Kings Blog and Q&A

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

December 31, 2012
Brooks practices, Thornton still out

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Aaron Brooks (sore left ankle) participated in practice tonight and is expected to play Tuesday night when the Kings play the Detroit Pistons.

Brooks sat out Sunday win with the injury.

But you won't be seeing Marcus Thornton tomorrow night.

Kings coach Keith Smart said it would take a "miracle" for Thornton to play with his sprained left ankle.

Thornton was in a walking boot tonight and still moving gingerly on his ankle.

"He's still ginger, he's still tender," Smart said of Thornton. "It was amazing that it was just a sprain because it was one of those deals where might see it broken."


December 31, 2012
Tyreke Evans to seek second opinion on sore knee in Los Angeles

Kings guard Tyreke Evans will see Dr. Steve Lombardo in Los Angeles on Wednesday for a second opinion on his sore left knee, the team announced this morning.

Lombardo is the team physician for the Los Angeles Lakers and specializes in shoulders, elbows and knees.

Evans did not travel with the team for their four-game road trip that starts Tuesday in Detroit. The team charter flight was due to leave Sacramento at 10 a.m.

Evans has played in only 18 games because of his knee. He'd targeted Sunday's game against Boston to return.

Evans is averaging 15.1 points, second on the Kings this season.

December 31, 2012
Tyreke Evans to seek second opinion on sore knee in Los Angeles

Kings guard Tyreke Evans will see Dr. Steve Lombardo in Los Angeles on Wednesday for a second opinion on his sore left knee, the team announced this morning.

Lombardo is the team physician for the Los Angeles Lakers and specializes in shoulders, elbows and knees.

Evans did not travel with the team for their four-game road trip that starts Tuesday in Detroit. The team charter flight was due to leave Sacramento at 10 a.m.

Evans has played in only 18 games because of problems with his knee. He'd targeted Sunday's game against Boston to return.

Evans is averaging 15.1 points per game, second on the Kings this season.

December 31, 2012
The Morning After: Isaiah Thomas energizes the Kings again

So ... do you think Isaiah Thomas is comfortable back in the starting lineup?

"If you want to say that," Thomas said. "I'm just out there playing basketball, trying to make plays and trying to be aggressive."

Thomas was a point off his career high with 27 points in Sunday's 118-96 win over the Boston Celtics. It was his second consecutive start after losing the job after nine games this season.

With Aaron Brooks dealing with a sore left ankle, Thomas might not be giving up the starting point guard job anytime soon.

"That guy has an infectious personality," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "He has that magnetism that brings players and people around to him. He brought that energy to start the game off right with him in the starting lineup. All of our guards do a great job, but what he has been able to do is to kind of give us a little injection of the steam that we need. He's done that, plus he's making his shots."

Thomas' play as a rookie earned him two Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards and helped the Kings move Tyreke Evans from point guard.

Maybe Thomas will be key in keeping the Kings from floundering at the bottom of the standings the rest of the season.

*James Johnson had another productive game off the bench (10 points, six rebounds, three assists). Jimmer Fredette had 10 points and five assists off the bench. This could be a trend to watch with the Kings without as many as three guards going into Tuesday's game at Detroit.

Tyreke Evans won't play while the status of Brooks and Marcus Thornton's status is in question.

*The Kings have had leads of as many as 26 points in back-to-back games.

*After a miserable start at home in November, the Kings were 6-1 at home in December.

*The normally woeful-shooting Kings are 25-for-50 on three pointers in their last two games. They also shot 53.7 percent against Boston. The Kings are 5-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better.


December 30, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Celtics

FINAL
Kings 118, Celtics 96

The Kings (11-19) won their second game in a row led by Isaiah Thomas (27 points, five assists), John Salmons (23 points), Jason Thompson (20 points) and the first career triple-double for DeMarcus Cousins (12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

The 10 assists are a career high for Cousins.

The Kings shot 53.7 percent for the game and registered 28 assists, the fourth consecutive game the Kings have had at least 28 assists.

Paul Pierce led Boston (14-16) with 20 points.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 84, Celtics 73

The Kings lost another guard to injury. Marcus Thornton landed awkwardly after making a three pointer and being fouled by Jason Terry and had to be helped off the court.

The Kings are already without Tyreke Evans and Aaron Brooks tonight.

*The Kings continue to shoot well (50. percent) and get quality looks against the Celtics (48 points in the paint). Jason Thompson has a season-high 20 points to lead the Kings.

*Jeff Green has 16 points to led Boston. The Celtics are shooting 39.4 percent.

*The Celtics shot 33 percent (8 of 24) in the third quarter.

HALFTIME
Kings 54, Celtics 49

Both teams had no problem scoring in the second quarter. Jason Thompson had 13 points to lead Sacramento. John Salmons has 11 points.

*Jason Terry and Jeff Green each have 14 points to lead Boston.

*The Kings have 38 points in the paint to help them shoot 51.2 percent for the game. But they've allowed 15 points off nine turnovers to help keep the Celtics in the game. Boston is shooting 42.9 percent.

*After making a season-high 15 three pointers on Friday, the Kings have made just one of their six threes.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 24, Celtics 18

The Kings probably should have a bigger lead considering they shot 50 percent (11 of 22) while Boston shot 28.6 percent (6 of 21). But the Celtics are hanging around after trailing by 10.

*The Kings outscored Boston 22-8 in the paint.

*Isaiah Thomas has 10 points to lead the Kings. Jason Thompson has eight points. DeMarcus Cousins has four points, four rebounds and four assists. Jeff Green has five points off the bench to lead the Celtics.

*The Kings are without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) again. He'll now seek a second opinion on his knee after targeting tonight's game to make his first appearance since Dec. 16.

*Aaron Brooks (sore left ankle) did not dress for the Kings.

December 29, 2012
The Morning After: Smart explains not going to bench earlier in third quarter

If not for a DeMarcus Cousins steal and a James Johnson three pointer at the buzzer, the Kings likely lose Friday night's game to the New York Knicks.

Then Keith Smart's decision to take "a chance" and not go back to his hot second-unit of Jimmer Fredette, Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks would have been cited by many as the reason the Kings blew a 27-point lead.

Smart explained why he didn't go back to that unit earlier in the third quarter as the Knicks made their run:

"I had to look at the size they still had on the floor. I kind of rolled the dice a little bit, took a chance. We didn't need offense, we needed stops. We needed more stops than anything else. So we didn't need a trio of offense. That group got us off to a tremendous start offensively but we needed guys that could kind of hold down the fort a little bit."

*During the Kings' stagnant stretch, they went to DeMarcus Cousins in the post against Tyson Chandler and got nothing out of it.

Smart said he didn't call for those plays. He's tried to go away from asking Cousins to operate on the block against a set defense, especially against a defender the caliber of Chandler.

Cousins' strength is not his post game, and challenging Chandler wasn't going to work.

"As the point guard I thought I had something but coach kind of got on me," said Isaiah Thomas. "We need to keep the floor spaced and attack from there and then drop it off to the bigs when we do attack."

*Smart did not address why Thomas Robinson didn't play when asked Friday night. The rookie is shooting just 40.4 percent this season, so that might have something to do with it.

Also Johnson played the backup power forward spot Friday night and had 17 points.

December 28, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Knicks

FINAL
Kings 106, Knicks 105

James Johnson's three pointer at the buzzer gave the Kings the win after they'd blown a 27-point lead and trailed by four late in the game.

The Kings scored just 35 points in the second half.

Marcus Thornton led the Kings (10-19) with 18 points. Johnson finished with 17 points.

J.R. Smith led the Knicks (21-9) with 28 points.

The Kings made a season high 15 three pointers for the game.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 87, Knicks 81

No better way to follow up a season high for points in a half than with 16 points in the third quarter, right?

That 27-point lead from the second quarter is long gone. You can thank J.R. Smith, who scored 11 of his 24 points in the third for leading the way.

*Marcus Thornton is up to 18 points to lead the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins has 15 points and eight rebounds. But he also has four fouls.

*Tyson Chandler has controlled the paint with 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks.

*The Kings have a new season high with 12 made three pointers.

HALFTIME
Kings 71, Knicks 50

*The Kings matched their season-high for points in a half with a shooting clinic. The Kings made 10 of 15 threes and are shooting 59.5 percent for the game. The Kings already have 19 assists.

*Jimmer Fredette looked like Vinnie Johnson with 15 points off the bench in the second quarter. Four Kings have scored in double figures.

*The Knicks were led by J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland with 13 points apiece. The Knicks have 10 turnovers, leading to 12 points for the Kings.

*The Kings have only four turnovers.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 32, Knicks 23

DeMarcus Cousins is back in the starting lineup (six points, two rebounds) and Isaiah Thomas is back in the starting lineup (six points, three assists). The Kings used hot shooting on three pointers (4 of 7) to help build a lead.

*Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 11 points. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with eight points.

*The Knicks are without two starters - Raymond Felton (broken finger) and Carmelo Anthony (hyperextended left knee).

*Kings coach Keith Smart gave no indication he'd change his starting point guard before the game. Thomas started the first nine games before Aaron Brooks took over.

*The Knicks missed all six of their three pointers.

December 27, 2012
Critical point for relationship between Smart and Cousins

Friday is the next chance for Kings coach Keith Smart to play his starting center that has missed the last 2 ½ games for disciplinary reasons.

Monitoring when Cousins plays is one thing. The relationship between and Cousins and Smart is something else to watch.

Smart made progress in building a relationship with Cousins after the center's strained relationship with Paul Westphal. Once Cousins didn't trust Westphal, it didn't matter what the coach said, he'd lost Cousins.

So Smart did all he could to build a bond. He visited Cousins at home. Got to know him on a personal level and tried to get to know Cousins as a person, not just a player.

