Kings Blog and Q&A

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

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January 12, 2014
Pre-game notes: Kings cancel sending McCallum to D-League

The Kings pulled an about-face this morning ahead of their 3 p.m. game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, announcing they had assigned guard Ray McCallum to the Reno Bighorns of the Development League and then rescinding the assignment an hour later.

Head coach Michael Malone just explained the reasoning behind the move (or non-move), first clarifying that McCallum hadn't actually left the team today before they decided to keep him around for the game.

"He's like Elvis -- he never left the building," Malone said.

"We're playing a team that likes to play a lot of small ball," Malone continued. "They'll play three ball-handling guards out there at times with Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving, so (we) just felt why not have Ray around today in a game that he might be able to play in."

Malone, who added that McCallum is "probably one of our better perimeter defenders," did make it sound like the first-year guard will be headed to the D-League soon. He has one previous stint in Reno this season, averaging 22 points in three games between Nov. 21 and 27.

December 3, 2013
Pregame notes: DeMarcus Cousins inactive with ankle injury

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is inactive for tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of a sprained left ankle.

Cousins injured the ankle during Sunday's loss to Golden State.

No word yet on who will start for Cousins. The injury was not mentioned during coach Michael Malone's pregame media time and Cousins was not listed as having an injury on the pregame notes that usually have such information.

Prediction time: This game was going to be hard for the Kings to win with Cousins. Without Cousins, it's going to require as close to a perfect showing for the upset.

That just doesn't seem likely.

Thunder 115, Kings 100
My record: 10-5

December 1, 2013
Pregame notes: Looking forward to the center competition

Today's game features two centers that don't care much for each other.

DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew Bogut figure to go at each other intensely this afternoon.

Both are physical players. Bogut is one of the league's best defensive centers while Cousins is among the most talented offensive centers.

The over/under on technical fouls? Two.

Prediction time: I've picked the Kings to win the last two games and I've been wrong. Stephen Curry, however, can hurt the Kings so many ways.

Until the Kings prove they can play good defense on point guards, it's hard to see Curry struggling.

Warriors 107, KIngs 97
My record: 9-5

November 24, 2013
Pregame notes: Team-oriented Lakers give Kings a lot to focus on

LOS ANGELES - The Lakers' three-point shooting and pick-and-roll offense are aspects the Kings have contain to have a chance at their second road win of the season.

The Lakers thrive at a fast pace and involving everyone, leading the NBA in bench scoring.

Their style gives everyone freedom to shoot, so the Kings have to be aware defensively at all times.

*Malone said Lakers forward Jordan Hill is "underrated" and a "high energy, hardworking" player that the Kings have to keep track of and not allow to dominate with his rebounding.

Maintaining body contact with Hill and Pau Gasol will be important.

"If we get caught ball watching tonight we're going to be in trouble," Malone said.

*Expect Jason Thompson to begin the game drawing the defensive assignment on Gasol to spare DeMarcus Cousins from getting into foul trouble.

Prediction time: This game is very winnable, so why not pick the Kings? Coming off a tough loss, perhaps the fire they showed in the second half will carry over to tonight.

Kings 111, Lakers 104
My record: 9-3

November 23, 2013
Pregame notes: Kings look to end losing streak to Clippers at Staples Center

LOS ANGELES - The Kings have lost their last five games against the Clippers at Staples Center.

Sacramento's last win here was March 21, 2010. The star of that game was Beno Udrih and DeMarcus Cousins was still in college.

And much like the first meeting of the season in Sacramento, the Kings are catching the Clippers after a loss.

The Clippers figure to be focused after dropping a game on the road to Oklahoma City.

The Kings have won their last two games, both coming against the Phoenix Suns. But this is a step up in competition and the Kings cannot afford the defensive lapse they had in the fourth quarter in Phoenix (allowing 44 points) and expect to beat a team that's a title contender.

*No changes to the projected starting lineup for either team. It will be Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins for the Kings.

Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will start for the Clippers.

Prediction time: It's hard to expect the Kings to beat the Clippers at home, but they have a chance if they take care of the ball and limit fastbreak opportunities.

That's easier said than done.

Clippers 107, Kings 97
My record: 8-3

November 20, 2013
Pregame notes: Cousins is in, Bledsoe out tonight

PHOENIX - DeMarcus Cousins (shoulder) is in the starting lineup tonight.

Cousins has had shoulder problems in the past with the shoulder coming out of socket during games, as it did last night.

Cousins had no issues with his shoulder last season.

"I think it is something we have to monitor," said Kings coach Michael Malone. "He has to continue to work to strengthen it and maybe prohibit it from happening again. I think he is a little sore, but he is definitely going to go tonight."

*Malone said Jimmer Fredette would stay in the rotation ahead of Marcus Thornton tonight.

*Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (bruised left shin) is not in the starting lineup again tonight.

But the Kings learned Tuesday night that doesn't guarantee them anything as Gerald Green scored 23 points in place of Bledsoe.

Prediction time: Cousins should dominate the Suns' big men again and the Kings should be able to dominant the rebounding battle.

If the Kings take care of the ball and Cousins is on, the Kings should be able to pull off a sweep in this back-to-back series and notch their first road win of the season.

It also helps that Phoenix is without Bledsoe again.

Kings 108, Suns 104
My record: 7-3

November 19, 2013
Pregame notes: Bledsoe out for Suns

The Phoenix Suns will be without guard Eric Bledsoe, who is out with a bruised shin. Gerald Green will start for Bledsoe.

The Kings will use the same starting lineup from their last game: Grevis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.

Prediction time: The Suns are without their best player (Bledsoe) and have no answer for Cousins in the paint. This is a game the Kings have to have to end the five-game homestand on a positive note.

If the Kings can't pull this one off, they're in trouble. The next three games are on the road an the Kings will be on a three game losing streak.

Kings 104, Suns 98
My record: 6-3

November 15, 2013
Pregame notes: Billups out for Pistons

New and notes before tip-off:

*No changes to the Kings starting lineup. Chauncey Billups (knee) is out for Detroit. Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will start for Billups.

*Kings coach Michael Malone said he'll have to move DeMarcus Cousins to different spots on the floor to combat the various defense looks the Pistons might use.

Detroit can use Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the post to try to slow down Cousins, who is averaging 22.3 points, tops among centers.

*Prediction time: I really like Detroit's team. But they've lost four in a row and play Cousins, who has had good games against the Pistons.

I think the Kings win again.

Kings 101, Pistons 94
My record: 5-2

November 13, 2013
Pregame: McLemore, Thompson in the starting lineup

Here's the news you really wanted.

Starting five for the Kings will be:

Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, John Salmons, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.

Now for prediction time.

The Kings should play better tonight, but the Nets are just a better team at this point. Hard to see the veteran group not finally notch a road win tonight.

Nets 100, Kings 95
My record: 5-1

November 9, 2013
Pregame: No changes to the lineup yet

Kings coach Michael Malone said if things do not improve, there will be changes to the lineup and players that have not gotten a chance to play will see time.

But that won't happen tonight. The Kings will stick with the same starting lineup in hopes of ending their four-game losing streak.

Malone doesn't want to panic. The Kings have only played five games and no one began the season thinking this would be an easy turnaround.

Prediction time: I'd like to believe the Kings can muster some enthusiasm to pull off a win. But Portland is hot and the Kings haven't shown they can do that, even at home.

Blazers 105, Kings 94
My record: 4-1

November 8, 2013
Pregame: Lillard could be latest PG to have a big night against Kings

PORTLAND, Ore. - If you're playing point guard against the Kings to start this season, you've probably had a good game

The Kings have faced one All-Star (Chris Paul), one soon-to-be All-Star (Stephen Curry) along with Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague, who are no slouches.

