Kings Blog and Q&A

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

March 31, 2013
The Morning After: A little more on the fourth quarter

DeMarcus Cousins has been upset when he's been left out of games in the fourth quarters.

So Cousins was asked if he was surprised Jason Thompson wasn't on the court with him on the court in the fourth even though he had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

"I can't make a call on that," Cousins said. "That's not my decision."

March 30, 2013
Kobe passes Wilt, predicts Kings stay, recalls Game 7

These Kings-Lakers encounters almost never disappoint. Saturday night was no different. In front of a sold out arena - and the place is always packed with people and with emotion when the Lakers visit - Kobe Bryant led his team to a much-needed 103-98 victory and passed Wilt Chamberlain on the league's all-time scoring list.

Oh. One more thing. While the team's future in Sacramento is uncertain because the Maloofs have reached agreement to sell majority interest to a group intent on relocating the team to Seattle, Kobe predicted he'll be back here next year. He also (fondly) recalled Game 7 of the Kings-Lakers conference finals classic in 2001-02.

"They're (Kings) not going nowhere," Bryant said, laughing, when surrounded by reporters late Saturday in the visitors locker room. "The cowbells are still (clanging) ... I predict we'll be back here next year. You guys have been saying the same thing for three years."

March 30, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Lakers

FINAL
Lakers 103, Kings 98

A foul that wasn't called late had the Kings angry as they fell to the Lakers.

DeMarcus Cousins attempted a 22-foot jumper after getting Dwight Howard to bite on a pump fake. Cousins leaned forward and Howard made contact but there was no foul call and Howard was credited with a blocked shot.

The ball ended up with Cousins again, who launched another three that was short and the Lakers sealed the game with two free throws from Kobe Bryant.

It was a tough way to end a game that the Kings led by 12 in the first half and by seven midway through the third quarter.

The Kings (27-47) had six players score in double figures, led by Tyreke Evans with 21 points. He also had nine rebounds and six assists. Cousins finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Dwight Howard led the Lakers (38-36) with 24 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Kobe Bryant had 19 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. Pau Gasol had 12 points and 10 assists.

THIRD QUARTER
Lakers 82, Kings 75

Sacramento did its part in giving the Lakers every chance to take the lead. The Kings committed seven turnovers in the quarter as the Lakers closed the third quarter on a 17-3 run.

The Kings gave up 10 points off turnovers in the quarter.

The offense has slowed down as the Kings have fallen into trying to dribble out of trouble too much.

After making 15 field goals in the first quarter, the Kings have made 15 since.

All five starters have scored in double figures for the Kings led by Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans with 15 points.

Evans also has a six rebounds and a team-high six assists.

Kobe Bryant has 16 points and 11 assists for the Lakers. Dwight Howard had 18 points and nine rebounds.

HALFTIME
Kings 57, Lakers 53

The Kings weren't going to keep up their amazing shooting from the first quarter and cooled off considerably.

The Kings scored just 20 points in the second quarter as the Lakers rallied behind Kobe Bryant to get back in the game after falling behind by 12.

The Kings are still getting balanced scoring and have only three turnovers, but Bryant got going after going scoreless in the first quarter.

Bryant has 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

John Salmons has 13 points for the Kings. Jason Thompson (11 points) and DeMarcus Cousins (10 points) have also scored in double figures. Tyreke Evans has eight points, five assists and four rebounds.

Neither team has been stellar on defense.

The Kings are shooting 51.1 percent. The Lakers are shooting 52.6 percent.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 37, Lakers 25

The Kings are shooting 71.4 percent to jump out to an early lead over the Lakers. The Kings made 15 of 21 shots, led by Jason Thompson.

Thompson made five of his six shots for a game-high 11 points. DeMarcus Cousins has eight points and three rebounds.

The Lakers shot 55 percent, but lost Steve Nash to a right hamstring strain two minutes into the game.

Kobe Bryant hasn't scored for the Lakers. Dwight Howard has eight points and three rebounds to lead the Lakers.

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".


March 28, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Suns

FINAL
Kings 117, Suns 103

PHOENIX - DeMarcus Cousins (34 points, 14 rebounds) and Isaiah Thomas (23 points, eight assists) sat out the entire fourth quarter as Sacramento cruised to is second win in a row, both coming on the road.

The Kings (27-46) jumped ahead in the first quarter and except for a few moments in the third quarter were never seriously challenged.

That had a lot to do with Cousins, who led the Kings to 62 points in the paint.

The Kings were dominant across the board.

Sacramento shot 53 percent and outrebounded the Suns 50-37 to make up for committing 18 turnovers (none in the fourth quarter).

Luis Scola led the Suns (23-50) with 25 points.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 88, Suns 78

PHOENIX - DeMarcus Cousins (34 points, 14 rebounds) has till been dominant, but the Kings need to take care of the ball to hold on for the win.

The Kings have 18 turnovers that have led to 19 points for Phoenix. Turnovers helped the Suns cut a 19-point lead down to six (75-69) with 4:50 left in the third.

But the play of Cousins and Isaiah Thomas (23 points, eight assists) has been enough to keep the Kings in the lead.

Luis Scola has 16 points for the Suns. P.J. Tucker has 14 points.

HALFTIME
Kings 64, Suns 50

PHOENIX - At this rate DeMarcus Cousins might not play long enough to establish any new career highs.

Cousins already has 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Kings have been hot, shooting 54.4 percent in the first half.

The only other King to score in double figures has been Isaiah Thomas with 14 points. Thomas also has eight assists.

But Cousins has been the catalyst tonight as the Suns have no answer for him. Luis Scola isn't strong enough and Hamed Haddadi isn't quick enough to contend with Cousins.

The Suns are shooting just 40.8 percent. So not only can they not stop Cousins, they aren't playing well enough on offense to keep up.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 38, Suns 32

PHOENIX - DeMarcus Cousins is on pace for a career night.

Cousins has 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting and seven rebounds. Cousins has made one of his two three pointers along the way.

Cousins' career high is 41 points, against Phoenix on April 3, 2012.

Cousins led an offense that made 13 of 20 shots to start the game, which helped overcome five turnovers.

Isaiah Thomas has 11 points six assists and Jason Thompson already has eight points.

P.J. Tucker has eight points to lead Phoenix.

March 28, 2013
The Morning After: Kings continue mastery of Warriors backcourt

OAKLAND - There's one playoff-bound team the Kings own.

Sacramento took the season series with the Golden State Warriors with their 105-98 win on Wednesday night.

Games that start at 7:30 p.m. tough with a 10:30 p.m. deadline, so there are plenty of notes that don't have time to make it into the game story.

March 27, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Warriors

FINAL
Kings 105, Warriors 98

OAKLAND - Behind 31 points and seven assists from Isaiah Thomas, the Kings ended a two-game losing streak and a four-game losing skid on the road.

The Kings (26-46) had not beaten a team with a wining record on the road this season until defeating the Warriors (41-32).

David Lee had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, who followed up an emotional win over the Los Angeles Lakers by dropping a game most felt they could win considering the Kings have struggled on the road all season.

But Stephen Curry missed 5 of 18 shots in scoring 17 points and adding 12 assists.

The Kings won even though the Warriors scored 68 points in the paint, the most the Kings have allowed this season.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 77, Warriors 66

OAKLAND - Isaiah Thomas dropped 17 points on the Warriors in the third quarter as the Kings led by as many as 12 points.

Thomas now has 23 points and seven assists. He's made 6 of 8 three pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins has 14 points and Jason Thompson has nine points and nine rebounds.