Smart has to be wary of the same situation Westphal dealt with. Not that he'll be fired, as Westphal was after his final spat with Cousins. But with the Kings at 9-19 the locker room is already on edge after every loss.

Add an important and angry player to that, the mix could be toxic.

Also add that Cousins is very big on loyalty. His final straw with Westphal was the press release about his request for a trade (which Cousins maintains he never made).

Cousins felt he tried to be mature with Westphal and he was embarrassed in return.

Not sure how Cousins will deal with being reinstated on Monday only to be told that night he wasn't traveling with team on Tuesday to Portland.

That could be just as embarrassing as being sent home by Westphal for asking to be traded.

Cousins maintains he doesn't want to be traded. But two bad coaching experiences could make the center's new agent, Dan Fegan, put pressure on the Kings to get him out of Sacramento.

How Smart navigates this will be interesting. It doesn't sound like he'll be devoting inordinate time to Cousins.

"You can't tax yourself focusing on one player because you'll get burnt out," Smart said.
"You've got other guys you've got to be responsible for also."

Smart acknowledges this isn't easy. In sports the more talented players get away with things a player at the end of the bench can't attempt.

Smart used the example of a player like Carmelo Anthony being allowed to take shots another player would be benched for attempting.

Cousins presents Smart with challenges not just in that area. But it's also in how he interacts with teammates and coaches.

This all began with an argument between Smart and Cousins that became too personal.

"The focal point for us is to keep having our base coverage rules and when guys step over those particular lines it's going to be tough," Smart said.

*As for tomorrow's game against the New York Knicks, Smart said after practice he knew if Cousins would play but hadn't told him yet. Of course, Smart didn't tell the media, either.

*Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) plans to try and play Sunday when the Kings host the Boston Celtics.

December 27, 2012
The Morning After: Smart still in charge

PORTLAND - DeMarcus Cousins' pockets won with reinstatement, but Keith Smart apparently still has final say over who plays.

I wondered how Smart and the Kings would deal with Cousins sitting on the bench if he were healthy and not playing.

Smart answered that by not bringing Cousins to Portland.

December 26, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Trail Blazers

FINAL
Trail Blazers 109, Kings 91

PORTLAND - The Kings could not overcome a poor second quarter and lost to the Blazers Wednesday night at Rose Garden.

John Salmons led the Kings (9-19) with 19 points.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland (14-13) with 28 points. He also had 12 rebounds. J.J. Hickson added 17 points and 14 rebounds while rookie point guard Damian Lillard had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

After allowing the Kings to record a season-high 31 assists Sunday in Sacramento, Portland had a season-high 31 assists tonight.

The Kings and Blazers split the four-game season series with each team winning a home and road game.

THIRD QUARTER
Trail Blazers 91, Kings 67

*The Kings continue to fall further behind as their shooting continues to slip. After shooting 52.4 percent to start the game, the Kings are now shooting 39.1 percent (25 of 64).

*Portland is dominating the glass with a 41-25 rebounding advantage. J.J. Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge have 25 rebounds between them for Portland. No King has more than six rebounds.

*Aldridge has a game-high 24 points to go with 11 rebounds. Hickson has 17 points and 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard has 11 points and 10 assists.

*John Salmons has 19 points for Sacramento. The only other King in double figures is Jason Thompson with 11 point

HALFTIME
Trail Blazers 62, Kings 44

PORTLAND - The Kings are shooting more like the Kings. After a 6-for-20 showing in the second quarter the Kings are down to 41.5 percent for the game.

*The Blazers are still hot (57.5 percent from the field) have four playes that have scored in double figures. Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge each have 13 points.

*John Salmons led the Kings with 11 points.

*Both teams had eight turnovers but the Kings allowed 14 points off their turnovers while scoring just four off Portland turnovers.

FIRST QUARTER
Trail Blazers 31, Kings 26

PORTLAND - The Kings (52.4 percent) have shot well and already have 10 assists, but the Blazers have been a little better (56.5 percent shooting). The difference has been second-chance points where the Blazers have a 7-0 advantage.

*The Blazers have a 13-6 rebounding advantage, led by LaMarcus Aldridge with five. The Kings are without leading rebounder DeMarcus Cousins, who is not with the team after being reinstated from his suspension Monday.

*John Salmons led the Kings with nine points. Aaron Brooks had six points and four assists.

December 26, 2012
DeMarcus Cousins not with Kings in Portland

PORTLAND - Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is not with the team and will not play against the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was coach Keith Smart's decision not to bring Cousins on the trip.

Cousins was reinstated from an indefinite suspension Monday, but Smart said reinstatement meant Cousins could would be allowed to practice, not necessarily play.

This will be the second game Cousins missed since his verbal altercation at halftime of last Friday's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Smart benched Cousins for the second half of that game and left him in the locker room for the remainder of the game.

The Kings beat the Trail Blazers, 108-96, Sunday without Cousins.

Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) also did not make the trip.

Evans has played in three games since he bumped knees with Andrei Kirilenko Nov. 27. Evans will have missed 10 of the last 13 games because of his knee.


TODAY'S GAME

Kings (9-18) at Trail Blazers (13-13)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Rose Garden, Portland

TV: CSNCA

Radio: KHTK (1140)

PROBABLE STARTERS


KINGS

No. Player Pos.

3 Aaron Brooks G

23 Marcus Thornton G

5 John Salmons F

52 James Johnson F

34 Jason Thompson C

TRAIL BLAZERS

No. Player Pos.

0 Damian Lillard G

18 Victor Claver G

88 Nicolas Batum F

12 LaMarcus Aldridge F

21 J.J. Hickson C

December 24, 2012
Smart says Cousins reinstated, will play 'at some point'

The Kings have reinstated DeMarcus Cousins after indefinitely suspending the third-year center on Saturday.

"He's been reinstated, yes," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "That doesn't mean he's playing right away."

Cousins practiced Monday morning and declined to speak with reporters afterward.

December 24, 2012
Kings reinstate DeMarcus Cousins after suspension

DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended indefinitely by the Kings on Saturday and missed Sunday night's victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, has been reinstated immediately, the team announced this morning.

Cousins practiced with the team and will play at Portland on Wednesday night.

Update: Smart says Cousins reinstated, will play 'at some point'

December 24, 2012
The Morning After: Travis Outlaw shines against the Blazers again

Travis Outlaw has scored in double figures three times this season. Twice that has happened against his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Outlaw scored a season-high 15 points in the Kings 108-96 win over Portland on Sunday.

"They must have did him real wrong," joked Kings coach Keith Smart. "They must have did him very bad in Portland."

December 23, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Trail Blazers

FINAL
Kings 108, Trail Blazers 96

Six Kings scored in double figures as the Kings (9-18) won for the second time in three games. The Kings totaled a season-best 31 assists while shooting 55.6 percent. Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 22 points.

*Seven Kings had at least two assists, led by John Salmons (seven) and Aaron Brooks (six).

*The Blazers (13-13) shot just 43.5 percent and had 17 turnovers, leading to 22 points for the Kings.

*Travis Outlaw scored a season-high 15 points off the bench for the Kings.

*The Kings made 9-of-19 three pointers.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 80, Trail Blazers 71

The Kings have already matched their season high with 25 assists. Seven players have at least two assists, due in part to the Kings' hot shooting. The Kings are shooting 51.5 percent tonight (34 of 66).

*The Kings have 22 points off 16 Portland turnovers. The Kings have given up nine points off 12 turnovers.

*Marcus Thornton has 15 points to lead the Kings. Four Kings have already scored in double figures. Three more Kings have at least eight points.

*The Blazers are shooting 40.6 percent (26 of 64). Nicolas Batum has 17 points to lead Portland.

HALFTIME
Kings 49, Trail Blazers 42

The Kings are sharing the ball, playing defense and getting contributions from unlikely sources to take the lead. After falling behind by 10 early in the second quarter, the Kings rallied thanks to their reserves and led by as many as 11 points.

*Travis Outlaw has 13 points off the bench for the Kings. Isaiah Thomas has eight pints and five assists.

*The Kings already have 17 assists. That's not a typo.

*The Kings held Portland to 15 points in the second quarter on 7 of 24 shooting. The Kings have 15 points off 11 Portland turnovers.

FIRST QUARTER
Trail Blazers 27, Kings 21

The Kings forced seven turnovers and converted them into eight points. But the Kings shot just 41.7 percent. If the Kings can begin to shoot better, they should be in position to compete in this game.

*The Blazers shot 52.6 percent and made three of their five three pointers.

*The Kings started the game with Aaron Brooks, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, James Johnson and Jason Thompson.

The Kings are without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee), Francisco Garcia (sore lower back) and DeMarcus Cousins (team suspension).

Thompson led the Kings with eight points and three rebounds. Nicolas Batum has seven points and three assists for Portland.

December 23, 2012
Gameday: Kings vs. Trail Blazers

I'm very curious as to how the Kings respond to playing without DeMarcus Cousins, who has been suspended by the team indefinitely.

Privately players have wanted coach Keith Smart to take a harder stance with the third-year center. Someone summed it up with me saying if you think Cousins' is a handful in games, you should see his act in practice.

Well if Cousins is that taxing on his teammates, I expect to see a very energized Kings team this evening.

December 22, 2012
Kings suspend DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely for verbal altercation with coach Smart

DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended indefinitely by the Kings for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team," club President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie announced in a release today.

The Kings third-year center was ordered to remain in the locker room after a halftime verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart on Friday night at Staples Center while facing the Clippers. Smart and Cousins got into it verbally at the end of the first quarter.

Cousins expressed remorse for his latest transgression in a brief career marred by similar incidents.

Said Cousins to The Bee's Jason Jones on Friday after the game, "What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room but I was wrong."

Cousins told Jones that he has to react better to tense situations.

