting to the free-throw line. Coach Keith Smart said they ought to stay aggressive today against an Orlando Magic team anchored in the middle by Dwight Howard.

"We can't think of attacking the rim to attack Howard," Smart said. "We have to attack the rim with the idea that we're going to force their defense to move, knowing that he's going to be lurking around somewhere.

"He's going to be there but if we attack and be aggressive that puts pressure on the defense, and if we can do that then our guys will have some good shots."

January 8, 2012
Power Rankings: Heat remain hot

My unofficial look at the NBA. All records are through Saturday night's games.

1. Miami Heat (8-1, Last week, 1) - The Heat can win without Wade ... and LeBron.
2. Chicago Bulls (7-2, LW 3) - Derrick Rose and Co. aren't conceding the East to the South Beach N.W.O.


January 8, 2012
Chat live with Matt Kawahara: Kings vs. Magic

January 8, 2012
Tip Sheet: Emerging Ryan Anderson returns home with Magic

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PHOTO CREDIT: Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson (33) drives past Houston Rockets defender Marcus Morris during second-quarter action at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 26, 2011. Joshua C. Cruey. Orlando Sentinel/MCT.


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January 8, 2012
Kings-Magic: Five things to watch

The Kings (3-5) try to improve to 2-0 under head coach Keith Smart today when they play the Orlando Magic (5-3) at 3 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. The Kings want to push the pace on offense. Having had only a few days to start introducing his offense, Smart said he wants to keep things simple in games for the time being and give his players some freedom to trust their instincts and athleticism on the offensive end. The Kings' players seem to like that. DeMarcus Cousins said he had "fun" in the Kings' win over Milwaukee on Thursday, and Marcus Thornton describes it as the Kings are "just playing." They will likely try to push the pace, as Smart believes the Kings can and should run more to create easy scoring opportunities.

January 7, 2012
Saturday practice: Smart implementing offense

Kings coach Keith Smart addresses the media following Saturday's practice.

As he begins to install his offensive and defensive schemes eight games into a shortened season, Kings coach Keith Smart said today he introduced "concepts" to players in practice but plans to keep things simple during games for the time being.

"As I told them, I'm giving you a lot of things today just to give you a concept of it, but I won't have you confused in a game," Smart said after practice. "I'll keep it very simple in the games for you to play with your freedom and space."

One aspect that players are finding immediately apparent is a faster tempo.

"We're running," said guard Marcus Thornton. "We're running and getting the ball to open guys. We're just playing. The main thing (Smart) preached today was freedom. Don't get too crazy with it, but we have freedom to do our thing and have fun with it."

Smart has said he believes the Kings can and should run more, but said players have work to do in terms of getting into the necessary shape. Ideally, he said, that will come with building habits in practice and games.

Smart offered this on the Kings' potential:

January 7, 2012
Tip Sheet: Writing was on the wall for Westphal, analysts say

Keith Smart.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Smart responds to questions in his first press conference after replacing coach Paul Westphal before Thursday night's game between the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks at Power Balance Pavilion. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.


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January 6, 2012
Tip Sheet: Resilient Kings win first game for Keith Smart

KeithSmart.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: Kings center DeMarcus Cousins hugs Keith Smart after the team came from behind to beat the Bucks in Smart's first game as head coach. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.


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January 6, 2012
Chuck Hayes out 3-4 weeks

The Kings announced Chuck Hayes will miss three to four weeks because of a dislocated left shoulder.

Hayes was injured in the second quarter of Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

J.J. Hickson or Jason Thompson figure to take Hayes' place in the starting lineup.

January 6, 2012
The Morning After: How Keith Smart did not end up in Dallas

Keith Smart knew he'd be on a coaching staff once the NBA lockout ended.

Smart didn't think it would be with the Kings.

Smart's plan during the lockout was to accept a position on Rick Carlisle's staff with the Dallas Mavericks.