David Lee has 14 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors. Lee also has a game-high six turnovers.

The Kings have forced 14 turnovers.

HALFTIME
Kings 47, Warriors

OAKLAND - The Kings had just one turnover in the second quarter and overcome a nine-point deficit to take the lead at halftime.

The Kings trailed 33-24 early in the quarter, but rallied with their second unit. Marcus Thornton has 11 points off the bench to lead the Kings in scoring.

Isaiah Thomas has six points and six assists. DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson both have eight points.

David Lee has 12 points and five rebounds to lead Golden State. Andrew Bogut has 10 points and five rebounds.

Stephen Curry has six points and eight assists but has missed eight of his nine shots.

FIRST QUARTER
Warriors 27, Kings 24

OAKLAND - The Kings jumped out to a 12-2 lead and the Warriors answered with a 15-3 run to overcome their slow start.

The Kings helped the Warriors stay in the game by shooting 39.1 percent (9 of 23) and committing six turnovers.

Jason Thompson has eight points and four rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins has four points and five rebounds. Cousins, however, also has three turnovers.

Stephen Curry has four points and five assists, but his poor shooting against the Kings hasn't changed as he has missed five of his first six shots.

March 26, 2013
More on Kings, Kevin Johnson, NBA, City Council

There were no surprises at the City Council meetings that ended a few hours. Council members voted 7-2 to approve a term sheet detailing the public's contribution to the proposed $448 million downtown sports and entertainment complex, with Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong - both of whom expressed concern about the city's risk and the lack of time to more closely vet the agreement - voting against the agreement.

Tuesday's vote was the latest development in Mayor Kevin Johnson's campaign to keep the Kings in Sacramento. The Maloofs already sold their majority interest in the team to the Seattle-based group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, but the league's other owners (as stated in the NBA by-laws) have to approve all sales and relocations. Within the past several weeks, Johnson, attempting to come up with a counter bid, has put together a potential Kings ownership group that includes billionaire Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive and Steve Jacobs, founder of San Diego-based-Qualcomm.

Here are a few other thoughts, quotes and observations from the meeting in the overheated, and overcrowded council chambers:

March 26, 2013
Tyreke Evans questionable for Wednesday at Golden State

Kings guard Tyreke Evans (stomach) is questionable for Wednesday night's game at Golden State.

Evans began feeling ill at halftime of Sunday's loss to Philadelphia. Evans said he was vomiting and though he played in the third quarter was unable to finish the game.

Evans was held out of practice this afternoon and will be undergoing tests, so the team did not classify Evans has having the flu.


March 25, 2013
Kings, Burkle, Rendell, Fourth Investor Keep It Interesting


This was just another wild and crazy day in a Kings arena saga that has extended into its second decade - and become more dramatic by the hour. Before a fourth major investor emerged in the attempt to buy the team, build an arena and keep the franchise in Sacramento, joining the efforts of billionaire developer and Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive, I spoke with several interesting parties and NHL sources about Burkle.

The group includes former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and Pat Brisson, Sidney Crosby's agent and longtime friend of hockey legend Mario Lemieux, who partnered with Burkle to buy the Penguins out of bankruptcy in 1999 and faciitated development of the new Consol Energy Center. I wrote a column about this for Tuesday's print editions of The Bee, but for a look ahead:

* Rendell, who was governor when the private/public financing plan for the arena was finalized in 2007, characterized Burkle as an aggressive, bruising, but fair negotiating partner. The former governor estimated the state's contribution to the $321 million facility, which opened in 2010, at 35 percent.

* Burkle is universally described as an intensely private, media-shunning pro sports owner. Nonetheless, because of his willingness and financial ability to spend and compete in the market, he is extremely popular in Pittsburgh. Of course, his team also wins: Since he joined Lemieux's ownership bid, the Penguins have been to the Stanley Cup finals twice, won once, and withstood repeated relocation threats before the new downtown facility was negotiated and constructed. The Penguins also currently own the best record in the NHL, are regarded as elite hockey franchise in the United States, and have sold out the building since Valentine's Day, 2007.

* The plot thickens. The addition of Ranadive last weekend to Sacramento's potential ownership group was interesting enough. David Stern loves his reputation as the most progressive commissioner in professional sports (think WNBA, the number of African-American head coaches, etc.), and the fact Ranadive would be the first Indian-born native is extremely significant. So is Stern's retirement date: Feb., 2014. If Mayor Kevin Johnson's coalition somehow pulls this for Sacramento? I think the Kings finally find a permanent home. That said, I still think Seattle winds up with an expansion franchise or the promise of the next team that financially is forced to relocate.

* The introduction of the Jacobs family, founders of San Diego-based Qualcomm, does nothing but strengthen Sacramento's efforts and suggest that a competitive bid for majority interest in the team will be presented to the league's relocation committee in the next few weeks. Of course, let's not forget the Maloofs have already agreed to sell the team to the Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer group in Seattle, but also, that the Board of Governors has the right to approve all sales and relocations. Again, the league does not want yet another relocation, particularly one involving a franchise that was extremely robust and viable - a model franchise, Stern said - before the Maloofs were crushed during the nation's economic collapse.

* Burkle and Mastrov abruptly canceled a Monday afternoon visit to The Bee. In light of the late-afternoon developments, and the introduciton of the Jacobs family, it starts to make sense.

March 25, 2013
The Morning After: 76ers the latest team to exploit the NBA's worst defense

In case you didn't realize it, the Philadelphia 76ers aren't an offensive force in the NBA.

But if you watched the Kings play the 76ers on Sunday, you might think the 76ers were an offensive juggernaut.

Nope. Not even close.

March 24, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. 76ers

FINAL
76ers 117, Kings 103

The Kings went from ahead by 13 points in the first half to being blown out by a balanced and surprisingly efficient Philadelphia team

The Kings (25-46) have now lost two games in a row with two road games coming up on the schedule.

Isaiah Thomas had 25 points to lead the Kings but registered no assists in the game. Tyreke Evans had 19 points and eight assists.

The 76ers (27-42) entered the game averaging a league-worst 92.4 points, but piled on the points after a slow start.

Dorell Wright had 22 points off the bench. Jrue Holiday finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Lavoy Allen added a career-high 20 points off the bench.

The 76ers scored a season high while matching their season-high with 31 assists.

THIRD QUARTER
76ers 91, Kings 82

The unraveling of the Kings continued in the third quarter. After leading by 13 in the first half, the Kings will need a big rally to comeback tonight.

The Kings' scoring has declined every quarter since scoring 31 in the first quarter. DeMarcus Cousins has five fouls, which has limited his effectiveness (six points, eight rebounds).

Sacramento's defense has been passive since the first quarter. Philadelphia shot 15 of 24 (62.5 percent ) in the third.

Six 76ers have scored in double figures, led by Dorell Wright with 19 points. Jrue Holiday is flirting with a triple double (17 points, seven rebounds, six assists).

Tyreke Evans has 19 points and eight assists to lead the Kings.

HALFTIME
Kings 58, 76ers 58

Philadelphia found its offense and outscored the Kings 36-27 in the second quarter.

It was the bench of the 76ers that did the bulk of the work. Dorell Wright scored 13 of 16 points in the second quarter and Lavoy Alen had 10 of his 12 points in the second period.

Tyreke Evans had two points in the second after his hot start and has 14 points and five assists. Marcus Thornton has 12 points and Patrick Patterson added 10 points.