"Don't talk back," he said. "That's the thing. I shouldn't have responded back. Should have accepted what was said and stayed quiet....I messed up. I'm apologizing to all my teammates for it, for responding the way I did, and we'll move on from it...I grow from all of my mistakes."

Said Smart to Jones on Friday night, "We're trying to set a standard for all of our players and all our guys who are here. When guys don't fall in line to that we've got to move on."

Cousins is averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds. He told The Bee's Ailene Voisin earlier this season that he's struggled on the floor, that he's "in a funk" and that his emotions continue to get the best of him.

- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD

December 22, 2012
The Morning After: Keith Smart enforces standard with Cousins' discipline

LOS ANGELES - Keith Smart is one of DeMarcus Cousins' biggest supporters.

Apparently that doesn't mean Smart will allow Cousins to speak to him however he likes. And that's why DeMarcus was left in the locker room for the second half of Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Cousins went at his coach verbally after Smart said something to him at halftime. So Smart decided the Kings were better off without their leading scorer and rebounder.

"We're trying to set a standard for all of our players and all our guys who are here," Smart said after the game. "When guys don't fall in line to that we've got to move on."

Smart intends to maintain this stance, too. You have to assume that means penalties will escalate if the behavior does not change.

Smart wouldn't address whether Cousins would play in Sunday's game against Portland. If he does, another blowup could mean suspensions for conduct detrimental to the team.

Cousins doesn't believe Friday's incident will be held over his head and that he and Smart can move past the incident.

"It happens all the time between players and coaches," Cousins said. "I believe we'll talk about it, get past it and we'll move forward."

*With all the Cousins news and a tight deadline (the later start cuts of 30-40 minutes of working time) I barely mentioned what happened during the game in the story. Well here it goes:

*Jimmer Fredette led the Kings with 16 points. And on a night the Kings allowed 24 points off 16 turnovers, Fredette had no turnovers.

*The Clippers destroyed the Kings on the glass wit a 53-32 rebounding advantage. Rebounding was a concern of Smart's to start the season.

*Why are the Clippers so good? Two of their best players (Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford) aren't starters. And Eric Bledose is pretty good, too.

* Thomas Robinson had four fouls and just one rebound in 18 minutes. The Kings need more than that from their backup power forward.

*The Kings' starting five had 12 assists. Chris Paul had 13 by himself for the Clippers.

*After shooting 50 percent on Wednesday in beating the Warriors, the Kings shots 41.8 percent Friday.

December 21, 2012
DeMarcus Cousins apologizes, no word on further discipline

LOS ANGELES - Here are some quotes from the Kings locker room regarding DeMarcus Cousins being left in the locker room at halftime of tonight's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers after a verbal altercation with head coach Keith Smart.

Smart on why Cousins didn't play in the second half:

"It was conduct detrimental to the team and we left it at."

Smart on if Cousins would play Sunday against Portland:

"I'm going to focus on tonight and then I'll move forward to the next day."

Cousins said he "was in the wrong" during halftime.

"What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room but I was wrong. But what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room."

Cousins was then asked what he could do to avoid further situations where attention was on his actions off the court.

"Don't talk back. That's the thing. I shouldn't have responded back. Should have accepted what was said and stayed quiet."

Cousins said the situation was humbling.

"I messed up. I'm apologizing to all my teammates for it, for responding the way I did, and we'll move on from it...I grow from all of my mistakes."

December 21, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Clippers

FINAL
Clippers 97, Kings 85

LOS ANGELES - The Kings didn't have enough to take down the hottest team in the NBA.

The Clippers (20-6) won their franchise-record 12th consecutive game, led by Blake Griffin (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Chris Paul (24 points, 13 assists).

Jimmer Fredette had 16 points off the bench for the Kings (8-18).

The Kings played the second half without DeMarcus Cousins, who was left in the locker room after halftime after a verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart

THIRD QUARTER
Clippers 73, Kings 62

LOS ANGELES - The Kings cut the Clippers' lead down to six, but now without their top-2 scorers (DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans) the Kings could not sustain the run.

Marcus Thornton has 11 points to lead the Kings. James Johnson has eight points off the bench. But the Kings have allowed 18 points off 13 turnovers.

Blake Griffin has 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers. Chris Paul has 18 points and 12 assists.

HALFTIME
Clippers 53, Kings 39

LOS ANGELES - The story here isn't the score, but what happened at halftime. WE don't for sure, but it led to the Kings returning to the court without DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins is not on the bench and will not play the rest of the night. It's not injury related, a coach's decision.

Cousins had nine points, five rebounds and three assists. This is the latest thing to pop up with the Kings and Cousins, who has already been suspended twice by the NBA this season.

FIRST QUARTER
Clippers 29, Kings 21

LOS ANGELES - The start wasn't as horrible as the Kings' last trip here, but it's still not what they'd hoped for.

The Kings already have six turnovers that have led to nine points for the Clippers. Blake Griffin (11 points) and Chris Paul (eight points, seven assists) are playing like stars and the Kings haven't shown they have an answer for them.

The Kings are without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and Francisco Garcia (sore lower back). Marcus Thornton started at guard for Garcia, who had been starting for Evans.

Thornton has 10 points.


December 21, 2012
Gameday: Kings at Clippers

LOS ANGLELES - Rather than go with five things to watch, I figured it's time to go back to the old format (considering that has three keys).

You'll find that below as it ran in today's newspaper after some pertinent pregame information.

*Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and Francisco Garica (sore lower back) are officially listed as day-to-day. Expect both to be game-time decisions.

*Chauncey Billups (foot) is out for the Los Angeles Clippers.

*The Clippers' 11-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the league.

*Another reason to play Jimmer? Jimmer Fredette leads the NBA in free throw percentage (95.5 percent, 42 of 44) and has made his last 31 free throw attempts.

Fredette's last miss was Nov. 23 at Utah when he missed the first of two free throws with 6:51 left in the second quarter.

Fredette was 8-of-8 from the line against Golden State on Dec. 19. That was a career high for free throws made and tied his career mark in attempts.

*The Clippers have a four-game winning streak against Sacramento.

TODAY'S GAME

Kings (8-17) at Clippers (19-6)
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
• TV: CSNCA
• Radio: 1140, 950

THREE KEYS
• Withstand the first blow: The Clippers, who have won 11 consecutive games, have the ability to jump on a team quickly. The Kings have to maintain their composure and not get behind early.
• Running up the score: The Kings have given up season highs in points (122, 127) in two of their past three games. The Clippers are too good for the Kings to allow that many points and have a chance to win.
• Health watch: Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and Francisco Garcia (sore lower back) are questionable. If they can't play, Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas are the two guards on the bench.

PROBABLE STARTERS

KINGS

No. Player Pos.
3 Aaron Brooks G
23 Marcus Thornton G
5 John Salmons F
34 Jason Thompson F
15 DeMarcus Cousins C

CLIPPERS

No. Player Pos.
3 Chris Paul G
34 Willie Green G
5 Caron Butler F
32 Blake Griffin F
6 DeAndre Jordan C

December 20, 2012
The Morning After: What about the defense?

Wednesday's 131-127 win over the Golden State is how the Kings want to play on offense.

But what about the defense?

The Kings allowed a season high in points and allowed the Warriors to shoot 50 percent. In the last six games, the Warriors are the third team to shoot 50 percent or better.

December 19, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Warriors

FINAL
Kings 131, Warriors 127

The Kings ended their five-game losing streak with a season-high scoring night with seven players scoring in double figures.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (8-17) with 24 points. Aaron Brooks added a season-high 23 points.

Stephen Curry had a season-high 32 points for the Warriors (17-9). David Leed had 29 points and Jarrett Jack added 28 points off the bench.

The Kings withstood the Warriors rallying from 15 down in the game and overcame giving up 39 points in the fourth quarter. The Kings scored at least 30 points in every quarter.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 99, Warriors 88

Stephen Curry was hot for the Warriors, but the Kings' balanced offense was enough to hold off the Warriors.

Curry scored 17 of his 26 points in the third, but the Kings have six players in double figures, led by DeMarcus Cousins with 20 points. Cousins had 13 points in the third.

Aaron Brooks has 18 points for the Kings.

It has been one of the more efficient games for the Kings thus far. They are shooting 52.3 percent and have 20 assists against eight turnovers.

The Kings will finish the game without Francisco Garcia. He did not return to the game because of a sore lower back after a hard fall in the second quarter.

HALFTIME
Kings 63, Warriors 55

The Kings have stayed hot enough to hold off the Warriors, who finally started shooting better in the second quarter.

Aaron Brooks has 14 points and Jimmer Fredette has 11 points off the bench. Fredette has picked up where he left off in Phoenix where he scored a career-high 22 points.

The Kings are shooting 50 percent (22 of 44) and have only five turnovers. They led by as many as 15 points, but the Warriors narrowed the lead behind David Lee (22 points) and Jarrett Jack (15 points).

The Kings have also benefited with 18 free throws (making 15) while the Warriors have attempted six.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 33, Warriors 24

Aaron Brooks is off to a hot start to give the Kings an early advantage. Brooks missed one of his six shots and has 12 points. Jason Thompson already has seven rebounds for the Kings.

The Kings shot 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) while the Warriors shot 10 of 26 (38.5 percent) to start the game.

The Kings already have nine assists, too.

The Kings are without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) but did get back Marcus Thornton. He'd missed the last four games to be with his mother, who was ill.

December 19, 2012
Kings vs. Warriors: Fives things to watch

The five things to watch has been on hiatus for a couple of games. I'm actually looking for something different for pregame because honestly it's not always easy to come up with something other than:

1. Make shots
2. Defend
3. Share the ball
4. Play with energy and effort
5. (Fill in player that must play better)

Enough about me, here are five things to look out for tonight when the Golden State Warriors visit Sleep Train Arena.