January 6, 2012
Kings, Westphal, Late-nght leftovers

So, after another eventful night (and yet another coaching change) at Power Balance Pavilion, here are a few late-night thoughts, quotes, observations:

• Considering the Kings were playing their fifth game in six nights and their first under new head coach Keith Smart, their comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks was impressive. Other than the 2010-11 finale against the Lakers, we haven't seen this type of emotion in the arena in a long time.

• If anyone needed further evidence that Joe and Gavin Maloof give team president Geoff Petrie an inordinate amount of autonomy, consider that the Kings co-owners were informed of Paul Westphal's statement regarding DeMarcus Cousins' one-game suspension long after the fact. But the thing about the Maloofs: Hard to believe, but they do leave the basketball decisions to the basketball people. They can be upset about the statement in one moment - totally taking up for Cousins - and then change their minds in an instant, insisting that the coaches have to maintain order and discipline in another.

• My biggest question about the Westphal Era remains this: Why the sudden public anti-Cousins campaign? I still haven't heard anything to convince me the second-year center has done anything more offensive than act like a goofy, immature 12-year-old in the locker room or occasionally mouth off. In fact, I think Cousins has made terrific progress in terms of conditioning, postgame locker room demeanor (when the media is admitted) and his attitude in general. I still don't get it. Career suicide. Plus, if we want to talk about selfishness these last two-plus seasons, let's talk the entire Kings roster.

• Expect more playing time for Jimmer Fredette. He can shoot, and it appears, he can create plays.

• With his late defense on Brandon Jennings, the long-armed, quick-fisted Evans once again demonstrated that he can be a superb, game-changing, on-ball defender.

• Finally, it was interesting the way Smart implemented sets to offset the Kings' poor passing and movement. Everyone is getting touches and shots, which keeps all the players happy. Energy, effort, defensive commitment and spacing can overcome a lot of deficiencies. Make the pass ... and then the extra pass ... and then move and let the ball come back. Are these Kings capable of learning? Imagine a fastbreak where the ball doesn't dent the floor? I have covered the NBA since 1981, and I can't remember a team that made the game so unnecessarily difficult ...

January 6, 2012
Hayes organized players-only meeting after Denver loss

Kings coach Keith Smart did not have an update on Chuck Hayes' condition following the Kings' 103-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, saying that Hayes would likely have an MRI on his separated left shoulder tonight or sometime Friday.

Hayes was injured in the second quarter fouling Bucks center Drew Gooden, who was making a move to the basket.

He went down to the floor for several minutes before getting up and walking off the court while grimacing visibly and holding his left arm steady across his front.

The Kings' veteran and vocal leader played 8 minutes and 40 seconds in the win before exiting with 5:59 left in the first half. But according to Smart and several players, Hayes' impact on the game began well before tip-off.

Hayes organized a players-only meeting Thursday morning to watch and critique game film following the Kings' 110-83 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, which dropped them to 2-5 to start the season.

January 5, 2012
Kings rally in second half to defeat Bucks, 103-100

Kings head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Keith Smart's tenure as head coach of the Kings began in rousing fashion Thursday night as the Kings came from 21 points down at halftime to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 103-100, at Power Balance Pavilion.

It had already been a hectic day around the Kings organization, as the team announced this morning it had fired head coach Paul Westphal, then named Smart the Kings' new head coach just hours before tip-off.

After a sluggish second quarter in which they scored just 12 points, the Kings trailed the Bucks by a score of 58-37 at halftime.

But the Kings cut the deficit to 14 points at the end of the third quarter and outscored the Bucks 35-18 in the final period to complete a furious comeback in front of a crowd of 11,813 at Power Balance Pavilion.

January 5, 2012
Chuck Hayes leaves game with dislocated left shoulder

Kings forward/center Chuck Hayes left tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second quarter with a dislocated left shoulder.

Tyreke Evans made four free throws in the final minute to finish with 26 points, and Sacramento overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to stun the Milwaukee Bucks 103-100 on Thursday night hours after the Kings fired coach Paul Westphal. Read more.

Hayes was injured extending his arm and colliding with Bucks center Drew Gooden.