DeMarcus Cousins had to leave the game briefly after suffering a long scratch under his right eye. Between that and three fouls, Cousins has only four points and six rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 31, 76ers 22

Tyreke Evans is off to a hot start as the Kings have jumped on the poor-shooting 76ers.

Evans has 12 points and four assists in one of his best starts to a game in a while. DeMarcus Cousin had to leave the bench briefly (no reason given) but he had four points and five rebounds in seven minutes.

The Kings shot 13 of 21 (61.9 percent) in the quarter.

Spencer Hawes had six points and three rebounds for Philadelphia, which shot 10 of 27 (37 percent).

All-Star guard Jrue Holiday had four points and four assists, but missed five of his seven shots.

Hawes is being booed constantly for his admitted stance that he wants to see an NBA team back in his hometown of Seattle, even if it means the Kings being sold and moving there.

March 23, 2013
Kings final: Nuggets 101, Kings 95


DENVER - The Kings had their chances. They were almost streak-busters. Almost. But after recovering from an early 15-point deficit and taking five-point leads in both of the final two periods, they committed a series of costly turnovers, failed to control the defensive boards, and allowed the Nuggets too many inside opportunities in a 101-95 loss at the Pepsi Center.

After DeMarcus Cousins brought the Kings within 95-92 and just under two minutes remaining, Jason Thompson was assessed a loose ball foul, Andre Miller drove past Isaiah Thomas for a layup (and free throw), and the Nuggets held on for their 15th straight victory.

The Nuggets, who also have won 17 straight at the Pepsi Center, were led by Danilo Gallinari's 19 points. They scored 62 points in the paint. Cousins led the Kings with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

March 23, 2013
Kings in-game blog


DENVER - DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and John Salmons led a nice run in the third quarter. Cousins' slithery drive gave the Kings their biggest lead of the game - 71-66 - with 3:30 minutes remaining in the third. The teams are exchanging the lead early in the fourth.

March 23, 2013
A copy of the term sheet for the new sports and entertainment arena at the Downtown Plaza

Here's a link to the term sheet on the agreement Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced today with a private investment group for a new sports and entertainment arena at the Downtown Plaza site.

mayor2.jpg

For the term sheet go here.

For The Bee story by Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler today, go here.

Photo courtesy Mayor's office

March 23, 2013
Kings in-game blog


DENVER - Well, this game is unfolding about the way one might have expected. The Nuggets broke out to an early lead and spent the remainder of the first half toying with the Kings.
Breakouts. Dunks. Rebounds. Backdoor cuts. Perfect bounce passes. If he was watching back at his home in Princeton, former Kings special assistant Pete Carril probably liked what he saw ... from George Karl's bunch. And how many folks can even name Denver's starting lineup? No matter.
The Kings aren't hitting from three (2-for-10) and aren't doing much of anything else, either, and trail 50-40 at halftime. DeMarcus Cousins (eight rebounds, two assists) and Jimmer Fredette and seldom-used Travis Outlaw provided some spark, but that was it. Kings were outrebounded 28-10 through two periods.

March 22, 2013
Live chat: New Sacramento Kings investor, arena and more

March 22, 2013
The Morning After: Kings, Cousins finally conquer Pekovic

Nikola Pekovic might not be regarded as one of the league's premier centers.

But don't try to convince DeMarcus Cousins that Pekovic is a pushover.

Cousins had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Kings' 101-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Sleep Train Arena.

It was the first time in four games that Pekovic has started that the Kings have won over the last two seasons.

"It's a tough matchup against Pek because he's a big, strong guy," Cousins said. "But really not that physical - it's hard to explain. I'm not saying he's a soft player. I can't explain it, he's a tough matchup."

Cousins averaged 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 4.7 fouls in the three previous losses against Pekovic.

Cousins was shooting 44.7 percent (17 of 38) in those games.

"That was good for him because Pekovic is a strong, strong guy," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "I thought that the numbers that Cousins had tonight against him were pretty good. You have to go through the league and play against a guy a couple of times to understand how they play and how you can still be effective in the game. You've got to keep your composure. I thought Cousins did some good things with that matchup and he had to play a little physical from both sides. I thought that Cole (Aldrich) came in and did a good job as well. We found a group and it was a team effort to win the game. It was hard to watch for a moment there."

The Kings won but ...

There were some unusual things about the Kings-Timberwolves game, statistically speaking.

*The Timberwolves shot 1 of 19 on three pointers. It's hard to miss that many threes, especially when some of them were good looks.

*The Kings outscored 21-0 in second chance points. The Kings had just four offensive rebounds compared to 17 for Minnesota.

*The Kings won even though they went fro the 4:01 mark of the fourth quarter (Toney Douglas 10-foot jumper) until the 41.3 second-mark of the quarter when Tyreke Evans scored the final two points of the game for the Kings.


March 21, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Timberwolves

FINAL
Kings 101, Timberwolves 98

Dante Cunningham missed a three pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Kings their second win in their last three games.

The Kings led by 10 in the fourth quarter and were up 99-91 when Minnesota rallied to cut the lead to 99-97 before the Kings got a layup from Tyreke Evans with under a minute to play.

Evans finished with 21 points, 19 coming in the second half. Isaiah Thomas led the Kings (25-44) with 24 points and six assists. DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Nikola Pekovic led Minnesota (23-43) with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 79, Timberwolves 77

Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins combined to score 22 of the Kings' 26 points in the third quarter as the Kings took the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Cousins also grabbed nine rebounds in the quarter, one more than the enter Minnesota squad.

The Kings made 10 of 15 field goals in the third. Thomas scored eight of his game-high 22 points in the quarter. Cousins is up to 15 points and 13 rebounds while Evans has 10 points.

Thomas also has six assists.

The Timberwolves are shooting 42.9 percent while the Kings are up to 54.2 percent.

Nikola Pekovic has 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves

HALFTIME
Timberwolves 57, Kings 53

The Kings trailed by 12 in the second quarter by closed the period on a 10-2 run to keep the game within reach at halftime.

Isaiah Thomas (14 points, five assists) has been the catalyst on offense. Patrick Patterson added 11 points off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins and John Salmons each have nine points.

But if the Kings are to win this game, they will need to rebound better. Minnesota has a 27-21 rebounding edge and has a 10-0 advantage in second-chance points.

Nikola Pekovic leads the Timberwolves with 13 points and eight rebounds. J.J. Barea has nine points and four assists off the bench.

After no turnovers in the first quarter, the Kings had seven in the second quarter.

FIRST QUARTER
Timberwolves 26, Kings 25

Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic is off to a good start with 11 points while Kings center DeMarcus Cousins already has two fouls that forced him to the bench.

Pekovic scored nine of Minnesota's first 13 points.

Isaiah Thomas (seven points, two assists) did a good job of making sure the game didn't get out of hand for the Kings. Cousins had four points and two rebounds in eight minutes.

All seven Kings that played scored.


March 20, 2013
The Morning After: Is DeMarcus Cousins vs. Grant Napear no big deal?

The Kings beat the Clippers Tuesday night, but so what?

One trip over to Grant Napear and now we're playing the "What did DeMarcus say?" game.

My phone and Twitter timeline were flooded with messages about DeMarcus Cousins call or not calling Napear, the Kings' television play-by-play man a not-so-nice name.

After the game Cousins laughed at the idea of his visit to the announce table being a big deal.

Perhaps he was just trying to help Napear's ratings?

You can watch for yourself and decide if Cousins was out of line.