1. Defending David Lee: Warriors forward David Lee is playing as well as any player in the NBA. Jason Thompson, Thomas Robinson, Chuck Hayes or DeMarcus Cousins could be in trouble against Lee if matched up with him. James Johnson is another option.
2. Finding time for Jimmer: With Marcus Thornton set to return to the lineup, Keith Smart will have to figure out how to best get Jimmer Fredette on the floor. He's coming off a career-high 22 points, but as this season has shown, that doesn't guarantee Fredette playing time tonight.
3. Bench advantage: The Warriors have been bolstered by adding veterans Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. The Kings need their reserves to play well, especially with Tyreke Evans' status uncertain because of a sore left knee.
4. Cousins consistency: Lately, Cousins has been consistently erratic on offense (9 of 36). That has to change soon. Cousins has to run the floor hard and play with maximum effort on both ends of the floor. He also has to attack smarter and know when to post up and when to use his athleticism against opponents.
5. Home pride: The Kings were routed in their last home game. They have to show more fight in front of the home fans.

December 18, 2012
The Morning After: James Johnson shows flashes of player Kings want him to be

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."

December 17, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Suns

FINAL
Suns 101, Kings 90

PHOENIX - The Kings wasted a 19-point lead in the first half and lost their fifth consecutive game Monday night at US Airways Center.

Shannon Brown had 22 points and Jared Dudley had 20 points for the Suns (10-15), who won their third game in a row.

Jimmer Fredette had 22 points off the bench for the Kings (7-17). The Kings were held to 36 points in the second half.

THIRD QUARTER
Suns 74, Kings 68

PHOENIX - Well that didn't work out too well.

After leading by 19 in the second quarter, the Kings will now have to rally to pull out a victory.

DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fourth foul early in the third and not much else went right from there.

The Suns opened the quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 59-58 lead. The Kings shot 31.8 percent in the quarter (7 of 22) while the Suns shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21).

Shannon Brown had 14 of his 18 points in the third, matching the Kings' total for the quarter.

HALFTIME
Kings 54, Suns 43

PHOENIX - The Kings led by as many as 19 points thanks to 30 points coming from their bench.

Jimmer Fredette led the way with 12 points. Thomas Robinson had six points and eight rebounds.

The Kings have been able to get out in transition, which helps, too. Sacramento has 16 fast break points and is shooting 47.7 percent (21 of 44). The Kings also have a 30-19 rebounding advantage.

The second unit played almost the entire second quarter. Along with the scoring, the reserves have seven of the Kings' 11 assists.

Jared Dudley has nine points to lead the Suns. Marcin Gortat has eight points and eight rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 22, Suns 16

PHOENIX - Coming off their worst shooting performance, the Kings have run into a team with its own shooting struggles.

The Phoenix Suns opened the game shooting 6 of 23 and the Kings have capitalized to take the lead. The Suns missed all seven of their three-point attempts.

Aaron Brooks and Francisco Garcia each have six points for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins was limited to four minutes after picking up two fouls.

Luis Scola led the Suns with six points.

The Kings are without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee). Marcus Thornton is also not with the team (personal reasons).

December 17, 2012
Smart not expecting Evans tonight, Thornton to return soon

PHOENIX - Kings coach Keith Smart didn't officially rule out Tyreke Evans (sore right knee) but did not sound optimistic that Evans would be ready to play after going through a pregame workout.

"He'll go out on the floor but we'll see," Smart said. "But pretty much (I'm sure) he'll be a scratch tonight."

*Smart said Marcus Thornton would be back with the team in time for Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors in Sacramento.

Thornton has missed the last three games because his mother has been ill.

*The Kings recalled second-year forward Tyler Honeycutt from the Reno Bighorns of the D-League today.

December 17, 2012
The Morning After: Can another embarrassing loss spur a winning streak

What will come of the latest Kings' blowout?

The last time the Kings were beaten as thoroughly as the Denver Nuggets beat them on Sunday, it was Dec. 1 at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Kings won three in a row after that loss. But since the winning streak, they're back to being beaten by double digits, the Nuggets 122-97 romp being the latest.

December 16, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Nuggets

FINAL
Nuggets 122, Kings 97

The Nuggets sat their starters the entire fourth quarter and still scored the most points allowed by the Kings this season. Denver shot 54 percent, led by reserve center Javale McGee, who scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas had 20 points for the Kings, mostly on 13-of-15 free-throw shooting. DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Kings (7-16) have now lost four consecutive games after their season-best three-game winning streak. They play tomorrow night at Phoenix.

THIRD QUARTER
Nuggets 97, Kings 67

This one has gotten away from the Kings. Six different players are in double figures for the Nuggets, led by Danilo Gallinari (18 points) and Javale McGee (17 off the bench).

The Kings' season-high number of points allowed is 119. That's certainly within reach for the Nuggets, who are shooting 59 percent.

DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson both have double-doubles for the Kings, Cousins with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Thompson with 16 and 10.

Ty Lawson hit a three-pointer over Thompson with 6:37 left in the quarter to give the Nuggets a 26-point lead, their largest at the time. Thompson spun away in frustration and Kings coach Keith Smart got up and called a timeout.

There have been no outbursts from Smart toward his team, after he lit into them during a timeout during the Kings' loss to Oklahoma City on Friday. But Smart did pick up a technical foul for walking to half-court and barking at the officials after Cousins went up for a shot, drew significant contact and was not awarded a foul.

It was the third technical for the Kings in the game. They now have 16 on the season.

Cousins has not been pleased with the officiating on several plays. With 1:19 left in the quarter he went in for a dunk attempt, clanged it off the rim and was left looking around in vain for a foul.

December 16, 2012
Thornton not with team against Nuggets

Kings guard Marcus Thornton has not rejoined the team and will miss a third consecutive game today, head coach Keith Smart said. Thornton has been at home in Louisiana with his ill mother. Smart did not have a clear idea of when Thornton might return.

"When things settle down for him and his personal issues he's dealing with, with his family, then he'll get back to us," Smart said.

Smart and Thornton both hail from Baton Rouge, and Thornton said last year that his mother and Smart's family attend the same church. Smart said he has been in contact with Thornton and the guard is "in good spirits with everything going on. We've just got to wait. When he's ready he'll be back."

So the Kings (7-15) will take on the Denver Nuggets (12-12) without their third-leading scorer. The Nuggets and Kings rank first and fourth in the NBA, respectively, in scoring in the paint. Both teams like to run as well, though Smart said the Kings need to be smart about the shots they take today and get back in transition.

"Transition opens up a lot of their threes, the way they push the ball," he said. "Last year they came in and ran real fast in this building, so that's the No. 1 thing for us. We've got to make sure we don't take a lot of quick shots, more emphasis on ball movement tonight and body movement.

"With a quick shot, you put their point guards right at the top of the floor for a quick outlet and (they're) up the floor right away. You've got to make sure the ball is moving, players are moving, so you don't have the same alignment for an easy rebound, kick-out and fly up the floor."

-- Matt Kawahara

December 15, 2012
The Morning After: Isaiah Thomas gives the Kings what they've been missing

OKLAHOMA CITY - During his pregame media session, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was asked to assess the Kings.

He like, like many coaches, noted the number of players the Kings have a lot of talented players. Brooks even singled out Isaiah Thomas.

"He's a speedster up the court,"

Thomas' 26-point performance came in the second half of the Kings' 113-103 loss to the Thunder.

Thomas dropped 23 points in the fourth quarter. It would be easy to nitpick and say Thomas got going against backups or that the Thunder let up with a big lead. Or you could say he was a gunner (no assists).

Regardless, Thomas stepped in and played with an intensity that was noticeably missing from the Kings. Like last season when he won a starting job with his leadership and savvy play, Thomas brought both against the Thunder to cut into a 24-point lead.

And Thomas and four other subs put enough fear into Brooks that he had to put Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka back in the game to secure the win.

"My job what to come in and just play no matter what," Thomas said. "If we're down 30 or we're up 30. I'm going to be me and bring energy and be aggressive on the offensive end. That's what I did and that's what that group of five did."

It's not like Thomas knew he'd have a big role in the second half. Jimmer Fredette was the first point guard off the bench Friday night. In the platoon between Fredette and Thomas, the first player off the bench usually plays while the other watches.

"Nah, that never happens really," Thomas said when asked if he was told to get ready for the second half. "It is what it is. I'm just going to always stay ready. That's what I was born to do. Whatever the circumstance is, I'll be ready."

After the game, Kings coach Keith Smart said he wants players to "win" minutes. Thomas would have appeared to have won some minutes lately.

Thomas played key minutes in the last game the Kings won (a week ago at Portland). And by showing the leadership the Kings need more of on the court, Smart has to find a way to get Thomas more involved.

*Thomas didn't have an assist, but James and Fredette each had two assists during the fourth-quarter rally. Thomas also had an assist.

The Kings had five assists in the first half, but tallied six in the fourth quarter, five coming from reserves.

*Oklahoman columnist John Rohde joked with Brooks that the Thunder should have a day off if they had 30 assists. Rohde was close. The Thunder had 29, 13 by Westrbook. That's the most by a Kings opponent this season.

*Tyreke Evans on Smart's angry timeout in the third quarter when starting lineup couldn't or wouldn't run plays correctly:

"I don't know," Evans said of what was going wrong on the court. "We got the message when he called the time out. So that was a good timeout by him."

Within three minutes of game time of that timeout, all five starters were out the game.

*John Salmons was visibly frustrated with the one-on-one play. He was trying to run plays, when other players wouldn't cooperate.

In the first half Salmons stood on the wing wide open calling for the ball but didn't get a look. That's bad considering he's been the Kings' best facilitator of late.


December 14, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Thunder

FINAL
Thunder 113, Kings 103

OKLAHOMA CITY - Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Kings cut a 24-point deficit to five with 3:21 to play, but it was too much for the Kings to overcome.