The quartet averaged 21.5 points and 10 assists against the Kings.

Teague had 18 points and 10 assists when Atlanta beat the Kings on Tuesday.

Next up is Portland's Damian Lillard, who also could be in the All-Star Game discussion this season after winning Rookie of the Year last season.

"No disrespect to Teague but Lillard is completely different animal because he can shoot the ball even though Teague hit a couple threes against us," said Kings coach Michael Malone.

Malone said the guards have to do a better of containing the ball and being physical along with better help from the bigs.

If that doesn't happen, Lillard figures to post impressive statistics against the Kings.

Prediction time: It will take a big leap defensively to slow down the Blazers at home. The Kings haven't shown they can defend well long enough to contain the likes of Lillard along with LaMarcus Aldridge.

Portland also shoots well from three-point range, an area the Kings struggle to defend.

It all adds up to what could be a long night.

Blazers 109, Kings 99

My record this season: 3-1

November 5, 2013
Pregame: Kings must find the shooters

As the Kings look to correct their issues covering three-point shooters, coach Michael Malone cited two players the Kings have to worry about.

Kyle Korver has made 66.7 percent of his threes to start the season (12 of 18) and is coming off making all six of his threes against the Lakers on Sunday.

Cartier Martin has made 50 percent of his three pointers (8 of 16).

Malone added of the 23 threes the Kings have given up this season eight have come in transition.

So the Kings need to locate open shooters on the break and do a better job of keeping track of Korver and Martin.

Prediction time: This is a tough game to gauge. The Kings are coming off a bad game and their coach called them out for their lack of fight.

Here's to thinking they respond and feed off the home crowd:

Kings 106, Hawks 102

November 2, 2013
Pregame: Kings at Warriors figures to be hotly contested

OAKLAND - We should be in for another "chippy" game tonight.

Much like Friday night's opponent, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Kings figure to have some disdain for the Golden State Warriors tonight.

That will start at center where DeMarcus Cousins figures to be bothered at some point by some roughhouse defense from Golden State's Andrew Bogut.

In the last preseason encounter, Isaiah Thomas and Stephen Curry had a stare down after Thomas foul and Curry came close to landing awkwardly.

Then there's also the fact that the Kings won the season series 3-1 last season.

"They are talented and there is no secret about that," said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. "They have guys at different positions that can get their own shot and a big time talent in DeMarcus Cousins. They played against us with a chip."

Kings coach Michael Malone was an assistant on the Warriors' staff last season and doesn't really care too much about last season.

"For me that that has nothing to do with this year," Malone said.

*No lineup changes for either team. Harrison Barnes (foot) is still out for Golden State.

*Prediction time: The Warriors have scored at last 115 points in their first two games and the Kings, though improved, still have work to do defensively.

Playing on the road might be too much for the Kings, though I expect a close game.

Warriors 105, Kings 101
My record this season: 2-0

November 1, 2013
Pregame: Doc Rivers already sees improved Kings team

The Los Angeles Clippers played last night on TNT and were rewarded with a game that starts less than 24 hours after last night's tip-off, here in Sacramento.

"I've been a long complainer of the TV games and 7 o'clock starts the next night," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

But Rivers, and every other NBA team realizes that back-to-back games are part of the job.

And Rivers is ready for the Kings under coach Michael Malone, who he is seeing for the third time, counting two preseason games.

Rivers said Malone is already making a difference.

"You can see No. 1, the defensive preparation every night," Rivers said. "Mike calls out every play every team runs. He's like an encyclopedia. You can see that they're different - the Kings are a different team. Mike's pretty much a big reason."

Prediction time: The second of back-to-back games are tough on the road team. But it's too early in the season to believe the Clippers can use that as an excuse.

The Kings are still working out the kinks in their defense - primarily transition defense - and the Clippers will test that with Chris Paul and Co.