Napear wasn't bothered, per his Twitter account:

But what would a Kings game be if DeMarcus Cousins didn't give us something to talk about, right?

March 19, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Clippers

FINAL
Kings 116, Clippers 101

After trailing by eight early in the fourth quarter, the Kings (24-44) got going on offense the Clippers couldn't keep up.

Marcus Thornton led the way with 23 points off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Tyreke Evans had 17 points.

Toney Douglas was a big boost off the bench with 19 points, 17 coming in the fourth quarter.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers (46-22) with 26 points. Chris Paul had 11 points and 15 assists, but shot just 2 of 10.

Jamal Crawford added 25 points off the bench for Los Angeles.

THIRD QUARTER
Clippers 83, Kings 78

There were more fouls called (19) than made shots between both teams in the third quarter.

The Kings were just 4 of 16 from the field but made 14 of 17 free throws.

The Clippers took the lead behind Blake Griffin, who scored eight of his 20 points in the third.

DeMarcus Cousins has 17 points, but has played only 18 minutes because he has four fouls.

Jason Thompson had to leave the game to get stitches above his right eye after a collision with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

HALFTIME
Kings 56, Clippers 54

The pace picked up in the second quarter, but the Kings held their own to take a slim halftime lead.

Marcus Thornton had 14 points in the first half, all coming in the second quarter. Thornton made four three pointers.

Toney Douglas came in and had five assists as the second unit kept the Kings going. Patrick Patterson added seven points off the bench.

DeMarcus Cousins added 12 points for Sacramento.

Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 14 points. Blake Griffin has 12 points. Chris Paul has five points and nine assists.

The Clippers lost Chauncey Billups for the game with a right groin strain.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 23, Clippers 23

DeMarcus Cousins returned to the lineup from a quad injury and contributed eight points and four rebounds in eight minutes.

Cousins missed the previous two games with the injury.

Isaiah Thomas added five points and two assists for the Kings.

Blake Griffin has eight points, four rebounds and two assists for the Clippers. Chris Paul already has five assists for Los Angeles.

The game was played at a pace the Kings have to like. The Clippers managed just four fast break points and did not allow the Clippers to get into transition with turnovers.

The Kings had only two turnovers in the quarter and gave up no points off them.

March 19, 2013
Kings vs. Clippers: Five things to watch

DeMarcus Cousins (quad) and Tyreke Evans (foot) will both be in the starting lineup tonight.

With that in mind, here are five things to look for tonight.

1. Energy meter: Cousins returned to practice on Monday and coach Keith Smart will closely monitor him for conditioning purposes.
2. Posting Blake: When the Clippers go to a smaller lineup with Blake Griffin at center, the Kings want to inside to Cousins. The Kings want to make Griffin work so the guards have to find Cousins in those situations.
3. Reke's advantages: The Clippers start Chauncey Billups at shooting guard. Evans won't be able to overpower Billups in the post, an advantage Evans has against some guards.
4. Big rotation: With Cousins back, Smart has to figure out how to keep Cousins involved while also using Jason Thompson and keeping the hot-shooting Patrick Patterson in the mix.
5. Tempo: Both teams like to play at a fast pace. The team that generates their offense with their defense will be in best position to win.

March 18, 2013
DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans are questionable for Clipper game

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (left quad contusion) and guard Tyreke Evans (sore right foot) are questionable for Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Cousins returned to practice Monday after missing the last two games. He finished practice wearing a pad over his injured leg after being bumped during practice.

"It feels better," Cousins said. "Still not exactly where I want it to be but it feels better."

Evans played in Sunday's loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Chuck Hayes missed practice for personal reasons. James Johnson (personal reasons) is still not with the team.

March 18, 2013
The Morning After: Trying to solve the problem of hero ball

LOS ANGELES - The Kings fell back into their bad offensive habits in Sunday's 113-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, it was the return of the dribbling show. And it only took one quarter - the third - to lead the Kings' demise in a very winnable game.

"When we try to play one-on-one or play hero basketball we tend to have games, situations and quarters like that," said forward Patrick Patterson.

March 17, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Lakers

FINAL
Lakers 113, Kings 102

LOS ANGELES - The ball stopped moving and the Kings couldn't keep up with a the shorthanded Lakers, who used sharing to pull out a win.

The Kings had 16 assists at halftime but finished with just 21 for the game. That included a third quarter with one assist.

The Kings were in the game early in the fourth quarter, cutting a 12-point lead to two at 90-88. The Lakers responded with an 11-0 run to create enough separation.

Isaiah Thomas led the Kings (23-44) with 26 points. Patrick Patterson added 22 points. Marcus Thornton had 15 points off the bench for Sacramento, which fell to 2-7 without DeMarcus Cousins (quad injury) this season.

The Lakers (36-32) used just seven players with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol out with injuries. The two reserves were hot. Antawn Jamison had 27 points and eight rebounds. Steve Blake had 16 points and eight assists.

Metta World Peace had 22 points. Steve Nash had 19 points and 12 assists while Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds.

THIRD QUARTER
Lakers 86, Kings 76

LOS ANGELES - As is often the case when thins go bad for the Kings, the ball stopped moving in the third quarter.

Isaiah Thomas has 24 points after scoring 12 of Sacramento's points in the third, but the Kings managed just one assist in the quarter.

The Kings shot 8 of 23 in the third.

Patrick Patterson has 20 points. The only other King in double figures is Tyreke Evans with 11.

Steve Nash has 12 points and 12 assists for the Lakers. Dwight Howard has 12 points and 15 rebounds while Metta World Peace has 17 points.

The Lakers have received a boost from the bench. Antawn Jamison has 19 points and Steve Blake has 11 points and seven assists.

HALFTIME
Kings 56, Lakers 56

LOS ANGELES - The Kings trailed by 10 in the second quarter but managed to rally behind Patrick Patterson (14 points), Isaiah Thomas (12 points, five assists) and Tyreke Evans (11 points, five assists).

It also helps that the kings have only two turnovers because the Lakers are shooting 52.4 percent and have a 21-14 rebounding advantage. The Kings have maximized their rebounds though with 15 second-chance points.

The Kings are also hanging around thanks to their three-point shooting (7 of 15). The Lakers are 5 of 17 on threes.

The Kings have no answer for Dwight Howard (12 points, 11 rebounds). Antawn Jamison added 11 points. Steve Nash has seven points and six assists.

Both teams have 16 assists.

FIRST QUARTER
Lakers 33, Kings 27

LOS ANGELES - The Kings had no turnovers in the first quarter, but allowed the Lakers to shoot 59.1 percent as seven different Lakers scored.

Patrick Patterson and Isaiah Thomas each have nine points for the Kings. Thomas also has three assists. Tyreke Evans has seven points.

Antawn Jamison had eight points of the bench to lead the Lakers. Dwight Howard had four points and six rebounds.

The Kings are playing without DeMarcus Cousins (left quad contusion). James Johnson (personal reasons) is also not with the team.

The Lakers are without Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle, flu). Pau Gasol is also out.

The Kings only had Jason Thompson for three minutes before he picked up two fouls.

March 17, 2013
Kings at Lakers: Five things to watch

LOS ANGELES - While the Clippers and Knicks are occupying Staples Center, a few things to consider for later when the Kings play the Lakers.

1. DeMarcus Cousins' status - He's officially listed as day-to-day with a left quad contusion, but the Kings didn't sound optimistic about his status a couple of days ago. But he'll probably decide if he'll play based on his pregame workout.