Hayes stayed down on the court for a few minutes before leaving the court with medical staff.

January 5, 2012
Video: Keith Smart press conference

Keith Smart addresses the media after being named the new head coach of the Kings.

* Smart said he will treat the coming days as a training camp. "I'm going to go into it with the idea of, 'Who would be my starters?' and work from there. Unfortunately we're in the middle of a season, and don't have the kind of time we need, but I'm going to focus on the team that I put out there on the floor tonight and see where they go."

* Smart said communication with players is one of his strong suits.

* Smart said the Kings have a skill set conducive to a running team, but that fostering that kind of offensive identity will be a process.

January 5, 2012
Video: Geoff Petrie press conference

Geoff Petrie addresses the media regarding the Kings' coaching change.

Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations, announced at a news conference this afternoon that Keith Smart has been named the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

The team announced earlier today that former head coach Paul Westphal had been fired following the Kings' 2-5 start to the 2011-12 season.

* Petrie said he talked with Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof "at length" on Wednesday and recommended that the coaching change "was probably necessary."

* Petrie downplayed the idea that a rift between Westphal and DeMarcus Cousins was a deciding factor in the decision to fire Westphal. "A lot of this goes to the greater areas of the way the team is playing and the performance levels of a lot of the players on the team beyond DeMarcus," Petrie said.

* Petrie said of Smart: "We think he's the best guy for the job right now."

January 5, 2012
Chat live with Matt Kawahara: Kings vs. Bucks

January 5, 2012
Kings name Keith Smart new head coach

The Kings announced Keith Smart is their new head coach, not the interim coach, after firing Paul Westphal this morning.

Tyreke Evans made four free throws in the final minute to finish with 26 points, and Sacramento overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to stun the Milwaukee Bucks 103-100 on Thursday night hours after the Kings fired coach Paul Westphal. Read more.

Smart, 47, was 36-46 coaching the Golden State Warriors last season. Smart joined the Kings coaching staff as an assistant coach this season.

"I had a chance to work for Paul Westphal in the brief time that I've been here and really enjoyed it," said Smart in a statement. "He was very supportive every step of the way. I want to thank Geoff Petrie and the Maloof family for giving me this opportunity. I'm looking forward to implementing a few new things with what we want to try to do with our basketball team. Hopefully, they'll respond to what I want them to do, and I believe they will. I think our players will be excited with some of the ideas that I have for our team moving forward."


January 5, 2012
Kings-Bucks: Five things to watch

There will be plenty of things to watch tonight when the Kings play the Milwaukee Bucks at Power Balance Pavilion, and one notable absence.

The Kings announced earlier today the team had fired head coach Paul Westphal, and that assistant coach Keith Smart will coach the team tonight. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

How will the players respond to Keith Smart? A new voice, a new presence. The Kings need something to snap them out of a serious early funk that has them 2-5. Effort and energy have been challenged, and apparent communication breakdowns over the offensive system were a point of tension and frustration through the first seven games. Smart takes the helm tonight - the Kings have not officially announced for how long - and will be tasked with kick-starting an idling team. Which brings us to ...

Will the Kings show any energy tonight? This has been a recurring theme for the Kings since the second game of the season, but it is thrown into sharper relief tonight at the end of a five-games-in-six-days stretch. The Kings were in Memphis 48 hours ago and Denver 24 hours ago, and it will be interesting to see how much is left in their legs against the Bucks. Bench production may be key, particularly if Tyreke Evans has not fully recovered from whatever was ailing him last night when he reportedly vomited at halftime.

January 5, 2012
Paul Westphal's time in Sacramento

A look at Paul Westphal's two-plus seasons as Sacramento Kings coach.

2009

June 9 -
After Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis turns down their offer, the Kings hire Paul Westphal as their 11th (non-interim) coach in Sacramento history. He signs a three-year contract that pays him $1.5 million (among the league's lowest) annually in the first two seasons. The third is a team option at $2 million.

