Kings Blog and Q&A

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

April 29, 2013
Jerry Reynolds on Kings news - and his future

Jerry Reynolds went from anxiety after breakfast to euphoric before dinner.

The Kings appear to be staying put, per the news of a unanimous vote by an NBA committee on Monday, and forgive the longest tenured employee of the Sacramento Kings if he dances in the street. Reynolds, at times the face of the franchise over his 28 Sacramento seasons, has hinged on every twist and turn in recent months - even years - as a man with a deep investment of time and emotion into all things Kings.

Reynolds has worn many hats with the Kings - assistant coach, head coach twice in a pinch, front-office executive and TV color voice. He said Sacramento collectively can stand tall with the news.

"It's pretty darn good news, great news," Reynolds said. "It's a very, very good day in Sacramento. There's reason to be excited."

Reynolds reiterated that nothing is finalized, but that the Kings clearing a first hurdle like this bodes well. He said Sacramento's success as a small-market franchise had to resonate with the owners and the finance committee, with this tidy reminder: In 28 years in the state capital, the Kings had 19 sellout seasons. What's all the more remarkable is the Kings have produced just eight winning teams and 10 playoff groups.

"I think the committee took a look at the overall picture," Reynolds said of fan support. "It's a pretty clear message what we have here. Seattle deserves a team, and I'm sure it'll have one someday. They deserve one - just not this one, and I think that's how a majority of the owners see it."

Reynolds said he has witnessed how the NBA can transform cities during his travels.

"This is great for the city because it's a chance for the franchise to get back to where we all want it to be, and to see the downtown developed," he said. "We're a major city, but to be quite honest, it's the most undeveloped downtown in America. I've seen what sports and entertainment arenas have done to cities, and that's what can happen to Sacramento."

* Major changes? - With change comes uncertainty, and Reynolds understands the business of the NBA can be unkind.

If the Maloofs do indeed sell to the local group quickly brought together by Mayor Kevin Johnson, there's a sense sweeping moves will follow. What happens to president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie, whose contract expires in June? Or coach Keith Smart, who has one more year on his deal? Or Reynolds, also the director of player personnel?

It's very common for new owners to bring in their own people, from the general manager to the coaching staff.

"Oh, absolutely they'll be change, significant change," Reynolds said. "They'll certainly be less change if there was a relocation. But I don't worry about myself. I worry about others, the young people. I was once 35 and 40 years old. I know people don't believe that, but I know at that age, you need to work.

"My wife and I have our life and we know where we'll be next season: right here in Sacramento. I'd like to keep working, but I don't need to out of necessity. I enjoy working the games. We're not going to starve if I'm not wanted, and I understand if there's change."

Reynolds said he'll continue to attend Kings games and concerts in a new arena, regardless of his role. He's a basketball fanatic and a throwback John Mellancamp and Rolling Stones fan, adding, "I'm branching out. I like Adele, too. I'll see them all."
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On Podcast: ESPN1320.net

April 18, 2013
Final, final, final (or maybe not) thoughts on Kings

After getting home and watching replays of a tremendously entertaining KIngs-Clippers game at Sleep Train Arena - and, seriously, this game and the atmosphere approached the level of some of those Kings-Lakers classics - here are a few late thoughts, observations, comments:

• This was the best performance of DeMarcus Cousins' young career. Soft midrange jumpers, quick moves and one-handed runners, twisting drives, passes to teammates in the corners, pursuit of rebounds, challenging shots. His talents were on full display.

While Cousins can be a complete "knucklehead," as Charles Barkley likes to say, the third-year center also has been thrust into an almost untenable situation: Young coach; future whereabouts unclear because of the arena uncertainty; absence of a bonafide playmaker and complementary frontline rebounder/shotblocker; an overabundance of selfish, dribble-obsessed teammates; lack of organizational leadership. And yet Cousins still has the instincts, emotional intelligence and competitive drive to come up with 36 points, 22 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in what could be the last NBA game ever played in Sacramento? His teammates should care so much .... and remembering Charles when he was 22.

• Cousins' emphatic block on on a drive by Matt Barnes in a fourth quarter, followed by his emphatic salute to the energized crowd, was the play of the game.

• Seattle native Isaiah Thomas has been a class act throughout. The way the diminutive guard competes, you wouldn't know whether he's from the Pacific Northwest or Northern California.

• Poor rebounding was a crippler throughout the season. Apart from Cousins' 22 boards, none of the Kings managed double-digit rebounds against the Clips. In your home building, in this setting, this is truly unacceptable.

• I spent part of the evening wondering why so many of the Clippers' folks appeared so uptight before, during and after the game. Much too tense for a team jostling for postseason positioning. Later, I read T.J. Simers' column in the Los Angeles Times about coach Vinny Del Negro's future and what appears to be intense, ongoing strife within the organization. This is far from the ideal vibe for a team that should be enjoying its best season since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981. Some things apparently never change. All-Star Chris Paul has to be studying his situation, looking at the Lakers, and wondering about the possibilities...




April 17, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Clippers

FINAL
Clippers 112, Kings 108

The season ended for the Kings (28-54) with 36 points, a career-high 22 rebounds and three blocked shots in a loss to the playoff-bound Clippers (56-26).

Now the waiting begins as the NBA sorts out who will own the Kings next season and if the team will even be in Sacramento.

It was the fourth loss in a row to end the year, but the arena remained filled with fans chanting "Sacramento" and fans holding signs of support for the franchise.

It also didn't take long for a "He we stay" cheer to begin as the court was roped off by security.