DeMarcus Cousins should have a big game, again, but the Clippers have too many weapons for the Kings at this point of their development.

Clippers 113, Kings 104

My record this season: 1-0

October 30, 2013
Live chat Q&A with Jason Jones: Kings opening night

Join The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones for a live chat and Q&A leading up to Wednesday night's NBA season opener between the Kings and the Denver Nuggets. The chat begins at noon.


October 10, 2013
Malone shakes up starters for second preseason game

LAS VEGAS -- Kings coach Michael Malone is going with a very different look to start tonight's preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette will start at guard. The starting forwards will be Travis Outlaw and Patrick Patterson with DeMarcus Cousins starting at center.

Cousins and Thomas are the only players that started Monday at Golden State.

Malone said too much was read into Fredette not playing Monday and that he will use tonight to get a good look at him in a game situation.

Fredette is being used at both guard spots. Outlaw is also learning both forward positions.

Malone intends to change up the lineups in every preseason game before possibly settling on a starting five for the sixth or seventh game to prepare for the regular season.

December 3, 2012
Tyreke Evans practices, hopes to play Wednesday

Kings guard Tyreke Evans practiced Monday after missing the last two games with a bruised left knee.

Evans bumped knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko last Tuesday.

Evans said he felt "50/50" about playing Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors. Evans said he would continue to receive treatment Tuesday and if he felt better he planned to play.

Kings coach Keith Smart is optimistic that he will have Evans back.

"I think he will be but you can't pinpoint that," Smart said. "We'll see how he responds because he finally got back on the floor running and cutting."

Evans said he didn't realize how badly he'd injured his knee until after the game last week.

"Just a sharp pain when I was I home," Evans said. "I was in the bed trying to sleep and I was like moving around and bend my leg it would catch me off guard and it was like oh (shoot) it hurt."

May 8, 2012
Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Arn Tellem and ... baseball

Magic Johnson's involvement with the new Dodgers ownership group comes as no surprise. The Hall of Famer has long been a huge (and knowledgeable) sports fan, and almost desperate to become more intimately involved on the management level. With the Buss family controlling the Lakers, that was never going to happen with his former club. What's interesting is that he met one of his new significant partners - Dodgers CEO and daily operations guy Stan Kasten - in the 1980s, when Kasten ran both the Atlanta Hawks and the Braves for former owner Ted Turner. Plus, these are two very accomplished men, with huge personalitiies. So, yes, it will be interesting.

It was funny, though, to see Magic in his lower level seats, standing during the seventh inning stretch in Monday's game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium- alongside his publicist and friend Lon Rosen, who has been with him since his early days in the NBA - and singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame ..."

One more thought: Longtime baseball/basketball agent Arn Tellem, who I have known since his days as general counsel of the (gasp) San Diego Clippers, told me it took about him about three weeks to emotionally recover from his group's failed attempt to purchase the Dodgers. Tellem - like Kasten - is rooted in baseball.

May 1, 2012
Kings' Cousins to receive Select team invitation

Jerry Colangelo, the czar of Team USA's mens basketball program, told me a few minutes ago that DeMarcus Cousins will be invited to play for the Select team at the pre-Olympic training camps in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski also planned to add a few players to its list of 20 Oympic finalists later today. The number of finalists had been trimmed significantly because of season-ending injuries suffered by Derek Rose, Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups and LaMarcus Aldridge. Lamar Odom was bypassed for obvious reasons - he was dropped by the Dallas Mavericks after enduring a miserable season - though there been some speculation that he could be among the additions.

Cousins, 21, had hoped to be named to the Olympic team - which was highly unlikely - but last week said he would accept an invitation to play for the Select team. Consisting mostly of younger NBA players, the Select team's role is to practice and scrimmage against the Olympians. More importantly, Cousins' inclusion adds him to the national team's pool of candidates who will be named to the 2014 World Championship and 2016 Olympic squads.

