Kings Blog and Q&A

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

December 3, 2013
Postgame notes: Ben McLemore accepts the challenge on defense

Postgame notes from Tuesday's 97-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder:.

*Add defensive specialist to Ben McLemore's many growing roles as a rookie.

McLemore was given the assignment of defending Russell Westbrook. That's a role could expand to possibly defending Kobe Bryant on Friday if he returns for the Lakers.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see McLemore starting the game on more point guards while Greivis Vasquez takes on more stationary players that aren't as big of threats on offense.

McLemore figures to take his lumps on defense, but he said he wants the role and accepts the challenge.

*The Kings have lost five games in a row. This is their second five-game losing streak of the season.

*DeMarcus Cousins (sprained right ankle) missed his first game of the season. He's expected to be ready for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

*Isaiah Thomas scored 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. It's the fifth time in his career that he's scored 15 or more points in the fourth quarter.

*The Kings matched their season high with 10 made three pointers.

*Kings coach Michael Malone on the effort from Thomas:

"That's who he needs to be. I just told him I thought prior to that quarter he was trying to be a very passive, playmaking point guard and that's not who he is, that's not who he's ever been. Isaiah Thomas is at his best when he puts pressure on the defense, he attacks, he looks to score, and then off that he'll get other guys involved. When he plays like that, we take on his personality. We got very aggressive, very confident, and he led the charge with that. But that whole group - Isaiah, Marcus (Thornton), John (Salmons), Patrick (Patterson) and Jason (Thompson) - played with great energy and passion and put us in a position to win the game."

*Kevin Durant on holding the Kings to 34 points over the second and third quarters:

"I think that our offense is really good and that keyed our defense. We're talking. We're scrambling. We kept those guys on the perimeter and rebounded. We just have to continue to do that."

*OKC coach Scott Brooks on the game:

"I thought we need to do a better job in that first quarter. We gave up too many points. They were playing with just a lot of freedom and we weren't active enough on the basketball. I thought bits and parts after that we were much better. We knew that this team (wasn't going to quit). When we got up 17 points I told these guys that they're not going to quit. That's been the trademark of their team so far and that's a good trait to have and they did it. They just kept fighting and playing every possession. Little guy (Isaiah Thomas) got hot and we couldn't turn it off."

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