After a third quarter that featured the starters' inability to run the offense, share the ball and take quality shots, Kings coach Keith Smart used back ups most of the fourth quarter.

Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Chuck Hayes, James Johnson and Thomas Ronbison played most of the fourth quarter and forced the Thunder to bring back three starters to close the game.

Thomas finished with 26 points. His fourth-quarter total was just short of the Sacramento-era record for most in a quarter by a Kings. Mitch Richmond had 25 points in a quarter Dec. 15, 1995 at Houston.

Tyreke Evans had 21 points for the Kings (7-15), who have now lost three in a row after a three-game winning streak.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 31 points. Russell Westbrook had 13 points and 13 assists for the Thunder (19-4).

THIRD QUARTER
Thunder 82, Kings 68

OKLAHOMA CITY - Kings coach Keith Smart was quite upset with his team's execution, or lack thereof, during a third quarter timeout.

He spent an entire 20-second timeout getting into his players after calling plays and having them not run and the team settling for contested shots.

The quarter started out well with a 7-0 run by the Kings, but the led was never cut to single digits.

The Kings look much better on offense when more than one or two players touch the ball, but too often they are caught dribbling into traffic or taking and taking wild shots under duress.

Tyreke Evan has 20 points to lead the Kings.

Kevin Durant has 25 points for the Thunder.

HALFTIME
Thunder 61, Kings 42

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Thunder doubled-up the Kings, 32-16 in the second period.

The Thunder used a 22-4 run to blow the game open and take a 56-36 lead with 2:37 left in the quarter.

The Kings, meanwhile, struggled to figure out what they were doing on offense. Sacramento shot 5 of 16 in the quarter and for the half have only six assists (two fewer than Thunder guard Russell Westbrook).

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 11 points. DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each have 10 points.

Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with 17 points. Kevin Martin has 14 points. Westbrook has 10 points and eight assists.

FIRST QUARTER
Thunder 29, Kings 26

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings are shooting well and five different players have scored. But the Kings trail because they've given up 12 points off six turnovers already.

DeMarcus Cousins had eight points and five rebounds to lead the Kings. He has one of the six turnovers. Five different players have at least one turnover.

The Kings shot 52.9 percent (9 of 17), made all eight of their free throws and out rebounded the Thunder 12-9.

Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with seven points. Russell Westbrook has six points and three assists.

The Thunder is shooting just 41.7 percent (10 of 24) so the turnovers have allowed Oklahoma City to stay in the lead.

December 14, 2012
DeMarcus Cousins to return, Marcus Thornton still out for Kings tonight at OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY - DeMarcus Cousins will be back from a one-game suspension, but the Kings will still be without Marcus Thornton when the Kings play the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight.

Thornton will miss his second game while in Louisiana with his ill mother. No timetable is set for Thornton to rejoin the team.

Cousins was suspended for hitting Dallas guard O.J. Mayo in the groin Monday. Cousins said it was an accident but the NBA still suspended him for Wednesday's loss at Milwaukee.

Cousins said he's still trying to understand why he was disciplined by the league.

"I don't even feel like I'm doing anything wrong," Cousins said. "I'm just playing ball and I'm going to continue to do that."

Cousins said Kings management and the coaching staff have talked to him about the Mayo incident and the other incidents that have led to fines and suspensions.

"They're just saying what everybody else is saying," Cousins said. "Coach (Keith Smart) has talked to me but everyone else is giving me the same political answer."

That same political answer is:

"Stop giving them stuff to mess with you about or whatever," Cousins said.

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said the Kings are doing their best to support Cousins, who has been suspended twice by the league this season.

"We're really continuing to try and work with him and get him grow past and understand that all the things that get him into situations that are not healthy for him or the team," Petrie said. "Everyone continues to support him but at the same time we're trying to get him learn the boundaries."

Added Petrie:

"We have people that are willing to work with him that are independent and private beyond our staff."

Petrie also said nothing that has happened has led him to believe Cousins should be traded.

So I asked Cousins did he feel he had all the support needed to deal with the situations that have led to problems with the league.

"I ain't fixing to get into all that," Cousins said. "I'm just going to play ball and try my best to stay out these situations."

December 13, 2012
The Morning After: The Kings rediscover their bad habits against the Bucks

MILWAUKEE - The Kings played like the Kings we're used to seeing in losing their second consecutive game Wednesday night, 98-85, to the Milwaukee Bucks at Bradley Center.

All the passing and ball movement that was the rave during last week's three-game winning streak was gone.

The Kings had just 14 assists, or three more than Bucks guard Monta Ellis. If the Bucks hadn't built a big lead in the fourth quarter, Ellis probably would have had more assists than the Kings. The Kings didn't' pass Ellis in total assists until the fourth quarter.

(You can hear Keith Smart break down how bad their scoring rate is when they don't pass the ball in the video below).

The Kings' shot selection was bad. Too many contested shots and trying to beat the man off the dribble. The point guards could have done a better job trying to set up teammates.

And the griping about officiating was back in a big way. Even though the Bucks were called for only two fewer fouls (20-18) and shot just three more free throws (24-21).

Already down two of their three leading scorers (DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton) the Kings needed to play team basketball. By not doing so, they let a very winnable game get away.

Next up is Oklahoma City. That won't be easy.

*Thomas Robinson played with great energy and hustle (eight points, eight rebounds) but he's got to shoot better to stay on the floor and not miss the easy ones. Robinson was 3 of 9 from the field.

*The Kings have 37 turnovers in their last two games. They had 17 against Milwaukee, five by Tyreke Evans in his first game back after missing the previous three with a sore left knee.

Evans said after the game that was unacceptable on his part and something he'd look to correct for Friday's game.

*The Kings had only three steals. Cousins actually leads the Kings in steals so besides rebounding, that's another area he was missed because of his NBA suspension.

Speaking of Cousins, here's his take on his suspension via Twitter.

Cousins said from the start hitting O.J. Mayo in the groin was an accident and that he was trying to get Mayo's hand off him.

But what matters is Stu Jackson didn't believe Cousins. Does his reputation hurt him? Yes. That's why Cousins has to be above the fray at all times. At this rate, it will take a couple of years of great play and no drama to erase the first couple of months of the season from the minds of the public.

*The Kings weren't happy finding out Cousins was suspended three hours before their games. The incident happened Monday and the Kings were off Tuesday. So they went through morning shootaround assuming Cousins would play.

In both Cousins' suspensions, the team was informed the day of the game even though they had a day off in between games.

When Robinson was suspended for elbowing Jonas Jerebko, the Kings found out the next day (an off day).

The league even announced Toronto forward Amir Johnson's suspension on Tuesday for his mouthpiece toss on Monday night. Toronto was also off Tuesday.

December 12, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Bucks

FINAL
Bucks 98, Kings 85

MILWAUKEE - Playing without two their top-3 scorers, the Kings predictably had trouble scoring in losing to the Bucks Wednesday Night at Bradley Center.

And Tyreke Evans' the Kings' second-leading scorer, was coming off the bench after missing three games because of a sore left knee.

The Kings shot 37.2 percent (32 of 86).

Evans has 17 points in his return. John Salmons added 16 points.

Brandon Jennings had 19 points for the Bucks while Monta Ellis had 17 points and 11 assists.

THIRD QUARTER
Bucks 68, Kings 62

MILWAUKEE - The Kings began the quarter on a 9-2 run, but still couldn't overcome their own poor shooting to take the lead.

John Salmons has 13 points to lead the Kings.

Salmons scored 11 points in the quarter as the Kings shot 42.9 percent (9 of 21) which is actually good for the Kings tonight.

The Bucks shot 34.8 percent (8 of 23)

HALFTIME
Bucks 49, Kings 39

MILWAUKEE - It hasn't been an exhibition of good offense for either team.

The Kings are shooting 34.1 percent (14 of 41) and have 11 turnovers. The Bucks are shooting 39.1 percent (18 of 46).

But the Bucks closed the half on a 17-7 run after blowing a 13-point lead early in the second quarter and allowing the Kings to tie the game at 32.

Tyreke Evans has nine points off the bench for the Kings but also has three fouls. Jason Thompson has a game-high eight rebounds. But not much has gone right overall for the Kings. They have only five assists and have been outrebounded 31-24.

Keith Smart has already used every player he has available.

Luc Mbah a Moute led the Bucks with 13 points. Monta Ellis has a game-high seven assists for the Bucks.

FIRST QUARTER
Bucks 29, Kings 19

MILWAUKEE - Both teams are without key players tonight, but the Bucks have managed to start the game well.

The Kings shot 31.8 percent (7 of 22) and had five turnovers, which are big reasons the Kings have never led. The Bucks aren't shooing great (11 of 27, 40.7 percent) but have nine offensive rebounds and seven second-chance points.

That's where not having DeMarcus Cousins (NBA suspension) hurts the Kings most.

The Kings started Travis Outlaw at power forward and Jason Thompson at center without Cousins.

Tyreke Evans came off the bench in his first game back after missing three (sore left knee) and scored a team-high nine points.

Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with six points.

Beno Udrih, Epke Udoh, Mike Dunleavy and Larry Sanders are all out for the Bucks.

The Kings are also without Marcus Thornton, who is with his mother who is ill.


December 12, 2012
Kings' Marcus Thornton won't play tonight; mother is ill

MILWAUKEE -- Kings guard Marus Thornton (personal reasons) will not play tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thornton is in Louisiana visiting his mother. She has been ill recently.

"I couldn't say but everyone thought he was unhappy with his time and how he was playing," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "And I just kind of had to go along with that knowing what was happening and see what it was doing to him."

Thornton might rejoin the team in Oklahoma City, where the Kings play Friday. Smart, however, won't rush him back.

"For me as a coach, you've got to come back when your mind is right," Smart said.