Isaiah Thomas had 15 points and tied his career high with 10 assists.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 25 points and 11 assists.

THIRD QUARTER
Clippers 78, Kings 70

The Kings came out strong to start the third. Sacramento opened the period on a 16-5 run and led 62-59 with 6:22 to play in the quarter. But the Clippers bounced back to close the quarter with the eight-point lead they had at halftime.

DeMarcus Cousins has 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Kings. He also has two blocked shots and is playing with kind of tenacity expected all season, but we haven't seen enough.

Isaiah Thomas has 13 points and five assists.

Chris Paul leads the Clippers with 22 points and eight assists.

HALFTIME
Clippers 54, Kings 46

Travis Outlaw provided a spark off the bench, but the Kings couldn't' make up any ground on the Clippers.

Outlaw has 11 points, his third consecutive game scoring in double figures. But the Clippers are shooting 50 percent while the Kings are at 44.4 percent, and have given up nine points off eight turnovers.

The game has had a few tense moments. DeMarcus Cousins was upset when Chris Paul drove to the rim and caught him with an elbow to the groin.

Cousins caught Paul with a shot to the ribs as he attempted a lay up on the next Clipper possession.

Both players complained to the officials about being hit.

Cousins has 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings. Isaiah Thomas has 11 points and four assists.

Paul has 14 points and four assists for the Clippers.

FIRST QUARTER
Clippers 27, Kings 26

A packed Sleep Train Arena saw DeMarcus Cousisn get off to a monster start. Cousins already has 12 points and eight rebounds, but the Kings are down by one.

Isaiah Thomas added eight points and four assists.

But the Clippers are shooting 52.2 percent and have scored four points off three Kings turnovers to hold the slim lead.

Chris Paul has six points and four assists for the Clippers.

Among those in attendance for the season finale are former Kings Mitch Richmond, Brad Miller and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson.

Tyreke Evans (left quad strain) and Toney Douglas (sore hip) are out tonight for the Kings.

April 17, 2013
Marcos Breton discusses the Sacramento Kings

Paul Robins and Bethany Crouch of Fox40 talk to Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton about the latest on the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

Marcos Breton column: No good reason for Kings to move from Sacramento

April 17, 2013
A media panel Kings All-Time Starting 5

As the 28th season of the Kings comes to a close, here's a peek at four longtime area media sorts with their All-Time Kings Starting 5.

Vote for your own team or check photo galleries of players over the years on sacbee.com/sports. Check later for a Jerry Reynolds All-Time "Pro's Pro" and "Good Guys" and other memorable Kings teams with comments. Never boring with Jerry...

Gary Gerould
Radio play-by-play voice since 1985; local media since 1965
- Guard Reggie Theus
- Guard Mitch Richmond
- Forward Peja Stojakovic
- Forward Chris Webber
- Center Vlade Divac
- Bench 3 - Mike Bibby, Doug Christie, Eddie Johnson

Jerry Reynolds
Kings coach, executive, and/or TV since 1985
- Guard Reggie Theus
- Guard Mitch Richmond
- Forward Peja Stojakovic
- Forward Chris Webber
- Center Vlade Divac
- Bench 3 - Bobby Jackson, Mike Woodson, Eddie Johnson.

Grant Napear
TV/radio voice since 1988; local media since 1987
- Guard Mike Bibby
- Guard Mitch Richmond
- Forward Peja Stojakovic
- Forward Chris Webber
- Center Vlade Divac
- Bench 3 - Bobby Jackson, Eddie Johnson, Reggie Theus.

Joe Davidson
Sacramento Bee since 1988; local media since 1984
- Guard Reggie Theus
- Guard Mitch Richmond
- Forward Peja Stojakovic
- Forward Chris Webber
- Center Vlade Divac
- Bench 3 - Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson, Corliss Williamson.

- Joe Davidson- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On podcast: ESPN1320.net

April 17, 2013
Kings history involves Stern, skivvies, humor

So, while starting to feel that Sacramento's prospects for keeping the Kings have improved exponentially and unexpectedly since the involvement of Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive and his group - and the situation remains both intriguing and fluid, so no predictions are forthcoming - I wanted to share a conversation with former Bee columnist Joe Hamelin. (This was all motivated by a chat earlier in the day with Reggie Theus, a member of the original Sacramento Kings, who came back and coached the team, and more recently was hired to run the men's basketball program at Cal State Northridge.

Prompted by the chat with Reggie, and another conversation with legendary Clippers play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler, I probed Hamelin for his recollections about October 25, 1985.

This was a humbling experience, to say the least. At the time, I was the Clippers beat writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, and had traveled with the team to Sacramento for the historic opener at Arco I. Somehow - and the details remain sketchy - I talked my way into riding from the hotel to the game with newly anointed NBA Commissioner David Stern. I do recall thinking that this was a pretty big "get," as we say in the business.

When I mentioned this to Hamelin, who is retired, but as engaging as ever, he just laughed, Earlier that afternoon, he related, he interviewed Stern at the hotel. In his room. While the Commissioner was .... in his skivvies. "I specifically remember David standing there in boxer shorts and white t-shirt," Hamelin said.. "And what do they call those things that hold up the boxers? Suspenders? Anyway, while you were riding to the game in the limousine, I was watching the motorcade breeze past, driving over the side of the road, and stuck in terrible traffic. I actually think I missed tipoff."

And, of course, Hamelin had to ask the question that remains impossible to answer: Are the Kings staying?