2. Kobe Bryant's status - Bryant (flu, sprained left ankle) is another gametime decision. Sounds like Bryant won't play, but with him you never know so the Kings will plan as if Bryant is playing.

3. Using all the fouls - If Cousins doesn't play might the Kings be reluctant to use up fouls to put Dwight Howard on the foul line? The Kings might not want Jason Thompson taking fouls unnecessarily.

4. Run, run, run - The Kings can't allow the Lakers to dictate the tempo. They have to force the older Lakers to run.

5. Go inside - Even if Cousins doesn't play, the Kings have to attack the rim. With Pau Gasol still out, the Kings have to see if they can get Howard in foul trouble and remove one of the game's premier shot blockers.

March 15, 2013
Kings preparing to play Lakers without DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins did not practice Friday because of a left quad contusion suffered in Sunday's loss to Milwaukee.

"He went from light conditioning (Thursday) to now where you've got to put in the concept of moving laterally all over the floor and that's something he did not have today," said Kings coach Keith Smart.

The Kings defeated Chicago, 121-79, on Wednesday without Cousins. The Kings are planning as if Cousins will not be available this Sunday when the Kings play at the Los Angeles Lakers.

"If he can go it's a bonus," Smart said.

March 14, 2013
The Morning After: Patrick Patterson a hit with coaches, teammates

Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas put up the big scoring numbers in Wednesday's win over the Chicago Bulls.

But Patrick Patterson's early contribution was just as vital.

Patterson made all five of his shots for 11 points and grabbed five rebounds (surpassing his season average) in the 121-79 win over the Bulls.

March 13, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Bulls

FINAL
Kings 121, Bulls 79

Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas led the Kings to a lopsided win over the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings led by as many as 45 points in what was their biggest margin of victory this season.

Evans scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting to go with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

Thomas had 22 points as the Kings starting backcourt outscored the Bulls starting guards 48-19 (all 19 points from Nate Robinson).

Sacramento (23-43) is off until a game Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

The Kings shot 54.2 percent and committed just five turnovers in the win.

Carlos Boozer had 21 points for the Bulls (35-29).

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 93, Bulls 60

The Kings led by as many as 44 points (their biggest lead of the season) as they continue to blow out the Bulls.

Tyreke Evans has 24 points and seven assists. Isaiah Thomas added 22 points in what has been a one-sided game most of the night.

Evans is shooting 10-for-11 and also has three steals and a blocked shot.

The Kings are shooting 56.9 percent with only four turnovers for the game. The Bulls are shooting 39.1 percent and have allowed 17 points off 12 turnovers.

HALFTIME
Kings 65, Bulls 36

The Kings had what might have been their most impressive first half of the season. Sacramento shot 58.3 percent, committed one turnover and held the Bulls to 35 percent shooting.

The one turnover is a season low for a half.

Tyreke Evans led the way with 18 points and six assists. Patrick Patterson and Isaiah Thomas each had 11 points.

The Kings have 15 fast break points and 32 points in the paint and have led by as many as 34 points.

Carlos Boozer (16 points) is the only Bull to score in double figures.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 34, Bulls 20

The Kings are shooting 65.2 percent (15 of 23) and had no turnovers as they jumped out to an early lead.

Patrick Patterson had 11 points and five rounds in his first start as a King. Isaiah Thomas had nine points and Tyreke Evans had eight points.

Patterson started at power forward and Jason Thompson started at center for DeMarcus Cousins, who out with a left quad contusion.

Carlos Boozer led Chicago with 11 points.

Cousins avoided a league suspension for his flagrant foul 2 in Sunday's loss to Milwaukee. He is listed as day-to-day.

Patterson made all five of his shots in the first quarter.


March 12, 2013
Video: DeMarcus Cousins discusses latest ejection, says elbow was unintentional

DeMarcus Cousins addressed the media after Tuesday's practice. He did not practice because of a bruised left leg, suffered when Mike Dunleavy boxed him out in Sunday's loss to Milwaukee.

Cousins is awaiting word from the NBA about a suspension for the elbow he landed to the back of Dunleavy's head, an elbow that Cousins said was unintentional.


March 11, 2013
Petrie, Kings await league discipline for DeMarcus Cousins

I asked Geoff Petrie if the team was considering additional discipline for DeMarcus Cousins following his latest blowup.

Petrie said no. Cousins will likely be suspended by the NBA for Wednesday's game for his elbow to Mike Dunleavy's head on Sunday.

Cousins has five flagrant foul points and will be suspended for a game. Four more technical fouls and Cousins will be suspended for a game.

"What would more suspensions do?" Petrie said. "He's already had a bunch and facing more?"

Assuming Cousins is suspended it would be his fourth suspension this season, third by the NBA.

Petrie on Cousins controlling his emotions:

"It's more about trying get to the right cause and have some high level understanding to eliminate the things that feed into that."

On Cousins' actions against the Bucks and his habit of taking shots at the coaching staff and organization in postgame comments:

"There's certain line that you just can't cross, and some of the lines got crossed last night. He's certainly entitled to his opinion. But everyone has a role in ow things go, how the team progresses and how professional you are in your approach things."

Petrie said the team remains committed to helping Cousins.

March 11, 2013
The Morning After: Teammates say it's up to Cousins to control himself

DeMarcus Cousins left his teammates in a bind, again.

And his teammates are tired of trying to figure out what to do about Cousins. They'd prefer if Cousins would just stop doing things that forces them to answer "What was DeMarcus thinking?"

Tyreke Evans was left to find some kind of positive: "Hopefully he'll get a chance to play against Chicago ... Thankfully he didn't throw no punches."

That's what it's come to.

The Kings still face the possibility Cousins will be suspended for his elbow to Mike Dunleavy in Sunday's loss to Milwaukee.

"Unfortunately I didn't see what happened so I have no idea what to say to him," said Patrick Patterson. "If I have the opportunity to go back, look at the play and see what happened, knowing what happened during the play will decide what I say to him when I make contact with him."

But will it matter what Patterson or anyone says to Cousins?

"It's hard, he's his own man," said guard Isaiah Thomas. "I say things to him, he listens to me a lot. A lot of people say things to him, especially when that thing happened. Everyone said, 'Just calm down, calm down.' But he wears his emotions on his sleeve. But that's the big thing with DeMarcus. He just has to be smarter. He's got to know when things like that happen they're going to be looking at you. I didn't see what happened, whatever he did."

Added Jason Thompson:

"You can give a person as much advice as you can. From us, to coaches, to Hall of Famers, to whatever. But at the end of the day you're in this league because you're a grown man, you've going to do what you want to do."

Thomas on if Cousins will ever figure out how to control his emotions:

"I hope. I don't know what it's going to take. I hope so. He's a helluva player, one of the best big men in the league. He has to be smarter in certain situations so one day so I hope it does click or something but I think it's in his control. It's in nobody's control but himself. And I think it will click, hopefully soon."

*As for the game, who would have guessed it would take Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Tyreke Evans and Cole Aldrich to rally the Kings late.

And on that free throw Fredette missed on purpose that gave the Kings a chance to win?

"Great play by him at the end," said Bucks coach Jim Boylan. "We knew he was going to miss but to be that accurate with the miss and hit the front of the rim and have it come right back to him in no time. It looked like the Globetrotter play, with the fake free throw the ball came back so fast."

Fredette had the ball stripped from him by Monta Ellis on the rebound. The Kings wanted a foul call. Ellis said he had "all ball."

You can review that play and the Cousins-Dunleavy incidents again for yourself.