December 12, 2012
Cousins suspended for tonight's game for groin shot to O.J. Mayo

MILWAUKEE - DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended for tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks for hitting O.J. Mayo in the groin Monday night in Dallas.

Cousins has maintained it was an accident.

"In slow motion it looks like I did on purpose," Cousins said yesterday. "But you look in real speed you see what happened. Of course it's gonna get thrown out there that I did it on purpose."

Cousins was informed last night the league was reviewing the incident (see video below).

The Kings, however, weren't informed of the league's decision until about three hours before tip-off.

That didn't give Kings coach time to prepare for not having Cousins.

"They're making the message very, very, clear that there's nothing you can do that won't be seen by our eyes," Smart said.

This is Cousins' second suspension from the NBA this season. He was suspended two games last month for confronting San Antonio television analyst Sean Elliott after a game in Sacramento.

"DeMarcus has to be a bigger man and move away from anything that may happen because what it does is it hurts our team," Smart said. "It hurts him big time but it hurts our team. A perimeter guy we might be able to fill in but with the skills that he has it really sets us back. He has to grow out of this and move beyond because it does do things to our team and we have to keep in focus what's important for the team. It's not any issue with one player but how it affects our overall team."


December 11, 2012
DeMarcus Cousins responds to O.J. Mayo

MILWAUKEE - DeMarcus Cousins didn't sit back and take insults from Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo, who said Cousins had mental issues, among other things after Monday night's game.

"I heard," Cousins said. "This coming from a guy that doesn't have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? I'm fine with it."

Mayo had problems with the NCAA in his one season at USC. After leaving for the NBA, the school would determine Mayo was ineligible his lone season for receiving improper benefits.

Mayo was also involved in a flight on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen over a gambling debt in 2010. Mayo has also been suspended 10 games for testing positive for a steroid.

Mayo said Cousins could be a franchise player "but I don't think he wants it."

"Is he a franchise player?" Cousins said. "So how is he going to tell me what I am."

Cousins said he hadn't heard from the NBA about being disciplined and he didn't expect to be for hitting Mayo below the belt, which Cousins said was an accident.

"In slow motion it looks like I did on purpose," Cousins said. "But you look in real speed you see what happened. Of course it's gonna get thrown out there that I did it on purpose."

Cousins added he knows he's not a dirty player so Mayo accusing him being one does not bother him.

*Then there was Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who had some profane words for Cousins during the game.

"We made a run (in the third quarter)," Cousins said. "I started clapping and the man said "eff off. I said eff you and was it. And I still got scrutinized like I did something wrong."

*Kings coach Keith Smart likened what happened to Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was fined for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.

"We just saw that NFL a couple weeks ago with the young man in Detroit. A play happens and right away because of his history, it's something, it's bigger than what it is. As a coach in the NBA I really don't have time for that. I've got 14 individual corporations I've got to worry about and try to manage and the last thing I want to manage is conversations, what guys are saying about why a guy did this or that. I'm moving to the next game."

*Back to basketball matters. Tyreke Evans practiced today and is expected to play tomorrow against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"We got him up-and-down the floor and did some 5-on-5 stuff," Smart said. "I think he'll be ready to go tomorrow. He's still going to be a little winded because obviously you get away from game activity. But overall with the things we tried to do today, trying to get ready for the game tomorrow he was pretty good.

December 11, 2012
The Morning After: DeMarcus Cousins draws attention for the wrong reasons again

DALLAS - DeMarcus Cousins isn't making many new friends in Texas.

First he got on the league's bad side for angrily confronting San Antonio Spurs television analyst Sean Elliott after a game.

Cousins was given a two-game suspension by the NBA for leaving the locker room to deal with Elliott for comments he was told about during the game.

Now Cousins is being described as someone with "mental issues" by Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo for what happened in the second quarter of Monday's loss to the Mavericks the video below.

You will see Cousins strike Mayo below the belt after shoving him away moments earlier while fighting for position in the second quarter..

For the record, Cousins said that was unintentional.

(At this rate I'm leery of what might occur when the Kings play the Houston Rockets).

Cousins has the talent to be an All-Star but he's becoming more known for shenanigans than basketball.

Anger with Cousins isn't limited to the players.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle with a profanity-filled message for Cousins after he clapped heading toward the Kings' bench in the third quarter of Sacramento cut the Mavericks' lead to 11.

Players around the league love Cousins' talent. They don't like that he seems to always find himself involved in something that is unnecessary.

In one of the more famous groin incidents, Reggie Evans was fined $10,000 and assessed a flagrant foul two for violating one of the most sacred of man laws during the 2006 NBA Playoffs (see below).

So I assume Cousins, at the very least, will be fined by the league for this if it agrees with Mayo and the Mavs that there was nothing accidental about Cousins shot to Mayo's groin.

If that happens, Cousins will join Evans in infamy. Then again, it might be too late for that.

*The Kings will practice this afternoon when they arrive in Milwaukee. Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) is scheduled to practice with the hope he'll be ready for Wednesday's game against the Bucks. Evans has missed the last three games and five of the last six.

*Have to assume Francisco Garcia has done enough to stay in the rotation when Evans does return. The odd man out could be James Johnson, who was behind Travis Outlaw Monday against the Mavs.

Garica is shooting 47 percent (16 of 34) in three starts for Evans. That includes making 50 percent of his threes (10 of 20).

*Smart plans to tinker with the second unit by keeping a player that commands attention (Evans or Cousins) in with the backups.

When Smart went to Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton, Thomas Robinson, Chuck Hayes and Outlaw in the second quarter on Monday, the offense couldn't overcome the Mavs who were able to focus on Thornton without fear any of the other players could hurt them.


December 10, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Mavericks

FINAL
Mavericks 119, Kings 96

DALLAS - The Kings' three-game winning streak was ended in a blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

The Kings committed 20 turnovers (leading to 32 points for Dallas) and allowed the Mavs to shoot 55.2 percent.


The Kings played without Tyreke Evans, who missed his third consecutive game with a sore left knee. Cousins has missed five of the last six games.

DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and six rebounds for the Kings (7-13). Francisco Garcia also had 25 points, making 7 of 12 three pointers. The seven threes were a career-high.

O.J. Mayo led Dallas (11-10) with 19 points. Chris Kaman had 18 points).

The Kings have lost 17 consecutive games in Dallas.


THIRD QUARTER
Mavericks 88, Kings 70

DALLAS - The Kings cut the deficit to 77-66, but got no closer after trailing by 28 in the first half.

Francisco Garcia (20 points) has matched his career high with six made three pointers. DeMarcus Cousins has 23 points and Jason Thompson has 11 points and 12 rebounds.

But that's not early enough to overcome the Mavs, who are shooting 53 percent or Sacramento's own mistakes. The Kings have 15 turnovers and are shooting 44.1 percent.

HALFTIME
Mavericks 65, Kings 43

DALLAS - The Kings went to their second unit and this game got out of hand quickly.

A run that began at the end of the first quarter stretched into a 28-4 run into the second quarter. The Kings shot 4 of 16 with seven turnovers, six committed by reserves.

The starters weren't able to seize momentum back as the Kings fell behind by as many as 28 points in the quarter.

The Kings are shooting 38.5 percent and have 12 turnovers in the game. The Mavs have 19 points off turnovers.

The Mavs are shooting 55.6 percent led by O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman with 16 points apiece.

DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points to lead the Kings.

FIRST QUARTER
Mavericks 36, Kings 29

DALLAS - After a slow start and falling behind by eight points, the Kings did well to get back in the game. But after taking a brief two-point lead (23-21), the Kings were their own biggest problems.

The Kings have five turnovers that Dallas has converted into nine points. The Mavs haven't turned the ball over yet.

The turnovers helped fuel the Dallas offense. The Mavs shot 52 percent, while making 4 of 8 three pointers.

Aaron Brooks has eight points and three assists for the Kings. O.J. Mayo has 12 points and Chris Kaman has 10 points for Dallas.

December 10, 2012
Kings at Mavericks: Five things to watch

UPDATE
Tyreke Evans will not play. Francisco Garcia will start for Evans.

1. Evans update: Just spoke to Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) as he left the locker room to test his knee out again. He's not wearing a brace and will decide if he will play after working out again. Can't be any more of a game-time decision.

2. Streaking: Marcus Thornton is in the midst of the wrong kind of streak. He's scored in single digits in three consecutive games, easily his worst offensive output over three games this season.

3. More bench support: With Thornton struggling someone else has to provide offense from the bench. Saturday night it was Travis Outlaw. Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas have also been productive off the bench. That's why the Kings have managed to win three consecutive games with Thornton struggling.

4. The hook shot: DeMarcus Cousins tried to use a hook shot more at Portland and shot 6 of 17. It wasn't exclusively because of that, but it was enough to frustrate him to tell coach Keith Smart he wasn't going to work on the shot anymore. Smart showed Cousins' film from the game to show how close he was to making the shots. Perhaps he won't abandon it tonight.

5. The wildcard: Francisco Garcia and Outlaw were surprisingly effective after not playing much. Who might Smart surprise us with tonight?

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.

December 8, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Trail Blazers

FINAL
Kings 99, Trail Blazers 80

PORTLAND - The Kings won their third consecutive game impressively, blowing out the Portland Trail Blazers, 99-80, at Rose Garden.

The Kings were 0-6 on the road before tonight.

The game was tight in the third quarter but turned in the Kings' favor when seldom-used Travis Outlaw entered the game.

Outlaw would finish with 11 points off the bench and was one of six Kings (7-12) in double figures.

DeMarcus Cousins and John Salmons each had 19 points. Cousins had 12 rebounds while Salmons added a season-high 11 assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland (8-12) with 17 points. J.J. Hickson added 14 points and 15 rebounds.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 77, Trail Blazers 65

PORTLAND - The Kings didn't go to their bench much in the third quarter (except for Travis Outlaw for 5:18) and regained control of the game.