April 16, 2013
Jason Thompson wins Kings 2013 Oscar Robertson Triple Double Award

I'm still flying back from OKC, but here is the press release from the Kings on the latest honor for Jason Thompson:


SACRAMENTO, CALIF., Apr. 16, 2013 - In honor of one of the NBA's all-time greats, the Sacramento Kings continue to celebrate the legacy of Oscar Robertson, both on and off the court, by awarding the 2013 Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award to Jason Thompson.

The longest-tenured player on the current Kings roster, Thompson has proven himself a model professional and dedicated steward in the community ever since being selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Heralded for his hustle, rebounding ability and competitive spirit, JT has cemented his legacy as a fan favorite and respected teammate. Already an active contributor towards the Kings charitable efforts, Thompson broadened his philanthropic footprint after experiencing a personal tragedy a few seasons ago.

In 2010, Thompson suffered the loss of his cousin to heart disease. Tiffany Carroll was only 25-years-old when she lost her life to a condition known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. The tragedy inspired Jason to honor Tiffany's memory with the formation of the Jason Thompson Foundation--dedicated to creating healthy lifestyles for children and young adults by providing the resources and social support needed to live each day as active heart-healthy individuals. Thompson shared his passion for the cause by teaming with the American Heart Association to host "Red Night Out" at Sleep Train Arena on April 7 versus Memphis, with a portion of special event ticket proceeds benefitting heart disease research and education. Thompson also takes time to speak with children and students about the importance of developing heart-healthy habits.

The Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award winner is selected by a panel of local sports media journalists and presented to the deserving Kings player who best exemplifies winning characteristics, both as an athlete and a conscientious citizen active in the community. Deconstructed, the "triple" signifies on-court accomplishments: He is a team leader, embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and plays an outstanding all-around game, whereas the "double" signifies his impact off the court by demonstrating commitment to community service and family.

Heralded as one of the finest players in NBA history, Oscar Robertson left an indelible impression on the league when he averaged a triple-double in 1961-62, posting an astounding 30.8 ppg, 12.8 rpg and 11.4 apg. The feat has not been duplicated since and remains one of sport's most elusive statistical achievements. Robertson finished his career with 181 career triple-doubles, 41 of which he logged during the historic 61-62 campaign, each NBA records. Following his playing days, the "Big O" has channeled his energies into a number of small business ventures while maintaining a robust involvement in the community. He is active in numerous philanthropic activities, including the International Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Boys Club of New York and the National Kidney Foundation, for whom he acts as an advocate for organ donation. Robertson and his wife Yvonne are co-chairs of the University of Cincinnati's $1 billion capital campaign and have also funded the Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund at the University.


Inaugurated in 2003, the Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award honor has been bestowed to some of the most recognizable figures in Kings team history, including Chris Webber ('03), Vlade Divac ('04), Peja Stojakovic ('05), Corliss Williamson (a back-to-back recipient in 2006 & 2007) and Thompson's current teammate, Isaiah Thomas ('12). Thompson shares many characteristics with these previous honorees, namely his impact and leadership between the lines and a compassionate, energetic willingness to make a difference beyond them.

Selected out of Rider with the 12th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Thompson has long been regarded for his steady consistency and reliable durability. He became just the second rookie in Sacramento-era history to play in all 82 games in 2008-09, demonstrating a toughness that continues into his fifth season. Entering play on Wednesday, the Kings longest-tenured player is also the only member of the 2012-13 roster to appear in all 81 games, averaging 10.9 ppg (.503 FG%, .691 FT%), 6.7 rpg, 1.0 apg and 27.9 mpg. Thompson has notched 13 double-doubles and tallied 10 or more points 45 times during the campaign, leading the squad in rebounding on 21 occasions and scoring five times. Thompson appears frequently in the Kings record books for his rebounding prowess, joining Vlade Divac as the only players since 2001 to grab more than 200 offensive rebounds in a season. He registered a double-double in his NBA debut at Minnesota (10/29/08), earning distinction as the only Kings rookie since Jerry Lucas 46 years ago to register a double-double in his first pro game. Thompson also led the Kings in total rebounds (606) during his rookie campaign, joining Lionel Simmons (1990-91) as the only Kings rookies in the Sac-era to lead the team in total rebounds in a season.

In addition to many on-court achievements and establishment of his own Foundation, Thompson also participates regularly in the team's public service efforts, including involvement with the "Kings for the Community" program designed to provide underprivileged fans with tickets to Kings games. As part of the initiative, Thompson hosts deserving local children and community members in a special section of Sleep Train Arena identified by the banner titled "JT's Block Party." He is active during the Kings "Season of Giving" campaign, recently visiting patients at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento. Since arriving in Northern California five years ago, Thompson has remained a mainstay in the Kings annual charitable campaigns, including Cesar Chavez Day of Volunteerism, Read to Achieve, Get Fit and many more.

Thompson will receive the award in an on-court presentation during the Kings contest on Wednesday versus the L.A. Clippers.

April 16, 2013
The Morning After: More struggles from the starting lineup


OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings final road trip of the season isn't one the starting five will want to remember.

*Tyreke Evans was the only starter to shoot at least 40 percent on the trip (45.8 percent).

*It's no surprise considering the Kings lost all three games on the trip, but no starter had a positive plus/minus rating in the three games. All the players that were a plus were reserves.

*Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was the starting frontcourt that couldn't figure things out for the Kings.

John Salmons, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins combined to shoot 6 of 25 in the Kings 104-95 loss to the Thunder Monday night.

Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans (who played 10 minutes before leaving the game with a strained left quad) combined to shoot 9 of 15.

*Thomas was the only starter to score in double figures with 16 points. Evans (eight points) was on his way before he strained his left quad in the first quarter.

*To find some consistency in the last couple of games you have to turn to the bench. Cole Aldrich is playing like man trying to earn his next contract. He's averaged 12 points and 12.5 rebounds in his last two games.

*Travis Outlaw had 15 points for a second game in a row.

*The Kings had 15 turnovers. Cousins and Thomas each had five.

April 15, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Thunder

FINAL
Thunder 104, Kings 95

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings dropped their third consecutive game to finish the season with an 8-33 road record and go winless on their three-game road trip.

The Kings (28-53) finish the season Wednesday by hosting the Los Angeles Clippers.

Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 16 points. Cole Aldrich matched his career high with 12 points and set a career-high with 13 rebounds. His previous best was 12 rebounds last night in Houston.

Travis Outlaw had 15 points off the bench for the Kings and Jimmer Fredette added 11 points.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 21 points and eight assists before being ejected after picking up his second technical foul in the fourth quarter.

THIRD QUARTER
Thunder 83, Kings 67

OKLAHOMA CITY - There was quite a bit of tension for a game the Thunder has led by as many as 24 points.

There were three technical fouls called in the third quarter. John Salmons picked one with 5:55 left in the period.

Salmons was upset over several calls and teammates had to step in to make sure he didn't pick up a second tech and be ejected from the game.

Russell Westbrook and Isaiah Thomas were called for double techs with 3:04 left in the quarter for getting into what appeared to be a case of too much talking and staring at each other.

Westbrook eventually asked Thomas "What the (expletive) you looking at?" before Daniel Orton stepped in front of Westbrook and coaches and teammates stood in front of Thomas.

Thomas is the only Kings to have scored in double figures with 16 points.

Kevin Durant has a game-high 25 points.

HALFTIME
Thunder 54, Kings 43

OKLAHOMA CITY - Like most teams, the Kings have no answer to slowing down Kevin Durant.

Durant has 18 points to keep the Thunder in control of this game. The Kings shooting improved to 41.9 percent for the game, but still lags behind the 50 percent shooting from the Thunder.

No Kings has scored in double figures. Tyreke Evans, who is out for the game with a left quad strain, still has a team-high eight points. DeMarcus Cousins has five points and four of the Kings' 10 turnovers.

The Thunder don't need the help, but have taken advantage of the Sacramento mistakes, converting the 10 turnovers into 13 points.

Cousins (1 of 6) and Jason Thompson (1 of 5) haven't been effective on offense yet, which is needed without Evans.

Marcus Thornton, who figures to play more with Evans out, is shooting 2 of 7 for four points.

The Kings have trailed by as many as 14 points.

FIRST QUARTER
Thunder 25, Kings 19

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings haven't lost this game, but have already lost Tyreke Evans for the game to a left quad strain.

Evans landed hard on a made lay up with two minutes to play in the first quarter and was grabbing his left knee. Evans had to be helped off the court.

Evans had eight points and had made four of the Kings' seven field goals in the quarter.

The Kings shot 33.3 percent (7 of 21) to start the game and had five turnovers.

Russell Westbrook leads the Thunder with seven points and two assists. Serge Ibaka has already blocked two shots.

The presence of Ibaka and Hasheem Thabeet (playing for injured starter Kendrick Perkins) might explain why DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each shot 1 of 5 in the first quarter.


April 15, 2013
DeMarcus Cousins has technical foul rescinded, will play tonight

OKLAHOMA CITY - Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had his technical foul from Sunday's game at Houston rescinded and will play tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If the call had not been rescinded, it would have been Cousins' 16th technical foul of the season. Sixteen technical fouls result in a one-game suspension.

Cousins was called for a technical foul with 2:47 left in the first quarter for pushing Houston forward Greg Smith out of his way as he ran up the court.

After the game Cousins said referee Violet Palmer, who made the call, apologized last night.

This is the second technical foul Cousins has had rescinded this season.

It's also the second time in an as many seasons Cousins has needed to have a technical foul rescinded in order to play in a game late in the season at Oklahoma City.

April 15, 2013
The Morning After: Kings post back-to-back dismal first quarters

HOUSTON - The Kings haven't had anything to play for (as far as the postseason is concerned) for sometime while.

And to start their last two games, they've come out like a team with nothing to play for.

No energy.

No enthusiasm.

April 14, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Rockets

FINAL
Rockets 121, Kings 100

HOUSTON - This isn't exactly finishing the season strong.

The Kings dropped their second consecutive game as the Rockets rested their key players most of the fourth quarter of the rout.

The Kings play at Oklahoma City Monday night, their final road game of the season.

The Rockets (45-35) weren't challenged most of the night. Houston shot 54.2 percent for the game while the Kings shot just 39 percent.

The Kings also allowed 23 points off turnovers.

James Harden had 29 points and nine assists to lead the Rockets.

John Salmons led the Kings (28-52) with 14 points. Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and 10 assists. Cole Aldrich had career highs of 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

THIRD QUARTER
Rockets 94, Kings 76

HOUSTON - James Harden continues to lead a dominant effort from the Rockets. Harden has 29 points and nine assists.

Meanwhile the Kings continue to shoot poorly (39.5 percent). The Rockets are shooting 54.7 percent.

Isaiah Thomas has matched his season-high with nine assists, but the offense has largely been ineffective. The Kings are 6 of 19 on three pointers and have allowed 16 points off 10 turnovers.