March 10, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Bucks

FINAL
Bucks 115, Kings 113

A furious late rally by the Kings fell short.

Jimmer Fredette missed the second of two free throws on purpose with 4.7 seconds to play and grabbed the rebound.

Monta Ellis made a play on the ball and it appeared Fredette might have been fouled but there was no whist. The ball ended up with Tyreke Evans, who missed a deep three at the buzzer.

Ellis led the Bucks (32-29) with 29 points and nine assists.

Evans had 20 points. Fredette finished with 14 off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 10 rebounds before being ejected in the third quarter.

The Kings (22-43) host Chicago on Wednesday.

THIRD QUARTER
Bucks 85, Kings 80

The Kings are back in the game, but will be without their starting center the rest of the game.

DeMarcus Cousins was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 for an elbow to Mike Dunleavy's head with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

Cousins was angry at Dunleavy for going low to box him out on a play that didn't appear dirty.

Cousins limped to the bench after the play after being restrained by teammates near the Bucks bench.

When play resumed following a timeout, Cousins immediately got in Dunleavy's face and was called for technical foul along with Dunleavy. Eight seconds later, Cousins elbowed Dunleavy as he cut through the lane.

It's Cousins' fourth eject this season. He had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings outscored the Bucks 13-9 after the ejection.

Monta Ellis has 19 points and seven assists to lead Milwaukee.

HALFTIME
Bucks 61, Kings 50

The Kings were bad on both ends of the floor in the second quarter. They shot 7-for-22 while allowing 35 points on the second quarter and falling behind by as many as 14 points.

The Kings committed five turnovers and had no answer for Gustavo Ayon, who came off the bench to score 12 ponts and grab seven rebounds for Milwaukee.

Marquis Daniels added 12 points off the bench for Milwaukee. The Bucks' reserves outscored the Kings' bench 25-9 in the first half.

Monta Ellis led Milwaukee with 13 points and six assists.

DeMarcus Cousins is playing well against Milwaukee's undermanned frontline (20 points, five rebounds) and Tyreke Evans has 12 points.

But Kings will need to defend much better and continue to find Cousins to get back in the game.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 29, Bucks 26

It was another strong start for DeMarcus Cousins. He has 14 points, having made six of seven shots after scoring 10 in the first quarter of Friday's win over Phoenix.

Tyreke Evans has nine points as the Kings shot 12-of-24 with only two turnovers to start the game.

Brandon Jennings has seven points to lead the Bucks, who are without three key players due to injury (J.J. Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders).

Former King Samuel Dalmenbert started at center for the Bucks.

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.

March 8, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Suns

FINAL
Kings 121, Suns 112

Four Kings scored at least 20 ponts as the Kings (22-42) defeated the Phoenix Suns (21-41) Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 27 points and six assists. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Tyreke Evans scored 25 points to go with five assists. Marcus Thornton added 23 points.

Goran Dragic had 17 points and 16 assists for Phoenix. Michael Beasley came off the bench for a team-high 24 points.

The Kings shot 54.9 percent and had 30 assists on 45 made field goals.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 89, Suns 82

Isaiah Thomas scored 11of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Kings maintained their lead heading into the fourth quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fourth foul and had to sit out a good portion of the quarter, but Thomas picked up the slack along with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton.

Evans has 16 points and Thornton is up to 13 points.

Goran Dragic has 14 points and 10 assists for the Suns. The Kings routinely shoot in the 45 percent-range, but are shooting 54.8 percent through three quarters.

The Kings also lead even though they had seven turnovers in the third quarter.

HALFTIME
Kings 59, Suns 57

DeMarcus Cousins has 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and no turnovers as he is dominating the small frontline of the Suns.

Cousins has missed only one of his seven shots and made all four of his free throws.

Isaiah Thomas has 13 points and four assists while Tyreke Evans has 10 points.

The Suns led by eight in the second quarter before Cousins and Thomas kept things rolling and the Kings regained the lead. The Kings are shooting 54.5 percent.

Luis Scola, Wesley Johnson and Goran Dragic each have 10 points for Phoenix. Dragic also has eight assists.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 32, Suns 30

Establishing DeMarcus Cousins early was a point of emphasis and he responded with 10 points and made all three of his field goals to start the game.

Cousins had made just three of his previous 22 shots in the last two games.

Cousins also had five rebounds. He should have an advantage most of the night with Marcin Gortat out with a foot injury.

Tyreke Evans added eight points for the Kings.

Wesley Johnson led the Suns with eight points. Goran Dragic already has six assists for the Suns. The Kings have seven.

March 7, 2013
The Morning After: Looking at the recent struggles of DeMarcus Cousins

OAKLAND - It's been a rough couple of nights for DeMarcus Cousins.

Here's the breakdown of his last two games:

Minutes: 47
Shooting: 3-22
Points: 13
Rebounds: 17
Assists: 6
Steals: 4
Blocks: 6
Turnovers: 5
Fouls: 6

Cousins said the offensive struggles aren't a product of new defensive looks.

"No, nothing I haven't seen already," Cousins said.

Cousins did not play the entire fourth quarter in Wednesday's loss to the Warriors. But if you're looking at reasons Keith Smart would sit his leading scorer, it's more likely to be for defense.

It's also a reason Isaiah Thomas (19 minutes) would sit out in favor of Tony Douglas.

In the two quarters Cousins did not play, the Warriors scored 31 points (second and fourth). The Warriors had 56 in the other two quarters.

Cousins admittedly has work to do on defense.

"I do screw up on defense," Cousins said. "I believe (Tuesday) night I had a career high in blocks (five). I do have areas I've got to improve in on defense but it's going to take time."

Cousins has been benched for defense before. When Emeka Okafor was torching the Kings with his offense, Smart went to Chuck Hayes and Thomas Robinson to slow down Okafor.

When it comes to his offense, Smart said Cousins has to play and through this slump while putting in extra work.

"He's not getting what he wants but that's what happens," Smart said. "You've got to learn how to grow out of these. You've got to learn how to play out of them. You've got to figure out Is it how I'm on the floor playing, do I have to get back to working on some things, get back in the film room, all those things."

Smart's relationship with Cousins recently has been tenuous with the center wanting consistent playing time and Smart wanting consistent play on both ends of the floor.

Smart, however, publicly continues to endorse Cousins as a player. Smart said he wasn't disappointed in Cousins' recently play.

"Basketball players, pros have those nights," Smart said. "You want your best players playing well all the time but on some nights it's going to be that way. Sometimes it's going to happen, some nights it's going to be where you don't get what you want. That's part of being a pro; some nights you've got to step back and look at yourself and say, 'you know what, I don't have it tonight, I'm trying hard but it's just not falling my way' and maybe another group on the floor will play well."

Some other notes from Wednesday's loss:

*Don't be surprised if Douglas' on-ball defense is going to cost Thomas and Jimmer Fredette playing time. Smart has been looking for someone to pressure the ball at the point of the attack and Douglas is already the best the Kings have had at that in quite some time.

*Smart continued to praise the professional approach of the three newest Kings:

"Toney and Patrick (Patterson) who have played together in Houston kind of had a little rhythm and feel for where you might be and I thought he did a great job rebounding, defending, thought he did a great job on David Lee for the most part. He did a good job; I thought this young man that we got now has the right spirit to be a good basketball player and for our basketball team he's perfect. He and Toney, and Cole (Aldrich) didn't get a chance to play tonight, but those three guys are good team basketball players, team first guys, and you've got to have that if you want to move forward in our league."