The Kings made 5 of 8 three pointers in the quarter and now have all five starters in double figure scoring.

DeMarcus Cousins has 17 points and 12 rebounds. John Salmons has 14 points and a season-high nine assists.

The Kings are shooting just 38.6 percent (27 of 70) but that's fine thus far because Portland is also shooting 38.6 percent (22 of 57).

The difference is turnovers. The Kings have 23 points off 14 Blazer turnovers. The Kings have only allowed eight points off their eight turnovers.

HALFTIME
Kings 43, Trail Blazers 41

PORTLAND - The Kings went from really good to bad when they went to the bench tonight.

Thus, a 12-point lead has dwindled down to two points.

The Kings' backups shot 2 of 15 in the first half, 1 of 13 in the second quarter. Overall the Kings shot 3 of 22 in the second quarter.

That lack of shooting allowed Portland to get back into the game.

Isaiah Thomas got the nod ahead of Jimmer Fredette tonight and had missed all three of his shots and had two turnovers. Fredette hasn't played tonight.

DeMarcus Cousins has nine points and eight rebounds to lead the Kings. Jason Thompson also has nine points.

Wesley Matthews has 12 points for Portland. J.J. Hickson already has 10 rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 30, Trail Blazers 18

PORTLAND - This is the kind of start the Kings needed on the road.

The Kings forced nine turnovers in the first quarter and held Portland to 35.3 percent shooting (6 of 17). The Kings have 14 points off those turnovers.

And the Kings appear serious about sharing the ball. They already have nine assists, six by John Salmons.

DeMarcus Cousins has seven points and five rebounds. Francisco Garcia started for Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and added seven points.

December 8, 2012
Kings at Trail Blazers: Five things to watch

PORTLAND - For the Kings to win three games in a row for the first time this season, a lot has to go right.

Well, at least five things do:

1. Road toughness: The Kings are 0-6 on the road and their last two losses have been especially bad. One saw the Kings blow a fourth-quarter lead in Utah with a series of mental mistakes. Last Saturday the Kings lost by 35 in Los Angeles to the Clippers. The common thread in both losses was the Kings inability to stay focused the entire game.
2. Robinson repeat: Rookie power forward Thomas Robinson continues to show he can impact games simply with his effort. He did so Friday night and must do so again.
3. Guard battle: The Kings will be undersized in the backcourt, especially if Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) is out. The Kings have to play up-tempo basketball and avoid being put in position to deal with the size of Portland's guards.
4. Defensive awareness: All eyes must be aware of what Portland guard Damian Lillard is up to on the floor. He torched the Kings last month.
5. Rough him up: Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge can't be allowed to feel comfortable. Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes and Robinson all have to do their part to fluster Aldridge as best they can tonight.

December 8, 2012
Kings at Trail Blazers: Five things to watch

PORTLAND - For the Kings to win three games in a row for the first time this season, a lot has to go right.

Well, at least five things do:

1. Road toughness: The Kings are 0-6 on the road and their last two losses have been especially bad. One saw the Kings blow a fourth-quarter lead in Utah with a series of mental mistakes. Last Saturday the Kings lost by 35 in Los Angeles to the Clippers. The common thread in both losses was the Kings inability to stay focused the entire game.
2. Robinson repeat: Rookie power forward Thomas Robinson continues to show he can impact games simply with his effort. He did so Friday night and must do so again.
3. Guard battle: The Kings will be undersized in the backcourt, especially if Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) is out. The Kings have to play up-tempo basketball and avoid being put in position to deal with the size of Portland's guards.
4. Defensive awareness: All eyes must be aware of what Portland guard Damian Lillard is up to on the floor. He torched the Kings last month.
5. Rough him up: Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge can't be allowed to feel comfortable. Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes and Robinson all have to do their part to fluster Aldridge as best they can tonight.

December 7, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Magic

FINAL
Kings 91, Magic 82

The Kings went small and came up big.

Isaiah Thomas scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Kings leaned heavily on an undersized second unit to beat the Magic in front of a crowd of 16,305 at Sleep Train Arena and head into a four-game road trip on a winning streak.

After watching a double-digit halftime lead vanish in the third quarter, the Kings started the fourth with a lineup of Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton, Chuck Hayes and rookie Thomas Robinson.

"I think we had to push the tempo and make this team run," head coach Keith Smart said. "Half-court wasn't going to work for us."

The change of pace was evident immediately. Fredette's three-pointer with 8:29 left gave the Kings a 69-68 lead that they stretched to nine on a pair of free throws from Thomas before holding the Magic off down the stretch.

Thomas -- who didn't get off the bench in the Kings' win over Toronto on Wednesday -- and Fredette played the entire quarter and combined for 22 points and eight rebounds in the fourth.

"We just played hard," Thomas said. "I tell him, when I'm in, I pass to you, just shoot it. He was aggressive, I was aggressive and we fed off each other."

The Kings made just six shots from the field in the fourth quarter but made 16 of 18 free-throw attempts, including 7 of 8 by Thomas. They held Orlando to 7 of 24 shooting in the quarter and 37.5 percent for the game, and out-rebounded the Magic 41-34.

The Kings (6-12) scored 25 fast-break points, including 11 in the fourth, and turned 16 Orlando turnovers into 25 points.

"We were getting stops as a defensive team, and we got rebounds and just went," Thomas said.

Smart didn't break up the second-unit lineup until John Salmons entered with 3:32 left in the game, later saying he felt he had "the right chemistry" on the floor.

Knowing they were at a size disadvantage, Fredette said, the Kings compensated by "pressuring on defense -- make them drive the ball and kick, scramble on defense, use your quickness and then get out on transition and push the ball up the floor."

Fredette, listed at 6-foot-2, chased the bigger J.J. Redick around the floor the entire fourth quarter, in which Redick missed all four of his shot attempts.

Glen Davis led the Magic (7-12) with 20 points and 11 rebounds but fouled out with 38.4 seconds left, committing five fouls in the final quarter.

At one point, Davis found himself on the ground wrestling for a loose ball with Robinson. The rookie finished with just one point but made an impact with hustle plays, recording seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

"He changed the whole game," said DeMarcus Cousins. "I told him, that's how you should play every night."

Cousins followed one of his best games of the season against Toronto with another double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds against the Magic. Jason Thompson added 12 points and six rebounds.

The Kings have won consecutive games for just the second time this season, and the first since Nov. 5-7.

They go on the road to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Smart said he isn't sure whether Tyreke Evans, who was scratched from the starting lineup Friday night with knee soreness, will be available.

December 7, 2012
Kings vs. Magic: Five things to watch

The Kings will be on the road for four games starting Saturday night at Portland.

Tonight's game is the Kings' last chance to build some momentum before going on the road, where they have dropped all six games this season.

Here are five things to look for tonight when the Kings host the Orlando Magic.

December 6, 2012
Robinson learning to pace himself

No breaking news out of Kings practice Thursday. Here's some leftover quotes, observations, etc.

*Thomas Robinson is still learning the NBA game. Like most college stars coming into the league, he expected a lot out of himself. But he's learning he needs to learn how to play the NBA.

"Pace, reading my defender, the situation of the game," Robinson said of what he's learning. "When to take a shot when not to take a shot. I think I really have one problem and that's pretty much it, just trying to catch up with the pace."

Smart mentioned this yesterday during pregame and brought it up again today.

He said he had to show Robinson film of himself not running as hard as he thought during games.

Smart wants and needs Robinson running as fast as possible. He's probably the most athletic player on the team. Unlike many of his teammates, Robinson has the ability to make defensive plays with his athleticism.

Robinson on his chase-down blocked shots (he had two against Indiana last week).

"I think out of the bigs I'm the youngest, probably with the youngest legs. And I'm the smallest besides Chuck and Chuck's not going to do that. I think that's something I have to have in my defensive package because I'm not 6-10 like J.T. and D-Cuz and I don't have the IQ on defense yet that Chuck has so I've got to use my athletic ability."

Smart on why he thought DeMarcus Cousins had a good game against Toronto:

"He ran the floor. He ran the floor last night because he can. I think that helped his game as well. I thought because he started the game off with a plan to go get rebounds that got him a little more involved in the game."


"If he sets his table like that for each game to rebound first, to get his teammates involved second and eventually look for his shot because he's going to play good minutes if he doesn't get in foul trouble."

*Smart had nice things to say about Orlando forward Glen Davis.

With no Dwight Howard or Ryan Anderson, Davis has a much bigger role. He's on pace to post career highs with 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds.

"Big Baby is playing at a really high level, getting a chance to play as a starter now, full time and the ball is coming to him and he plays hard all the time."

*More on Robinson from Smart, who wants to continue to see good effort on defense (like chasing down plays for blocked shots):

"Always be in the play because you have the ability to affect the game from an energy standpoint that a lot of guys on our team can't. Because you can get back into the play and make a play unlike a lot of other guys."

*Smart and Chuck Hayes said even without Howard, the Magic are still a team that works hard and runs its sets well under first-year coach Jacque Vaughn.

December 6, 2012
The Morning After: Jimmer and Isaiah Thomas remain co-backups to Brooks

It wouldn't be fair to say it's Jimmer Fredette vs. Isaiah Thomas for playing time.

That's because Keith Smart said it's the opponent that usually will use as Aaron Brooks' back up.

Fredette was the backup point guard in Wednesday's win over the Toronto Raptors. Thomas did not play.

Just don't assume Fredette will be the first point guard off the bench Friday against the Orlando Magic.

"I'm just going to fight through that as much as I can and stay away from the traditional thinking of you've got to have this guy as your backup," Smart said. "I'm going to look at how the game plays. I've got to two young guys and they're not 10-year veterans, they're not five-year veterans. These guys are young, developing guys. I was always taught you've got to always be ready, be ready to play."

It's not the ideal situation. But Smart isn't about to (publicly) declare one player is ahead of the other.

