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

March 9, 2013
The Morning After: Douglas quickly becoming new closer for Kings

Isaiah Thomas was hot in the third quarter. He scored 11 points and helped the Kings extend to an 89-82 lead.

But for the second game in a row, Toney Douglas was the closer at point guard, playing the entire fourth quarter.

Thomas played three minutes in fourth and still finished with a game-high 27 points. But it's clear Douglas has quickly become a favorite and it might cost Thomas playing time.

"I knew I was going to come back to Isaiah at some point," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "I knew I needed the defense (from Douglas). I like the point of attack defense, guarding the ball first. Been search for that a long time an this young man, Toney, can do that. Isaiah is able to do that as well. But I think you saw where they started to start their offense well above the three-point line, right inside halfcourt."

Douglas played the entire fourth quarter in Wednesday's loss at Golden State, too.

Thomas didn't play at all in the fourth against the Warriors, but appeared to be in position for more run in the fourth during Friday's win over Phoenix.

But Smart went with the bigger, Douglas who is a better on-ball defender.

"Isaiah set a nice tone, got real hot at the end of the (third) quarter and put us in a real good position," Smart said.

"Defending the point of attack we've struggled there a little but I like what we've had 43 there two nights in a row," Smart said.

Goran Dragic finished with 17 points and 16 assists (three points, six assists in the fourth), but Smart believes the tone Douglas set defensively was a big reason the Kings held on to win.

Thomas had 27 points, six assists and five steals against the Suns. Douglas was scoreless with two assists.

*Patrick Patterson has also earned Smart's trust. For the second consecutive game, Patterson played the entire fourth quarter, meaning Jason Thompson played just 43 seconds in the fourth.

The lineup for most of the quarter was Douglas, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins.

*When asked why the Kings aren't able to produce the balanced scoring from their four leading scorers on a nightly basis, Cousins was cryptic with his response.

"I know what it is but I can't really speak on it," Cousins said.

So he was asked why he couldn't speak on it.

"Because I can't," Cousins said.

That leaves it up to the rest of us to guess what Cousins is alluding to (again). It could be a reference to Smart and wanting more consistent playing time.

Or it could be frustration with ball movement and a lack of touches during games.

Take a guess.

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