John Salmons has a team-high 14 points for the Kings.

The Rockets have scored easily with 48 points in the paint.

HALFTIME
Rockets 62, Kings 44

HOUSTON - The Kings trailed by three with 4:23 left in the first half.

That ends the first half highlights for the Kings.

The Rockets outscored Sacramento 17-2 to close the second quarter and remain comfortably ahead of the Kings.

The biggest problem has been James Harden, who has 23 points and five assists for the Rockets. Chandler Parsons added 11 points for Houston.

Tyreke Evans has 10 points for the Kings after playing only in the first quarter. The Kings are shooting just 35.3 percent (18 of 51) while the Rockets are at 55.8 percent (24 of 53).

The Kings have already given up 27 fast break points and 12 points off turnovers.

FIRST QUARTER
Rockets 33, Kings 24

HOUSTON - The Kings haven't lost this game yet, but might have lost DeMarcus Cousins for tomorrow night's game at Oklahoma City.

Cousins was called for a technical foul with 2:47 left in the first quarter for shoving Houston forward Greg Smith. If the call is not rescinded, it will be Cousins' 16th technical foul of the season and would mean an automatic suspension for one game.

That issue aside, the Kings allowed the Rockets to shoot 60.9 percent while managing to shoot just 37.5 percent.

James Harden is having his way with 15 points and three assists. He's made six of his seven shots, including two three pointers.

Tyreke Evans has 10 points to lead the Kings. Isaiah Thomas has all four of the Kings' assists.

April 13, 2013
The Morning After: Give the bench credit for keeping the game within reach

SAN ANTONIO - Friday night's 108-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs could have been worse if not for the bench.

On a night the starters couldn't find any consistency, it was the bench that was respectable most of the night.

Kings' reserves combined to shoot 19 of 40 (47.5 percent). The rest of the Kings shot 20 of 49 (40.1 percent) with the starting backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans combining to shoot 6-for-19 from the field.

When the Kings appeared on their way to losing by 20-plus, it was the bench that sparked 37 points in the second quarter to keep the game within 10 at halftime.

"They gave us spacing and ball movement," said Kings coach Keith Smart of the bench. "The ball moved a great deal. We had spacing with Marcus Thornton making some big threes that kind of closed the gap. It was done out of our penetration to find someone, not penetration to make plays of myself."

Toney Douglas has all seven of his assists in the second quarter. The bench accounted for 16 of Sacramento's 26 assists.

Three reserves (Jimmer Fredette, Douglas and Thronton) scored in double figures.

The Kings have gone through a few phases where the bench has come in and shown the starters how to execute. The teamwork of the bench Friday was another example.

"Guys were sharing the ball and hitting shots," Fredette said. "I think we were doing a good job spacing the floor and spreading them out. We made them not pack it up in the paint so much and we were doing a good job of hitting our jump shots."

That wasn't the case in the first quarter with the starters. The Kings shot 5 of 24.

"Not being able to put the ball in the basket right away really hurt us," Smart said. "We over penetrated too. We over penetrated rather than make the extra pass. You need to make the extra pass against this team."

April 12, 2013
In-game blog: Kings at Spurs

FINAL
Spurs 108, Kings 101

SAN ANTONIO - The Kings couldn't contain San Antonio's balanced attack as the Spurs shot 54.5 percent and all five starters scored in double figures in beating the Kings at SBC Center.

The Kings shot just 43.8 percent.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (28-51) with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Thompson added 18 points and six rebounds.

Tony Parker led the Spurs (58-21) with 22 points and 10 assists. Tim Duncan had 18 points and Tiago Splitter added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Kings have lost five of their last six games.

THIRD QUARTER
Spurs 84, Kings 74

The Kings opened the third quarter on a 15-6 run to pull within one at 66-65, but could never take the lead.

DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each picked up their fourth foul in the quarter. Coach Keith Smart was also called for a technical foul when Isaiah Thomas didn't shoot free throws after a collision with DeJuan Blair.

Cousins scored nine points in the third and now has 10 for the game. Thompson is up to 16 points.

Tony Parker has 18 points and six assists for the Spurs. Tim Duncan has 16 points and six rebounds.

The Kings are shooting 41.2 percent while the Spurs are shooting 51.6 percent.

HALFTIME
Spurs 60, Kings 50

SAN ANTONIO - Reserves played a large portion of the second quarter for the Kings. They brought more energy than the starters had for the most part, but the Spurs are still in control of the game.

Jimmer Fredette, Toney Douglas, Marcus Thornton and Patrick Patterson helped cut the lead to as few as four, but the Spurs countered by shooting 12 of 19 in the second quarter.

The only starter that has been effective for Sacramento is Jason Thompson (14 points, three rebounds). But he also has three fouls.

The rest of the starting lineup has combined to shoot 2 of 16 for six points.

Fredette has 12 points. Douglas has seven assists, to match his season high and Thornton has nine points.

The reserves shot 11 of 22. The starters are shooting 8 of 26.

Tony Parker has 13 points and four assists to lead San Antonio.


FIRST QUARTER
Spurs 23, Kings 13

SAN ANTONIO - So much for the fast start the Kings hoped for.

The Kings are shooting 5 of 24 to start tonight's game. Jason Thompson has made two of those shots for a team-high four points.

By the end of the first quarter every starter except Thompson had been pulled from the game. One of the reserves in the game was Patrick Patterson, who returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a sore lower back.

The last time the Kings were in San Antonio the Spurs jumped on them early and won by 28.