That means we could continue to see Thomas and Fredette continue to take turns as the primary backup while the other watches.

"I know they won't like it but you know what, you're in the NBA," Smart said. "So many guys would love to be in these positions and you're playing in the NBA, a privileged league."

*The Kings figured out how to survive when all of their players aren't clicking.

Marcus Thornton only had three points (his second lowest total of the season) in Wednesday's win, but the Kings still had 20 bench points thanks to seven points apiece from Fredette and Thomas Robinson.

James Johnson had eight rebounds, six points and two blocked shots off the bench.

*John Salmons was one of the glue guys in Wednesday night's win. He had seven assists, a blocked shot and had no turnovers.

The seven assists were a season high for Salmons.

December 5, 2012
Kings vs. Raptors: Five things to watch

The struggling Kings host another struggling team, the Toronto Raptors, tonight at Sleep Train Arena.

Below are five things to pay attention to when the Kings look to end their three-game losing streak.

December 4, 2012
Tuesday practice notes and quotes

Kings coach Keith Smart said Tuesday's practice was lighter than Monday, which came after a day off.

He worked on some offensive principles (moving the ball...again), prepared for the Toronto Raptors.

Here are some other things Smart touched on after practice.

On some the mistakes the Kings make during games and if sitting that player would change things:

"It's not so much this person or that person. When we're tight in a game like that. You think you have your best players on the floor but they've got to grow to where they're semi-mistake free. That's almost impossible but you can't have everyone making mistakes."

"With this group all of them have had their share in doing that. It's a growth thing for our entire team."

On whether the youth excuse is valid for the mistakes

"We keep saying they're not young but they are young. Although you've got a couple years in the league you're still young. You still make a lot of the little mistakes that you shouldn't be making."

"You're not a veteran yet, you're still trying to figure out the game. You're still trying to figure out is it more against my teammate for who is going to be the leading scorer. Those things you're still trying to figure out. "

December 4, 2012
Looks like Tyreke Evans will play against Toronto

After a good workout in practice, Kings coach Keith Smart expects to have Tyreke Evans back in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors.

Evans missed the last two games with a bruised left knee.

"He came in and did some treadmill work, did some sprint work on the floor and then got up his shots," Smart said. "I just wanted to get him to where he did some change of direction on the floor ... I think he'll be ready to go."

Evans was playing his best basketball of the season when he bumped knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko last Tuesday.

Evans is averaging 22 points in his last three games.

December 3, 2012
Tyreke Evans practices, hopes to play Wednesday

Kings guard Tyreke Evans practiced Monday after missing the last two games with a bruised left knee.

Evans bumped knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko last Tuesday.

Evans said he felt "50/50" about playing Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors. Evans said he would continue to receive treatment Tuesday and if he felt better he planned to play.

Kings coach Keith Smart is optimistic that he will have Evans back.

"I think he will be but you can't pinpoint that," Smart said. "We'll see how he responds because he finally got back on the floor running and cutting."

Evans said he didn't realize how badly he'd injured his knee until after the game last week.

"Just a sharp pain when I was I home," Evans said. "I was in the bed trying to sleep and I was like moving around and bend my leg it would catch me off guard and it was like oh (shoot) it hurt."

December 2, 2012
The Morning After: A bad night at Staples Center

LOS ANGELES - There really isn't much else that can be said about Saturday night's game.

Perhaps Jason Thompson summed it up best.

"When you have games like this, you just have to go back to the drawing board," Thompson said.

*The 116-81 loss was the biggest defeat to the Clippers in franchise history. The Clippers beat the Kings, 109-78, April 10, 2009.

*DeMarcus Cousins' shooting is trending downward. He's shooting 41.7 percent, which is bad for any player, especially a center. It will be hard to run a lot of the offense through him if the return rate on his shots is this low.

*The Kings had excelled forcing turnovers this season but that wasn't the case against the Clippers, who had just five the entire game. That's the fewest by an opponent this season. Last Friday's opponent, Indiana, had the previous low with nine.

*Tyreke Evans (bruised left knee) hopes to play Wednesday against Toronto.

*Smart said the decision to go with Isaiah Thomas off the bench ahead of Jimmer Fredette was about the match ups with the Clippers.

I'll get more into that for tomorrow's newspaper.

*Smart on the Clippers:

"They played a level that was very, very high. They have a group of players that play together and they have a bigger purpose with what they are doing and how they are playing, and they show it. Early in the game we had nine turnovers from which they got 13 points off of, and that hurt us. We just didn't have what was necessary to play against a team like this. When you play a team that plays at a high level you need to match that and we didn't match that."

December 1, 2012
In-game blog: Kings at Clippers

FINAL
Clippers 116, Kings 81

LOS ANGLES - The Kings suffered their worst defeat of the season as the Clippers dominated from the start.

After the game, John Salmons had a message.

"If you're going to write anything, this is strictly on the players," Salmons said. "It's not the coach's fault."

The coach didn't shoot 38.2 percent and allow the Clippers (10-6) to shoot 54.7 percent, or commit 17 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Clippers.

The Kings (4-12) have the worst record in the Western Conference and still have not won a road game (0-6).


THIRD QUARTER
Clippers 87, Kings 58

LOS ANGELES - Jimmer Fredette finally played. But the Kings have ben out of this game for a long time.

The Clippers are shooting 56.3 percent and four of their five starters have scored in double figures.

Jason Thompson and Marcus Thornton each have 14 points for the Kings but that's hardly enough to make up for the Kings' shooting 37.3 percent and giving up 19 points on 13 turnovers.

The Kings have trailed by as many as 34 points.

HALFTIME
Clippers 58, Kings 34

LOS ANGELES - Calling the Kings' effort lackluster would be kind.

The Clippers haven't been challenged by the Kings. The Clippers are shooting 54.8 percent and have made 6 of 12 three pointers.

Meanwhile the Kings have 10 turnovers and are shooting 33.3 percent.

Keith Smart didn't play Jimmer Fredette at all and sat DeMarcus Cousins the entire second quarter. Neither player is injured.

Every Clipper that has played has scored, led y DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes with nine points each.

Jason Thompson led the Kings with 10 points.

FIRST QUARTER
Clippers 28, Kings 17

LOS ANGELES - In their second game without Tyreke Evans (bruised left knee) the Kings again fell behind big to start the game.

The Kings were down by as many as 14 points while shooting 35 percent (7 of 20). The difference tonight from last night's slow star was Keith Smart didn't go to Jimmer Fredette in the quarter. Aaron Brooks played the entire first quarter.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with seven points. Marcus Thornton had five points to lead the Kings.

December 1, 2012
Kings at Clippers: Five things to watch

LOS ANGELES - The Kings are one of two winless teams on the road this season.

They can change that tonight. But it won't be easy against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tyreke Evans (bruised knee left knee) is out tonight, barring a miraculous improvement.

Here are five things to pay attention to as the Kings are to pull off the upset.

1. Early energy - That shouldn't be a problem for the Kings. The Clippers are a good team and if anything, the Kings tend to try their best against marquee teams.
2. The crying game - After being labeled "criers" by Indiana's George Hill, will the Kings live up to that name? It seems as if at least one time a game (possibly more) the Kings are beaten down the court because they are griping with officials and end up surrendering an easy score.
3. The backup point guard - Aaron Brooks will start. Who replaces him first is a 50/50 guess. Jimmer Fredette was the first guy off the bench Friday night, which means Isaiah Thomas could be the first point guard off the bench. Kings coach Keith Smart suggested it might be time to settle on one guy for a few games. That would provide some continuity to the rotation.
4. Robinson's hustle - Rookie power forward Thomas Robinson has stood out lately with his energetic play. He ran down two Indiana fast breaks last night to block shots at the rim. If that energy could rub off on teammates, the Kings have a chance to upset the Clippers. It will be needed on defense.
5. Team ball - The Kings have to share the basketball. Besides being viewed as "criers" the Kings are viewed as a collection of one-on-one players. Well that's true. The Kings do have a lot of one-on-one players, but none so dominant that they can rely on that alone to win games.

December 1, 2012
The Morning After: Kings called out for their complaining

This quote from George Hill makes me think of Ice Cube's opening on "No Vaseline" which happens to be the greatest diss song in rap history (in my opinion).

As Cube said then and it applies to the Kings: Here's what they think about you:

It happens too often. Kings complain about the officiating while the opposition runs down the court for an easy shot.

DeMarcus Cousins gets a lot of flack about this, but he's not alone in whining to officials. The Kings make a habit of complaining and it hasn't gotten them anywhere.

I'm sure the Kings had their gripes about Friday's officiating, but in the end they shot 25 free throws, six more than Indiana. Cousins shot 10 of the free throws.

Both teams were called for 19 fouls.

Rather than barreling into the lane and throwing the ball at the basket, hoping to draw a foul, the Kings need to focus on taking shots that have a chance to go in.

* It's becoming a theme this season:

Jimmer Fredette plays.

Jimmer Fredette plays well.

Jimmer Fredette has to guess if he'll play the next game.

Fredette has played 20-plus minutes only once this season. Fredette has only played double-digit minutes in consecutive games once this season.

If that pattern continues, Isaiah Thomas will play more tonight.

"I'll try to settle down in maybe two or three games where I just lock into one guy and see how that goes," Smart said. "Obviously those two guys need to know game-to-game where they are."

Fredette has been one of the Kings best plus/minus players all season and Friday night's loss to Indiana was no different.

Every starter was a minus. Fredette was a plus-3, and Francisco Garcia was a team best plus-6.

* If you were surprised Tyreke Evans (bruised left knee) didn't play, you're not the only one. Smart did a good job of keeping that away from the media. Never was Evans mentioned as being injured and he wasn't listed on the pregame notes as having an injury, as injured players usually are in the gamenotes.

Smart hopes Evans can play tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.




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