Nov. 2 - After an 0-3 start on the road, Westphal wins his first game as Kings coach with a 127-116 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Arco Arena.

January 5, 2012
Shootaround report: Bucks shorthanded and Udrih returns to Sacramento

The Kings are catching yet another team that is missing some key components tonight in the Milwaukee Bucks, who will be without center Andrew Bogut (personal reasons) and swingman Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (groin).

On their recent two-day road trip, the Kings played the Grizzlies without forward Zach Randolph, and the Nuggets without starting center Nene. The Kings lost both games by double-digit margins.

Bogut averaged 14.3 points and 10 rebounds in the Bucks' first four games before leaving the team prior to its loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Drew Gooden is expected to start for the Bucks (2-3) at center tonight.

Former Kings guard Beno Udrih's status for the game is uncertain.

Udrih sustained a left shoulder sprain in the Bucks' game against the Jazz. He wasn't participating in the team's shootaround this morning -- during which the news broke that the Kings had fired head coach Paul Westphal -- but he did reflect a little on returning to Sacramento, where he played the last four seasons.

January 5, 2012
Kings schedule news conference at 5:15 pm with Keith Smart

Want to find out what assistant coach Keith Smart thinks about being promoted to head coach for tonight's game against the Bucks?

The Kings will have two news conferences this afternoon - 5 p.m. with basketball president Geoff Petrie and 5:15 p.m. with Smart - at Power Balance Pavilion in the aftermath of todays' firing of Paul Westphal as head coach.

We'll be there with reporters, photographers and video, so please check back for updates.

Plus, columnist Marcos Breton will be on a live chat 6 p.m.-7 p.m. and Matt Kawahara will host tonight's in-game live chat beginning just before tipoff. Check out both here on the Kings Blog beginning at 6 p.m.

January 5, 2012
Sacramento Kings fire coach Paul Westphal

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PHOTO CREDIT: Former Kings coach Paul Westphal answers questions about center DeMarcus Cousins before Sunday night's game between the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Hornets at Power Balance Pavilion. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.


Kings coach Paul Westphal was fired earlier this morning by basketball president Geoff Petrie. Assistant Keith Smart will coach tonight's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

LIVE CHAT REPLAY: Ailene Voisin takes reader questions on the Westphal firing

In two-plus seasons, Westphal compiled a 51-120 record, winning 25 and 24 games in the previous two seasons. The Kings take a 2-5 record into tonight's game at Power Balance Pavilion.

January 5, 2012
Chat live with Ailene Voisin: Kings fire coach Paul Westphal

January 5, 2012
Tip Sheet: Frustration mounting after lopsided losses

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PHOTO CREDIT: Denver Nuggets guard Corey Brewer and Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans go after a loose ball during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday in Denver. Jack Dempsey. Associated Press


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January 5, 2012
The Morning After: Kings have a lot of problems on offense

DENVER - One area the Kings weren't supposed to struggle in was offense this season.

But the Kings are off to a bad start in several offensive categories.

The Kings are 22nd in scoring (92 points per game). The Kings are 29th in field goal percentage (39.2 percent) and are last in assists (13.7 per game).

January 5, 2012
Tension building around Kings

I was supposed to be off for a few days, but given the Kings' shocking collapse, it's hard to stay away. I will address their issues at noon today on The Bee's live chat, but here are a few early thoughts:

• That death-by-dribbling offense is killing me. Twelve assists against the Denver Nuggets? After 13 assists against the Memphis Grizzlies? The only semblance of offensive structure was a basic give-and-go featuring DeMarcus Cousins and Jimmer Fredette. When your rookie and your second-year center are acting like veterans, you're a team in trouble.

• The body language displayed by John Salmons, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, etc., was almost as offensive as the lack of energy/effort/offensive fluidity. When did basketball become a 9-to-5 grind working with widgets on an assembly line? Even the respected Chuck Hayes, who is still significantly overweight, by the way, was inexplicably sloppy.