Kawhi Leonard has nine points to lead the Spurs. Tony Parker didn't score but has three assists.

April 11, 2013
The Morning After: Keith Smart still has goals for the final four games and beyond

The Kings have fallen short of several goals this season. They wanted to be in the hunt for the playoffs. Players wanted to be considered for the All-Star game.

The last thing the Kings wanted to be was near the bottom of the conference standings, but that's where they are again.

Goals have been modified. DeMarcus Cousins said at the All-Star break a realistic goal was to win more than 25 games this season.

April 10, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Hornets

FINAL
Kings 121, Hornets 110

Using balanced and unselfish basketball, the Kings dominated the Hornets and ended a four-game losing streak.

The Kings (28-50) also ended a five-game losing steak at home.

Five Kings scored in double figures led by John Salmons with 22 points. Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson each had 20 points.

The Kings shot 55.3 percent for the game and had only 12 turnovers.

The Kings begin a three-game road trip Friday at San Antonio.

Eric Gordon led the Hornets (27-52) with 23 points. Brian Roberts scored a career-high 20 points off the bench for the Hornets.

New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis went down in the fourth quarter holding his knee after taking a charge from Thornton. He eventually was able to walk (gingerly) back to the locker room.

Davis was the first overall pick in last year's NBA Draft.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 95, Hornets 73

John Salmons led the way in the third period with 12 points as the Kings remained comfortably ahead of New Orleans.
Salmons now has 22 points, his seventh game with at least 20 points this season. He leads five Kings that have already scored in double figures.

The Kings are shooting 57.1 percent and had only one turnover in the quarter (just seven in the game). The Kings are 8 of 15 on three pointers.

Eric Gordon leads New Orleans with 15 points.

HALFTIME
Kings 65, Hornets 48

The Kings continued their display of outstanding offense through the second quarter, leading by as many as 24 points while shooting 62.8 percent (27 of 43) with only six turnovers.

Marcus Thornton came off the bench to score 13 of his 16 points most in the second quarter.

But what might be most impressive is four different Kings have at least three assists. Sacramento hasn't settled for bad shots and has made 16 of 21 shots in the paint.

The scoring has also been balanced. DeMarcus Cousins has 11 points, John Salmons has 10 points and Isaiah Thomas has nine points.

New Orleans is shooting 40.9 percent and allowed 14 points off 11 turnovers. Point guard Greivis Vasquez, who turned his ankle late in last night's loss to the Lakers, hasn't been himself with just two points and an assist.

Robin Lopez has 12 points for the Hornets and Eric Gordon has 10 points. Rookie Anthony Davis has eight points and nine rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 35, Hornets 28

The Kings are shooting 66.7 percent and have only two turnovers in leading by as many as 11 points to start the game.

The Kings have 10 assists on 14 made shots and every starter has at least one assist. Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas each have three assists.

DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas each have nine points to lead the Kings.

The Hornets aren't shooting poorly. New Orleans made 12 of 21 shots (57.1 percent) and their betters scorers haven't gotten going.

Robin Lopez has 10 points while Eric Gordon has only four points and three assists. Greivis Vasquez had only two points and an assist and Ryan Anderson has only two points.

Patrick Patterson (sore lower back) did not dress for the game. He was listed as probable.

April 9, 2013
Patrick Patterson probable for Wednesday vs. New Orleans

Kings forward Patrick Patterson practiced Tuesday after missing Sunday's game with a sore lower back.

Kings coach Keith Smart expects Patterson to play Wednesday against New Orleans.

"I think it'll be good," Smart said of Patterson's chances of playing. "The chances are high."

Patterson has also been bothered by a sore hand.

"It's tender, without a question," Smart said. "He shot well today but as you get more reps where you handle the ball more it's going to be there. And when you're a shooter it feels a little unnatural."

Smart said Patterson having time off helped and that he shot the ball better today in practice.

April 8, 2013
Pitino, Kings, NCAA Title a year later

While watching Louisville celebrate it's NCAA Championship a little while ago, I started thinking back to my conversation a year ago with Rick Pitino. I caught up with him in Miami, where he was attending a Marlins game with one of his sons and trying to decompress from the loss to John Calipari and Kentucky in the Final Four a few days earlier. His voice was scratchy, and he admittedly was exhausted and depressed. But as usual, he offered helpful insights on former Kings guard Terrence Williams, and then digressed to chat about Francisco Garcia, one of his former (and all-time favorite) players.

At the end of the conversation, I asked Pitino how he expected to compete against Kentucky's powerhouse program and Calipari's exploitation of the "one and done" approach to recruiting. The two campuses, by the way, are located within an hour of each other. Why continue knocking heads with an old adversary? But Pitino was insistent; he believed he could develop championship contenders by recruiting prospects who would be more inclined to stay in school for three or four years instead of jumping right to the NBA after their freshman season, thus, giving him time to develop cohesiveness and reinforce a team concept.

His philosophy is definitely old school, but hey, he must know what he's doing. Besides being a 2013 Hall of Fame selection, Pitino, who has been an NBA assistant and head coach, is the only college coach to win NCAA Championships at two schools (Kentucky, Louisville).

April 8, 2013
The Morning After: The slow game stalls Kings again

When the game slows down, the Kings are usually in trouble.

The Kings are 7-34 when failing to score 100 points this season after Sunday's 89-87 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Kings are 20-16 when scoring at 100 points.

April 7, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Grizzlies

FINAL
Grizzlies 89, Kings 87

Marcus Thornton's potential game-winning three pointer was blocked by Marc Gasol as the Kings dropped their fourth consecutive game.

