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October 25, 2013
Postgame notes: Vasquez and Thomas a potent duo Friday night

LOS ANGELES - The preseason is over and the Kings will be off Saturday before beginning their preparation for the season opener next Wednesday against Denver.

Some things to take from Friday night's 110-100 exhibition win over the Los Angeles Clippers:

*The two-point guard attack is shaping up exactly how the Kings envisioned during the summer, even though Grevis Vasquez is still not 100 percent.

Vasquez is the bigger, pass-first table setter while Thomas causes havoc by completely changing the tempo.

Vasquez had his best showing of the preseason with 12 assists and no turnovers.

"I'm finally getting into my rhythm," Vasquez said. "I'm still a little rusty, missing shots. It's just hard for me right now because I want to turn it on right away."

Vasquez missed all five of his field goals and didn't score against the Clippers.

That wasn't a problem for Thomas, who scored a game-high 27 points off the bench.

"My focus it to just be me," Thomas said. "Whether I start or come off the bench I can only control what I do and the energy I bring. And that's what I'm going to do."

Vasquez and Thomas also figure to share time on the court together this season.

*Vasquez took responsibility for the Kings' slow starts lately. The Kings trailed by 14 in the first half Friday, the third consecutive game where they've trailed big late.

Thomas was the elixir for a sluggish showing, again.

The Kings can't afford to continue that trend in the regular season. Thomas can't save them every night and a good team in the regular season won't allow them to comeback.

*Kings coach Michael Malone wouldn't say tonight's starters were the starters for Denver, but didn't rule it out either.

Here's how it breaks down based off who started Friday:

Center: DeMarcus Cousins. No brainer.
Power forward: Patrick Patterson. Spaces the floor and unlike Jason Thompson, doesn't play in the same areas of the floor as Cousins.
Small forward: John Salmons. The veteran has been steady throughout training camp.
Shooting guard: Marcus Thornton. Had his best scoring game of the preseason (17 points) but Malone was more impressed with his six rebounds. Only an inability or unwillingness to commit to defense figures to keep Thornton off the floor.
Point guard: Vasquez. He's a pass-first point guard to get Cousins going early in games.

*Cousins has been efficient throughout the preseason. He averaged 19.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and shot 51.9 percent in 24 minutes per game.

If he keeps that up, it will be hard to keep him out the All-Star Game.

*Luc Mbah Moute's sore knee this month appears to have opened the door for Travis Outlaw to be in the rotation to start the season. Mbah a Moute did not play tonight.

*Jimmer Fredette did not play tonight to give Thornton and McLemore the minutes at shooting guard.




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