• For all the flak DeMarcus Cousins has taken nationally since Paul Westphal "suspended" him for the game against New Orleans, partly because he was perceived as being "selfish" for yelling at teammates, the similarly expressive Thornton barks at teammates all the time, often expressing visible displeasure when someone fails to convert one of his passes. Just wondering: so why is that okay?

• More to come. Based on NBA protocol and the Maloofs' growing restlessness, Westphal has an increasingly limited time frame to turn this mess around.

January 4, 2012
In-game blog: Kings can't keep up with Denver, lose big

FINAL
Nuggets 110, Kings 83

DENVER - The Kings were blown out again by a team missing a key player.

The Nuggets (5-2) had no problem with the Kings (2-5) without their key big man, Nene. The Nuggets shot 60.5 percent and scored 68 points in the paint in a dominant showing.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 26 points off the bench. Marcus Thornton had 23 points. The Kings shot 32.6 percent.

Al Harrington led the Nuggets with 15 points. Five Nuggets scored in double figures.


January 4, 2012
Kings at Nuggets: Five things to watch

DENVER - Kings coach Paul Westphal sat his starters in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's loss at Memphis, so the Kings should be an energetic bunch to start tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets.

In three of their four losses the Kings fell behind big in the first quarter and at times looked like a group lacking fire.

That was the case at Memphis. If it happens again, the Kings could lose their fifth game by double digits this season.

The Nuggets won't have starting center Nene, but it remains to be seen if they can take advantage.

With that in mind, here are five things to watch for tonight when the Kings play the Nuggets.

January 4, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings attempt to rebound from loss to Grizzlies

Kings Grizzlies Basketball.JPG

PHOTO CREDIT: Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) scramble for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday in Memphis, Tenn. Jim Weber. Associated Press


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 4, 2012
The Morning After: What DeMarcus Cousins is doing well; what Kings want him to do better

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - If much of rebounding is about effort, DeMarcus Cousins was trying hard Tuesday night.

Cousins grabbed eight rebounds in 22 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies, coming off the bench for the first time this season.

It was Cousins first game back since being excused from Sunday's win against New Orleans over a trade demand he says he never made.

January 3, 2012
In-game blog: Kings routed by Memphis

FINAL
Grizzlies 113, Kings 96

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies dominated the second half, turning a two-point game into a blowout.

Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 23 points and O.J. Mayo had 20 points off the bench.

Jimmer Fredtte led the Kings with 17 points. Isaiah Thomas added 15 points off the bench.

The Kings were dominated inside, giving up 72 points in the paint, even though the Grizzlies played without injured star Zach Randolph.

The Kings also had 19 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Grizzlies.

January 3, 2012
Shootaround report: New Kings lineup catches another team without its star

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kings coach Paul Westphal is still staying good things about the Kings starting lineup with J.J. Hickson replacing DeMarcus Cousins.

"I think it's a good lineup for us," Westphal said. "We looked very good when we've gone to the line up and I think it will be good."

The Kings beat the New Orleans Hornets Sunday with that starting lineup, though I'm sure the Hornets would like to point out they were without Eric Gordon, their best player.

And this version of the Kings starting lineup catches another break tonight. The Memphis Grizzlies star power forward Zach Randolph is expected to sit out tonight because of a knee injury.

"Zach takes a ton of focus and really nobody in the league has been stopping that guy no matter how much you focus on him," Westphal said. "He's really one of the devastating, low post, midrange presences that this league has."

January 3, 2012
Tip Sheet: Cousins returns, will not start against Grizzlies

JV_KINGS_KNICKS 182.JPG

PHOTO CREDIT: Kings coach Paul Westphal and center DeMarcus Cousins talk during Saturday's loss to New York. Their relationship has been frosty. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 3, 2012
Kings at Grizzlies: Five things to watch

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Here are five things to look for when the Kings face the Memphis Girzzlies tonight.

1. Bounce in their step
The Kings looked energetic for the first time since the season opener in beating the New Orleans Hornets Sunday. That will be needed again. The Kings are too young look lethargic, especially this early in the season.