The game was tight late Mike Conley hitting a runner with 30 seconds to play to give the Grizzlies an 86-85 lead.

The Kings got the ball back with 5.4 seconds to play and Thornton was unable to get the shot off over Gasol.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (27-50) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Isaiah Thomas finished with 18 points and eight assists.

Conley led Memphis (52-25) with a game-high 25 points. Gasol added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Quincy Pondexter had 17 points off the bench.

THIRD QUARTER
Grizzlies 68, Kings 64

Foul trouble figures to play a big part in how this game is decided. Jason Thompson has five fouls and DeMarcus Cousins has three. The Grizzlies have three players with three fouls.

The Kings are shooting 34.4 percent (21 of 61) while the Grizzlies are at 44.1 percent (26 of 59).

DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and six rebounds for the Kings. Isaiah Thomas has 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.

Mike Conley has 18 points to lead Memphis. Marc Gasol has 15points and nine rebounds. Quincy Pondexter has given the Grizzlies a boost with 13 points off the bench.

HALFTIME
Kings 44, Grizzlies 43

The Kings overcame a 12-point deficit behind good play from the bench.

Jimmer Fredette had 10 points and Toney Douglas had eight points, three rebounds and two assists as the Kings used a small lineup most of the quarter.

The bench has provided 27 points for the Kings.

The smaller lineup was needed with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each having three fouls.

Neither team is shooting well. Memphis is shooting 39 percent while the Kings are at 32.6 percent.

Cousins leads the Kings with 11 points, all in the first quarter.

Mike Conley has 13 points to lead Memphis. Marc Gasol has seven points, seven rebounds and three assists.

All-Star Zach Randolph has only three points on 1 of 6 shooting for Memphis.

FIRST QUARTER
Grizzlies 25, Kings 16

Every King except DeMarcus Cousins is off to a slow shooting start and that's put the Kings in a hole.

Cousins made five of his seven shots. The rest of the Kings are 1 of 12 from the field. Cousins has 11 points and four rebounds, but also has two fouls.

For those on the Isaiah Thomas assist watch, he has four.

Mike Conley has nine points for Memphis. Marc Gasol missed all three of his shots but has seven rebounds, three assists and two points off free throws.

The Kings will be without Patrick Patterson tonight (sore lower back).

April 6, 2013
The Morning After: Looking at Isaiah Thomas and assists

Once again, Isaiah Thomas was left to answer why his scoring totals were more impressive than his assist totals.

The Kings' starting point guard scored a game-high 29 points on a game-high 20 shots in the Kings 117-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

Thomas also attempted a game-high 12 free throws.

Thomas also had a 25 point, zero-assist game against Philadelphia last month.

Thomas is averaging five assists in his last 10 games and 6.3 in the four games before playing the Mavs.

Is the criticism fair? Thomas averages 3.8 assists for the season, so it's not like this is John Stockton going rogue against the offense, is it?

"I think when you just grab a stat sheet you see one assist there," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "I think when you look and I'll see in the game (film) there were passes made. He threw a couple passes to a couple guys that didn't shoot the ball. The shots had to be made, things like that. He dropped off some passes to the bigs under the basket and they weren't finished."

Added Smart:

"He made some plays to people and just didn't get the payoff."

The Kings shot just 44.8 percent. And it's not as if Thomas is just a stat chaser. I know him well enough to know he's not solely about his points every night.

"I made probably four or five plays where guys didn't make the shots," Thomas said. "I'm not too worried about what the stat sheet says because that's just half of what the game consists of. I don't try to worry about all that, how I'm going to get 10 assists or 10 points this game, 30 points this game. I just try to make plays as I see what the defense gives me."

Smart wasn't panicking about Thomas' statistics. Smart pointed to Darren Collison, who had eight assists off the bench in part because his teammates made open shots.

"I think you've got a young, growing point guard, you're going to have some situations like that," Smart said. "His assist making will grow as knock-down shooters are open and making their shots.

"It's going to happen."

April 5, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Mavericks

FINAL
Mavericks 117, Kings 108

Sacramento lost its third consecutive game by giving up 99 points over the final three quarters.

The Kings host Memphis on Sunday.

Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 29 points for the Kings (27-49). Tyreke Evans had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Jason Thompson had 16 points and 16 rebounds starting for DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins was benched by Keith Smart and hasn't said why.

Cousins played just nine minutes.

Shawn Marion led Dallas (37-39) with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Brandan Wright had 20 points off the bench. Darren Collison had 18 points and eight assists off the bench.

THIRD QUARTER
Mavs 92, Kings 81

Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans both have 22 points, but the Kings continue to trail.

One key statistic is assists. The Mavs have 25 and the Kings have 15. Thomas has just one and Evans has four.

Benched starting center DeMarcus Cousins did not play in the third quarter.

Shawn Marion is up to 21 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki has 16 points.

After starting the game shooting 8 of 23, the Mavs are shooting 35 of 67.

HALFTIME
Mavericks 59, Kings 53

So much for that good defense from the Kings.

The Mavs scored 41 points in the second quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit in the second quarter.

The Mavs shot 15 of 23 in the quarter fueled by the bench. Vince Carter has seven points and six assists. Darren Collison has nine points and four assists. Brandon Wright chipped in eight points and four rebounds.

Meanwhile the Kings shot 9 or 25 with the defense suffering when the Kings went to the bench. The starters had no fouls in the first quarter. The bench picked up six of the seven fouls in the second quarter.

