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

October 23, 2013
Postgame notes: Isaiah Thomas reminds us what he means to the Kings

The Kings and Warriors put on a good show, as always seems to be the case. Some quick observations:

*It doesn't matter if he starts or comes off the bench, Isaiah Thomas is the heart and soul (yes, I know that's a cliché) of the Kings. For the second consecutive preseason game, Thomas came off the bench to bring life to a lifeless Kings unit.

Kings coach Michael Malone said he doesn't know who will be his starters for the season opener, but it's obvious Thomas is a big part of whatever the Kings do.

"That's what Isaiah does," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. "He brings energy to the game regardless if he's starting or coming off the bench. He's done it first year, second year and I'm sure he'll continue to do it."

*Malone said Marcus Thornton would definitely play Friday at the Los Angeles Clippers. Thornton didn't play at all with Jimmer Fredette starting and Ben McLemore playing the rest of the game.

This wasn't the kind of standout game Fredette has had in previous preseason outings (three points, three assists). McLemore scored nine points off the bench and closed the game.

It looks like the battle for the rest of the minutes at shooting guard is between Fredette and Thornton. I can't see any scenario where McLemore doesn't play major minutes.

*The final seconds to close the game were crazy. What stood out to me was:

1. Patrick Patterson coming up with a big offensive rebound and keeping the ball alive again so McLemore could grab another offensive rebound. Patterson had eight rebounds starting next to Cousins, right around his target for rebounds.
2. Salmons is shooting the ball confidently. His game winning three pointer with 7.6 seconds to play capped a 9-point quarter for Salmons.
3. The hustle and toughness of McLemore. He was called for a foul late on David Lee's lay up attempt in the final seconds, but he attacked the play without hesitation. Lee missed the second of two free throws to give the Kings the 91-90 win.

*When Stephen Curry got in Thomas' face in the third quarter, DeMarcus Cousins ran to make sure the situation didn't escalate.

The reality is most players do not really want to fight. This isn't the 1970s or 80s and a brief scuffle costs today's players too much money.

"What I saw was fake tough guys trying to be tough," Cousins said. "I'm not even going to get into that. I'm just going to diffuse the situation and keep playing ball. That was selling wolf tickets, nothing."

*The Kings outscored the Warriors 21-9 in the fourth quarter. That's how you overcome allowing 34 points off 25 turnovers.

Of those turnovers, six were by Greivis Vasquez, five by Patterson and four by Thomas.

*Andrew Bogut vs. Cousins will be fun to watch this season. Genuine disdain between the two on the court. A lot of pulling, grabbing and falling to the floor.

That said, I hated seeing Cousins foul out on a double foul call. That's worse than the offsetting penalties in football.

*Tonight's starting five: Vasquez, Fredette, Salmons, Patterson and Cousins. Yes, that could change Friday.

*Line of the night heard from courtside: Thomas drew a foul and Warriors coach Mark Jackson didn't like it. His words for the officials:

"That's not the real Isiah Thomas."



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