2. Grizzlies from three
The Lakers and Hornets shot a combined 1-of-31 on three pointers against the Kings in losing at Sacramento.

3. DMC's role
The Kings are still at their best with DeMarcus Cousins fully engaged and involved. How long will Cousins sit before Paul Westphal puts him in the game?

4. Perimeter defense
Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo have given the Kings problems in recent years. The Kings will look to John Salmons and Tyreke Evans to help slow them down.

5. Free throws
The Kings made 18-of-21 free throws Sunday after struggle to make 60 percent of their free throws through four games.

January 2, 2012
Cousins still denies asking to be traded, will not start Tuesday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie decided DeMarcus Cousins should join the Kings for their two-game road trip that begins Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Petrie met with Cousins and his agent, John Greig, Monday before the team flew to Memphis.

"We talked about the important role he play in what we're trying to do offensively an the gamut of what he needs to do going forward," Petrie said. "...We did not agree on everything but that's OK."

January 2, 2012
Tip Sheet: Kings beat Hornets after Cousins told to stay home

PaulWestphal.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: Kings coach Paul Westphal answers questions about center DeMarcus Cousins before Sunday night's game between the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Hornets at Power Balance Pavilion. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.


We're here to feed your need for Sacramento Kings news. Each day, we'll highlight news, features and analysis from around the Web.

January 2, 2012
Cousins traveling with Kings to Memphis

By Bee Staff

DeMarcus Cousins is traveling with the Kings to Memphis today, Cousins' agent, John Greig, told The Bee's Jason Jones.

Cousins was sent home before the Kings' game against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. The Kings released a statement from coach Paul Westphal saying Cousins demanded a trade following the Kings' loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday -- a claim Cousins' agent has denied.

The Kings play at Memphis on Tuesday. Check back for more on this story as it develops.

January 2, 2012
Garcia gives Kings a boost in his season debut

One of the loudest cheers of the night at Power Balance Pavilion on Sunday went up at the beginning of the second quarter, as it was announced that Francisco Garcia had checked into the game.

Garcia, the longest-tenured player on the Kings, made his season debut in the Kings' 96-80 win over the Hornets and finished with six points and two rebounds.

Garcia started 34 games for the Kings last season but had not appeared during the team's 1-3 start this season.

"It's been a long time, but it feels good," Garcia said after the game. "It feels good to be back, be with my teammates."

January 2, 2012
The Morning After: Tyreke Evans vows to be himself on the court

Tyreke Evans was admittedly in a funk.

He was thinking too much on the court

Free throws became impossible to make at times. But Evans made 9-of-18 shots in scoring a game-high 27 points to help the Kings beat the New Orleans Hornets Sunday night.

Evans also only missed one of his eight free throws after entering the game 13-of-27.

"Fans, coaches expect me to be better," Evans said. "I felt like I let people down by the way I was coming out. The Laker game I showed I could play great and I've got to play great every night. From here on out I've got to push myself to be a great player and help my team win."

Kings coach Paul Westphal began the preseason by saying Evans looked "sluggish" and criticized his turnovers in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Evans said after a talk with Westphal, he was encouraged to just have fun and not think so much.

His effort Sunday was a result of that talk.

"I'm a basketball player," Evans said. "I know what I can do on that court and coach knows as well. Maybe he might have felt that, maybe he was right. I know once the lights are on I'm going to give it 150 percent whether I have a bad game or not. I'm still going to try to play hard every night."

January 2, 2012
Kings-Hornets notes: Free-throw shooting improves

The Kings, dreadful from the free-throw line through their first four games, made 18 of their first 19 free-throw attempts against the New Orleans Hornets and finished 18-of-21.

The Kings entered the game making a league-worst 61.4 percent of their free throws.

Guard Tyreke Evans, one of the most troubled players at the line in the previous two games, made 7 of 8 attempts in the Kings' 96-80 win over the Hornets. Evans said after the game he tweaked his form at the line.

"I had one foot on the line at first," Evans said. "I just put both my feet in front of me, just go straight up, follow through, and it was going in the basket."