*Patterson had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench. And he already looks like one of the better three-point shooters the Kings have. But Smart was probably more pleased with the eight rebounds Patterson had, nearly double his season average:

"Well I'm always challenging him to be a better rebounder than what he has been over his career. But because he has the ability to space the floor and make those shots from the corner threes, that was the biggest thing there, with him being wide open on penetration and guys knew that he would be there."

March 6, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Warriors

FINAL
Warriors 87, Kings 83

OAKLAND - Klay Thompson's three pointer with 7.5 seconds to play gave the Warriors (35-27) the lead for good as the Kings lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Thompson finished with a game-high 20 points. His late three were his only points of the fourth quarter.

The Kings took an 83-82 lead on a three by Patrick Patterson with 1:24 to play, but could not execute on offense with chances to extend the lead late.

Jason Thompson led the Kings (21-42) with 17 points and eight rebounds. Patterson had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

In 119 meetings in the Sacramento era, never have the Kings and Warriors both scored under 90 points in a game until tonight.

THIRD QUARTER
Warriors 69, Kings 63

OAKLAND - This isn't the kind of score most would have expected between two teams that have struggled to defend.

The Warriors did manage to score 28 points in the third quarter, led by Klay Thompson who has 17 points. But the Warriors are shooting just 39.7 percent, slightly better than the Kings at 38.7 percent.

The Kings are close even though their two leading scorers are having bad shooting nights. DeMarcus Cousins has five points on 2-of-10 shooting. Tyreke Evans has seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Evans does have a team-high six assists.

The Kings have been outrebounded 37-26. Jason Thompson has 11 points and six rebounds to lead the Kings.

HALFTIME
Kings 44, Warriors 41

OAKLAND - There was plenty of Kings' defense on display.

That's right, defense.

The Kings held the Warriors to 13 points in the second quarter on 5-for-20 shooting. The effort was led by reserves Toney Douglas, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes, and Marcus Thornton for the most part.

John Salmons was the only start that played the entire second quarter while DeMarcus Cousins did not play at all in the quarter.

In addition to his on-ball defense, Douglas also scores seven points. Jason Thompson has nine points to lead the Kings.

David Lee has 13 points to lead the Warriors.

FIRST QUARTER
Warriors 28, Kings 21

OAKLAND - The Kings led by five early before the Warriors started making three pointers and eventual led by as many as 10 points.

The Warriors made 11 shots in the first quarter, five being three pointers in 10 attempts.

The Kings shot 9-for-21 in the quarter with six turnovers. The warriors weren't much better, shooting 11-for-24 with seven turnovers.

But the Kings made just two of their six three pointers.

Klay Thompson has a game-high eight points for the Warriors. Jason Thompson leads the Kings with six points.

Keith Smart is using Toney Douglas ahead of Jimmer Fredette as the backup point guard tonight. That's not a surprise considering the offensive prowess of Golden State point guards Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack.

March 6, 2013
The Morning After: DeMarcus Cousins leaves the 'respect area' vs. Nuggets?

In breaking news, DeMarcus Cousins talks trash during games.

Here's what Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari told reporters after the game:

"When you talk trash its fine as long as you don't disrespect and that's what I approached him. I never approach nobody who trash talks to me. I like that and loved it. But it has to be in the respect area and you go out of the respect area that doesn't work with me."

Couple that with Cousins having words with a Kings fan that Cousins said was "disrespectful" there was plenty to discuss about what Cousins had to say during Tuesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Stops wanted

Good news?

The Kings are averaging 110.9 points in their last 12 games.

Bad news?

The Kings are allowing 115.3 points in their last 12 games.

More on Kings South

With Aaron Brooks signing with Houston on Tuesday, the migration of former Kings to Southern Texas continued.

What was lost in that was Tyler Honeycutt, a player the Kings were very high on two years ago, was waived to make room for Brooks.

Kings coach Keith Smart said Honeycutt had made progress with his maturity, but injuries and the depth chart derailed his chances with the Kings.

March 5, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Nuggets

FINAL
Nuggets 120, Kings 113

The Kings' defense fell apart in the second half and allowed the Nuggets to pull away and hand the Kings their eighth loss in nine games.

The Nuggets (40-22) scored 70 points in the second half. The effort was led by Ty Lawson (24 points, seven assists) and Danilo Gallinari (23 points).

Marcus Thornton led the Kings (21-41) with 32 points. Isaiah Thomas had 23 points and eight assists.

DeMarcus shot 1-for-12 in scoring just eight points to go with 13 rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.

THIRD QUARTER
Nuggets 86, Kings 79

Denver opened the third quarter with seven unanswered points as part of a 20-7 run and shot 57 percent in the quarter.

The Kings were 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) with DeMarcus Cousins missing five of his six shots. The Kings stayed within range of the Nuggets by going 13-for-16 on free throws.

Ty Lawson scored 12 of his 20 points in the third. Kosta Koufos had nine of his 14 points in the quarter while Danilo Gallinari his up to 16 points after eight in the third.

Marcus Thornton scored 10 in the third and has a game-high 22 points. It's the fourth time in five games Thornton has scored at least 20 points. Isaiah Thomas has 17 points and five assists.

Cousins 1-for-11 tonight, but has 13 rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.

HALFTIME
Kings 50, Nuggets 50

Jason Thompson (14 points) and Marcus Thornton (12 points) have the Kings even with the Nuggets. Thornton, again, is providing a spark off the bench while Thompson's scoring helped make up for DeMarcus Cousins going scoreless in the first half.

The Nuggets have dominated points in the paint in two previous meetings, but the Kings hold a 30-26 advantage at halftime. The Kings also have a 25-21 rebounding advantage.

The Kings might want to work for closer looks in the second half. Of Sacramento's 47 shots, 15 were three pointers with only four makes.

Kenneth Faried has 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Nuggets. Ty Lawson had eight points and four assists.

While Cousins didn't score, he did have seven rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.

FIRST QUARTER
Nuggets 24, Kings 22

Neither team is shooting extremely well but the Nuggets are ahead even though they are shooting 36 percent (9 of 25). The Kings are shooting 43.5 percent (10 of 23) but only had DeMarcus Cousins for seven minutes before he picked up his second foul.

Jason Thompson led the Kings with 12 points. Cousins blocked three shots to match his season high to go with five rebounds.

Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with eight points and five rebounds.

The Nuggets had four assists, all by Ty Lawson. Isaiah Thomas had three of the Kings' seven assists.

March 4, 2013
The Morning After: Marcus Thornton playing his best of late

John Salmons deserves plenty of praise for his play of late. It's hard to ignore his hot shooting, especially from three-point range.

But Marcus Thornton keeps playing well.

He's been hot since his explosion in Miami (24.8 points, 58.1 field goal percentage, 32-55FG, 48.3 percent three-point percentage, 14-29 3pt FG, .87,5 free throw percentage 21-24 FT) over four games.

March 3, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Bobcats

FINAL
Kings 119, Bobcats 83

The Kings (21-40) recorded their largest margin in a win by beating the the with the worst record in the NBA soundly at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings led by as many as 43 points and recorded a season-high 60 rebounds.

John Salmons led the Kings with 22 points. Jason Thompson had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Thornton had 18 points of the bench.

The Kings scored 43 points in the third quarter to match the most the Bobcats have ever given up in a quarter in franchise history.

Cole Aldrich made his debut and played the final 7:25, scoring two points to go with three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson each had 12 points for the Bobcats (13-46).

