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March 29, 2013
The Morning After: Isaiah Thomas continues to answer the challenges

PHOENIX - In Sunday's loss to Philadelphia, Isaiah Thomas was not proud of his final statistics.

Well he wasn't proud of one in particular.

Zero assists.

Thomas has 15 assists in his last two games, both wins for the Kings while averaging 27 points.

"The game where he had zero assists, I think that really bothered him," said Kings coach Keith Smart." And in that game he had five plays where he made a pass to a player and he put it on the floor and dribbled for a jump shot. Once he made an advance pass to DeMarcus (Cousins) and it looked like it was going to be a clean lay up and he got fouled."

Thomas had nine assists in the game prior to the loss to Philly, but Thomas took no solace in that. Thomas sounded embarrassed to have no assists (while scoring 25 points).

"As a point guard you should never have zero assists regardless of the circumstance," Thomas said. "I feel like I made the right passes in that game but for whatever reason they didn't go down as assists. In these last two games I've been aggressive with trying to get my teammates involved early and then look for mine later."

Smart said that mindset is the next step for Thomas in his development as a player.

"I've shared this and I've been 100 percent truthful with him," Smart said. "I said you're starting for me, you're starting for an NBA team. But I don't know if the rest of the league sees you as a starting point guard and you take it is totally up to you. But you have to show you can manage a team and then pick spots when you must take over a basketball game."

As expected, Thomas takes those words as another challenge. After all, he's been too small or not good enough for a while.

"He can say whatever he wants to," Thomas said. "That's how he felt, that's how a lot of people feel but I'm just going to keep playing and do the best I can. I know I'm a legit starting point guard."

After scoring 23 points to go with eight assists in Thursday's win at Phoenix, Thomas earned another fan in Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter.

"I think the catalyst to it is their point guard," Hunter said of the Kings. "Isaiah Thomas does a great job distributing and scoring. He is a handful. He is only 5'9", but he plays like his is 6'4".




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