The Hornets, meanwhile, made just 8-of-16 free throws, a statistic that will probably be overshadowed by their 0-of-15 mark on three-pointers.

* Evans and Chuck Hayes both said after the game that they planned to reach out to DeMarcus Cousins.

January 1, 2012
Evans, Thornton lead Kings to 96-80 win over Hornets

Tyreke Evans had his best performance of the early season with 27 points and Marcus Thornton added 25 points as the Kings beat the New Orleans Hornets, 96-80, at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Kings were playing without DeMarcus Cousins, who coach Paul Westphal said was told to stay home after Cousins asked to be traded following the Kings' loss to the Knicks on Saturday night.

The win snapped a three-game skid and eased some of the frustration from the Kings' loss Saturday night, as the Kings prepare for a back-to-back-to-back stretch that starts Tuesday in Memphis.

After trailing 40-38 at halftime, the Kings' offense woke up to score 58 points and record 11 of their 16 assists in the second half. Evans provided a spark out of halftime by scoring 13 of his points in the third quarter.

January 1, 2012
Live in-game chat with Matt Kawahara: Kings vs. Hornets

January 1, 2012
Westphal: Cousins asked to be traded twice

Kings coach Paul Westphal said he told DeMarcus Cousins to stay home from tonight's game after Cousins asked to be traded last night for the second time this season.

Cousins was among several Kings players who were visibly frustrated with the Kings' recent three-game skid when addressing reporters following the 114-92 loss to the New York Knicks last night.

Westphal said Cousins later told Westphal he wanted to be traded. The Kings' second-year center had already asked for a trade earlier this season, Westphal said.

Cousins' agent, John Greig, told The Bee earlier today that it is "absolutely not true that DeMarcus or I demanded a trade. We need to find out what the position of the organization is. Nobody has talked to me and I would look forward to talking to the Maloofs."

Westphal said the fact that Cousins demanded a trade is "simply true," and said that, "It's silly to have the agent deny it just because he didn't get a call before DeMarcus talked to me."

The Kings released a statement from Westphal shortly after 3 p.m. today in which Westphal said Cousins had been directed to stay home from the Kings' game against the New Orleans Hornets tonight.

January 1, 2012
Cousins told to stay home tonight

No one was happy after Saturday night's 114-92 loss to the Knicks - not the Kings players, not coach Paul Westphal and certainly not the fans.

We're not quite sure what happened after The Bee's Jason Jones, Ailene Voisin and Matthew Kawahara left Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday night, but The Kings issued this interesting statement from Westphal at 3:21 p.m. today:

STATEMENT FROM KINGS HEAD COACH PAUL WESTPHAL

"Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction. As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life!
"As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.
"Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public. This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.
"DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight."

According to Cousins' agent, John Greig, Cousins never asked to be traded.

Come back for updates throughout the afternoon as this story develops.
-Tom Couzens

January 1, 2012
Kings-Hornets: Five things to watch

The Kings will try to snap a three-game skid against the New Orleans Hornets tonight at 6 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game.

1. What will the offense look like? It's the biggest issue facing the Kings right now, embodied by a frustrated Tyreke Evans saying after last night's loss to the Knicks that the Kings "look lost" trying to run their new offense and are "playing off our natural talent" in order to score points. That is manifesting itself in a lot of dribble-drives and one-on-one basketball, and not much movement with or off the ball. Cohesion is key, but it has been lacking.

2. Avoiding another early deficit is important. Both the Bulls and Knicks jumped out to large early leads at Power Balance Pavilion and exposed coach Paul Westphal's concern that the Kings are not relying on each other when things get tough. Westphal said the Kings must take it upon themselves to play hard from the opening tip. The Bulls and Knicks both shot 56.5 percent in the first quarter against the Kings. Likely not every team will be that efficient.

January 1, 2012
Power rankings: Heat on the Rise

The Miami Heat have been impressive. Of course, no one will care unless the Heat can win a championship. But for now, they're dominating the regular season, as expected.