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 97, Bobcats 59

John Salmons scored 19 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Kings led by as many as 41 points in what has become a laugher of a game.

Salmons made 4-of-7 from three-point range as the Kings outscored the Bobcats 43-19 in the period.

Six Kings have scored in double figures. Jason Thompson has 18 points and 14 rebounds while Isaiah Thomas has 10 points and seven assists.

The Kings have outrebounded the Bobcats 44-25.

The 41-point lead was the Kings biggest lead of the season.

HALFTIME
Kings 54, Bobcats 40

Marcus Thornton helped spark a big second quarter for Sacramento. Thornton scored 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter as the Kings outscored the Bobcats 27-13 in the period.

DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson also have 12 points apiece.

The Kings have 10 fast break points and have scored 16 points off eight Charlotte turnovers.

The Bobcats are shooting 38.5 percent after 4-for-17 in the second quarter.

Byron Mullens has 10 points to lead Charlotte.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 27, Bobcats 27

The Kings closed the quarter on an 11-2 run to pull even with the Bobcats by the end of the quarter.

The Kings have already given up seven points off five turnovers to help the Bobcats shoot 50 percent from the field.

Jason Thompson has 10 points to lead the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins has eight points. Cousins also has three turnovers.

Kemba Walker has six points and three assists for the Bobcats, who enter the game with the league's record at 13-45.

March 2, 2013
The Morning After: The defense rested too long on road trip

SAN ANTONIO -There's a lot to cover from this road trip.

But it's hard to ignore the Kings' defense.

The Kings concluded their five-game road trip by allowing season highs for points in regulation (130), assists (41) and field goal percentage (60.7) in their loss at San Antonio.

The Kings allowed 120.8 points per game on the trip.

Four of five opponents on the trip shot above 50 percent. The only game the Kings didn't give up 50 percent shooting was at Orlando - the only game they won on the trip.

The Kings are now allowing 104.8 points game on the season, worst in the NBA. Opponents are shooting 47.1 percent, 29th in the NBA.

The Kings average 98.1 points and are 20th in the league, shooting 44.1 percent.

The Kings showed they could share the ball and get hot and make shots, but until the defense improves, they're more likely to lose big than win big.

The Kings have a negative 6.7 differential on the season. Only the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats (-9.1) are worse.

So the Kings return home with the worst record in the Western Conference.

*Marcus Thornton averaged 20.2 points on the trip.

Thornton has struggled adjusting to his role as sixth man but looked comfortable most of the road trip.

"It's being more aggressive," Thornton said. "I'm picking my spots where I can be effective."

*After shooting at least 46 percent on three pointers in the first four games of the trip, the Kings shot 33.3 percent (7-of-21) against the Spurs.

*The Kings allowed 20-plus points off turnovers in three of five games.

*The Kings had 12 or more steals in the last three games of the trip.


March 1, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Spurs

FINAL
Spurs 130, Kings 102

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings ended their five game road trip 1-4 after being beaten soundly by the Spurs Friday night at AT&T Center.

The Spurs used a balanced offense with eight players in scoring in double figures to pick apart the Kings.

The Spurs (46-14) tallied a season-high 41 assists with a career-high 15 coming from Manu Ginobili.

The Kings had 20 assists.

Marcus Thornton led the Kings (20-40) with 25 points. It was Thornton's third consecutive game with at least 20 points

The Spurs lost Tony Parker to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter. He finished with 13 points and seven assists.

DeJuan Blair led the Spurs with 16 points off the bench.

The Kings host the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

THIRD QUARTER
Spurs 97, Kings 69

SAN ANTONIO - The Spurs are shooting 59.7 percent while the Kings are at 41.3 percent to go with 17 turnovers.

All five starters for San Antonio have scored in double figures, led by Danny Green with 15 points. Tim Duncan has 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Spurs have 26 points off Kings turnovers. San Antonio's biggest concern is the health of guard Tony Parker. He had to be helped off the court after landing hard after making a lay up.

Isaiah Thomas has 18 points to lead the Kings.

HALFTIME
Spurs 63, Kings 49

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings have been sloppy with their ballhandling and have 13 turnovers in the first half.

The Spurs turned those mistakes into 22 points to lead by as many as 19 in the first half. And after tallying 30-plus assists in their previous two games, the Kings have only seven through two quarters.

Meanwhile San Antonio has 20 assists, is shooting 61.4 percent and already has three players that have scored in double figures, led by Danny Green with 13.

The Spurs have 38 points in the paint, too.

Isaiah Thomas leads the Kings with 10 points. Tyreke Evans has 7 points, including a 53-foot shot at the halftime buzzer.

DeMarcus Cousins has eight points and seven rebounds, but also has a team-high four turnovers.

FIRST QUARTER
Spurs 34, Kings 21

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings shot 8-of-19 and gave up 12 points off seven turnovers to fall behind big to the Spurs.

Less than five minutes into the game coach Keith Smart subbed out all five starters in favor of Toney Douglas, Marcus Thornton, James Johnson, Patrick Patterson, James Johnson and Chuck Hayes.

It didn't change the score much, but the energy appeared a lot better with the reserves in.

Johnson led the Kings with six points. Danny Green led the Spurs with 10 points.

*The Kings announced in a press release the team had waived guard Aaron Brooks. The team reached an agreement on a buyout with Brooks earlier in the day.

March 1, 2013
Kings at Spurs: Five things to watch

SAN ANTONIO - Here are your five things to watch tonight (posted late, I admit).

1. Spurs' depth: The Spurs will be without Boris Diaw (lower back strain), Stephen Jackson (sprained right ankle) and Gary Neal (tightness, left calf). No team is better at filling in for missing players than the Spurs, but it's still worth noting.
2. 30 is the new ...: The Kings have 30-plus assists in consecutive games. The last time the Kings had 30-plus assists in three consecutive games was Feb. 2004.
3. Salmons streaking: Salmons is averaging 18 points in his last three games on 55.9 percent shooting (19 of 34). Salmons is 13-for-16 on three pointers in his last three games.
4. Shooting numbers: The Kings have outshot their opponents 18 times with a 15-3 record in those games. The Spurs are 41-2 when outshooting their opponent. The Kings have shot 50 percent or better in their last two games. The Kings are 9-2 when shooting at least 50 percent.
5. Threes: The Kings have been hot from the perimeter, The Kings made 24 of their last 49 three pointers (49 percent). The Kings have made just 12 of 41 threes (29.3 percent) against the Spurs in two games this season

March 1, 2013
Kings working on buyout with point guard Aaron Brooks

20121219_HA_kings_Warriors2nd0383.JPGBy Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings are negotiating a buyout with guard Aaron Brooks.

Once a starter, Brooks' playing time has dwindled in recent weeks in favor of Jimmer Fredette.

In his first 35 games of the season, Brooks averaged 23.6 minutes per game averaging 9.1 points and 2.7 assists. In his past 11 appearances, he's averaged 12.1 minutes, 4.3 points and 1.1 assists.

In 46 games played with the Kings this season, Brooks averaged 24.4 points per game with 8.0 points and 2.3 assists. He did not play in five of the Kings' past six games.

The recently acquired Toney Douglas added to the glut at point guard behind Isaiah Thomas.

The Kings coveted Brooks for some time and signed him to a two-year, $6.6 million free-agent contract last summer.

Brooks, 28, played in China last season.

PHOTO: Sacramento Kings point guard Aaron Brooks (3) celebrates a 3-point basket in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Wed., Dec. 19, 2012 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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