Isaiah Thomas leads the Kings with 15 points. Tyreke Evans has 11 points and Jason Thompson has nine points and 11 rebounds.

Dallas got back in the game with team ball and has 17 assists. The Kings have 11 assists.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 27, Mavericks 18

With DeMarcus Cousins benched for reasons that have yet to be explained, the Kings are shooting 55 percent while holding Dallas to 34.8 percent shooting.

Jason Thompson started at center and Patrick Patterson made his third start as a King. Thompson has six points, seven rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Thomas leads all scorers with 10 points.

Shawn Marion has four points and four rebounds for Dallas, which needs to win to keep its slim playoff chances alive after losing in the closing seconds last night at Denver.

April 4, 2013
The Morning After: A lot of whistles in eight minutes for DeMarcus Cousins

If anything, DeMarcus Cousins made his 8 minutes and 18 seconds in the second half of the Kings' 112-102 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Cousins picked up six fouls in the second half. He scored six points, had no rebounds, two steals, a turnover and one poignant message for his coach after his sixth foul.

After Cousins picked up his sixth foul, Cousins yelled "Now I'm out!" at coach Keith Smart.

April 4, 2013
More late-night stuff on Kings, Steinberg, Sacramento, Seattle

Not that the Kings/arena/relocation ordeal couldn't become much dramatic, but here are a few other thoughts and observations after revisiting Wednesday's events in New York and reaching out to sources:

• Why did NBA Commissioner David Stern appear so exhausted? Well, he is. The league's longtime top-ranking executive, who retires on Feb. 1, 2014, has been intimately involved with Sacramento's attempts to build a new facility since 2006. Frankly, I think the league should devote an entire staff to dealing with arena issues that will continue to affect the NBA as long as franchises exist in 29 cities. Buildings get old. Owners go broke. It happen. Anyway, the last thing Stern wanted was a bruising battle between two terrific cities for one team. With Ron Burkle, Vivek Ranadive, Mark Mastrov and the Jacobs family strengthening Sacramento's attempt to keeps its only major professional sports franchise, this is like asking Stern and his owners to split the baby. Ouch.

• No one - ok, maybe Kevin Johnson - really entertained the notion that four major investors could be lured to the capital city in time to make a serious, deadly serious bid to buy the Kings and partner in a private/public partnership. While Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and the league's lawyers are aware of all the details, most of the owners are too busy tending their own franchises - particularly during playoff drives - to snoop into the business of the other teams. So, yes, don't be surprised if members of the finance/relocation committee were receptive to the power of persuasive, and the charisma of the KJ-led group that includes state Senate pro tem leader Darrell Steinberg.

April 3, 2013
In-game blog: Kings vs. Rockets

FINAL
Rockets 112, Kings 102.

The Kings lost their second consecutive game as they shot 39.1 percent and were outrebounded 47-40.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings (27-48) with 22 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points in 26 minutes before fouling out. All six of his fouls were in the second half.

Jason Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds while Marcus Thornton had 21 points off the bench.

Chandler Parsons scored a game-high 29 points for Houston (42-33). James Harden had 21 points and nine assists. Jeremy Lin had 15 points and 10 assists. Omer Asik added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

But a game-changer was reserve Terrence Jones, who had 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

THIRD QUARTER
Rockets 88, Kings 83

Tyreke Evans scored 16 points in the third quarter, but the Rockets have maintained the lead.

Evans now has 21 points for the game after playing the entire third quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes and picked up three fouls and did not return to the game. He has three fouls for the game and asked to stay in even though he picked up three quick fouls.

Without Cousins to worry about most of the quarter, Omer Asik asserted himself with 11 points in the quarter and now has 16 points.

Chandler Parson leads Houston with 21 points. James Harden has 19 points and eight assists. Jeremy Lin has 12 points and nine assists.

Jason Thompson has 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings.

HALFTIME
Rockets 59, Kings 55

The play of Houston's starting backcourt has been good enough to overcome a strong start form DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.

Cousins has 14 points and six rebounds while Thompson has 11 points and eight rebounds. Thompson also has two blocked shots.

But the Rockets are shooting 50 percent and their perimeter players have played well.

James Harden has 15 points and six assists while Jeremy Lin has seven points and six assists. Small forward Chandler Parsons added 14 points to give the Rockets another weapon from the wing.

Meanwhile Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas have combined for nine points and two assists. Marcus Thornton has 13 points off the bench to help make up for the starters. Evans was limited by two early fouls.

FIRST QUARTER
Rockets 27, Kings 26

The Kings opened the game missing 12 of their first 17 shots, but managed to make five of their final seven to close the gap by the end of the first quarter.

The Kings used an 11-2 run to tie the game at 22 after falling behind by nine quickly. DeMarcus Cousins (eight points, four rebounds) and Jason Thompson (seven points, six rebounds) eventually got going after Rockets center

Omer Asik came out and altered several shots early. James Harden has nine points and three assists for the Rockets after missing the previous two games with a sore foot.

April 3, 2013
Kings saga, from the Seattle perspective ...

Here are some stories on the Sacramento Kings saga from the Seattle Times.

In a Manhattan hotel on Wednesday, the months-long battle over the fate of the Sacramento Kings will turn into a daylong debate. Read it here.

Chris Hansen and Seattle city officials remain in negotiations over possible improvements to KeyArena should the NBA approve a relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle for the 2013-14 season. Read it here.

Blog: The scene at the St. Regis Hotel and more insight. Read the blog here.



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