1. Miami Heat (4-0, Last week, 2) - Three road wins, including a blowout of Dallas has the Heat looking good.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-0, LW, 3)- Kevin Durant beats Dallas at the buzzer in an exciting early-season game.
3. Chicago Bulls (3-1, LW 4)- Bulls beat Lakers and Clippers in L.A. in the same week.
4. San Antonio Spurs (3-1, LW 8) - Will back-to-backs be too much on this veteran-laden team.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (3-2, LW 5) - Winners of three in a row got a big boost from the return of center Andrew Bynum (29 points, 13 rebounds) after his four-game suspension
6. Portland Trail Blazers (3-0, LW 11) - Frontcourt of Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby and LaMarcus Aldridge is among the best in the league..
7. Dallas Mavericks (1-3, LW 1)- Mavs finally picked up a win after an 0-3 start, that included losing to OKC at the buzzer.
8. Memphis Grizzles (1-2, LW 8) - No shame in losing to San Antonio and OKC to start the season.
9. Boston Celtics (1-3, LW 8) - Paul Pierce is back. The wins should follow.
10. Los Angeles Clippers (1-2, LW 9) - Spurs and Bulls reminded Clippers last week they have a way to go before being contenders.
11. New York Knicks (2-2, LW 10) - The road wasn't kind to the Knicks until their stop in Sacramento
12. Orlando Magic (3-1, LW 15) - Oak Ridge High School and Cal product Ryan Anderson has played well.
13. Houston (2-2, LW 12) - Ended the week beating the Spurs and Hawks.
14. Atlanta Hawks (3-1, LW 13) - Joe Johnson rumored to be included in trade offer for Dwight Howard. But would anyone deal for Johnson's big contract?
15. Indiana Pacers (3-1, LW 16) - Big week for Pacers with games at Miami and Boston.
16. Denver Nuggets (2-2, LW 14) - Oh, if Danilo Gallinari makes that lay up, Denver might be 3-1 with a win over the Lakers.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (2-1, LW 17) - Haven't allowed 100 points to start the season.
18. Philadelphia 76ers (2-2, LW 18) - Former King Spencer Hawes has shown some good things on the court this season.
19. Golden State Warriors (2-2, LW 21) - Wins over Chicago and New York that featured good defense have fans in the Bay Area excited.
20. New Orleans Hornets (2-1, LW 26) - Carl Landry has stepped up with Eric Gordon out with a knee injury.
21. Phoenix Suns (1-3, LW 19) - Suns haven't scored 100 points yet this season.
22. Charlotte Bobcats (1-2, LW 24) - Gerald Henderson nearly dealt the Heat their first loss of the season.
23. Utah Jazz (1-3, LW 20) - Took a beating against some of the West's elite teams.
24. Toronto Raptors (1-3, LW 29) -Andrea Bargani played well even though the Raptors lost at Dallas.
25. Detroit Pistons (1-3, LW 28) - Ended week with their first win of the season.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2, LW 30) - Played Indiana tough before losing in overtime.
27. Sacramento Kings (1-3, LW 22) - Three double-digit losses in a row has team in a funk.
28. New Jersey Nets (1-3, LW 27) -It won't be pretty as long as Brook Lopez is out.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (0-3, LW 25) - Gave the Heat a good game, and Kevin Love is still very good.
30. Washington Wizards (0-3, LW 23) - Nick Young's new haircut hasn't led to any wins yet.

January 1, 2012
The Morning After: Young Kings lacking energy

The Los Angeles Lakers left Power Balance Pavilion with a loss six days ago. But it seems as if they also took the Kings' energy with them.

The Kings have looked flat in their last 10 quarters of basketball. It began just before halftime in Portland and has carried over in consecutive home losses to Chicago and New York.

There's no shame in losing to the Bulls. The Knicks are also a good team. But being down by almost 30 points to a Knicks team without Amar'e Stoudemire, lacking depth in the backcourt and being lit up by Josh Harrellson?



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