"They haven't called yet," said Cousins' agent, John Greig, "but my expectation is that he would accept. He takes seriously the responsibility of representing your country."

April 26, 2012
Kings vs. Lakers: Five things to watch

The Kings' season comes to an end tonight in the same building and against the same opponent it started with back on December 26.

The Lakers are heading to the playoffs as the third seed in the Western Conference, while the Kings are finishing their sixth consecutive losing season.

It was announced earlier today that Kobe Bryant will not play tonight, which saps tonight's game of some of its drama. Bryant would have needed 38 points to pass the Thunder's Kevin Durant for the league scoring title.

Instead, the Kings will reportedly face a Lakers team that will rest Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum for the playoffs, and that is already without Metta World Peace, who is serving a seven-game suspension for his elbow to the head of James Harden.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

April 26, 2012
Kobe won't play vs. Kings tonight

If you were hoping to see Kobe Bryant put up 38 or more points tonight to take the NBA scoring title from the Thunders' Kevin Durant, you're out of luck.

The Lakers have announced that Bryant will sit out tonight's game against the Kings to rest up for the opening round of the playoffs. Thus, Durant wins the scoring title with a 28-point average. Bryant finished the season with a 27.9 average.

The Lakers, third seed in the Western Conference, open the playoffs at home on Sunday. Their opponent will be determined by Thursday night's games.

April 26, 2012
Smart on Bryant, Thornton's status for finale

Without much at stake for either team in tonight's regular-season finale between the Kings and Lakers, media attention has focused on the race between Kobe Bryant and the Thunder's Kevin Durant for the league's scoring title.

Bryant can wrest the title from Durant if he scores 38 points tonight.

That was Bryant's exact total last time the Kings and Lakers played in Los Angeles on March 2, a 115-107 win for the Lakers. The teams have split their first two games this season, with the Kings winning at home on Dec. 26. Bryant had 29 points in the first game.

"He's going to try to get 38 any night, it's not just tonight," said Kings head coach Keith Smart.

April 24, 2012
Still no decision on Cousins' appeal

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings have not been told by the NBA if center DeMarcus Cousins will be available for tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Cousins was called for his 13th technical foul of the season in Sunday's win at Charlotte. That is an automatic suspension, per league rules in the 66-game season.

The Kings appealed to have the technical foul rescinded.

April 22, 2012
Kings at Bobcats: Five things to watch

CHARLOTTE - The Kings are the second-worst road team in the NBA at 5-26. But even they have enough to beat the worst team in the NBA, right?

It would be a mistake to assume that. The Kings figured to walk over a depleted Golden State Warriors team on the day they traded Monta Ellis and instead were beaten soundly.

Here are five things to watch if the Kings are to win on the road tonight.

1. Turnovers - The Kings had only 12 in their last game, but they led to 20 points for Oklahoma City in last Friday's loss.
2. Finish at the rim - The Kings struggle to finish around the basket. Bobcats rookie Bismack Biyombo averages 1.8 blocked shots in 22.6 minutes per game. He could be a problem for the Kings.
3. Defense - The Bobcats and Kings are two of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. If the Kings find the resolve to defend, they should be in position to win.
4. Perimeter scoring - Marcus Thornton (left quad contusion) is a game-time decision. If he doesn't play (which is likely) the Kings need Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette and Terrence Williams to pick up the slack.
5. Cousins watch - DeMarcus Cousins has been walking a fine line when it comes to picking up his 13th technical foul, which would mean an automatic one-game suspension. If the Bobcats get physical with him, Cousins has no choice but to play through it and try not to engage the officials in heated dialogue.

April 20, 2012
Kings vs. Thunder: Five things to watch

The Thunder are still playing for a top seed in the playoffs and the best record in the Western Conference. The Kings are trying to avoid finishing with the worst.

With four games left, Oklahoma City is tied with San Antonio in the West with 45 wins. The Thunder (45-17) is a half-game back of the Spurs in the loss column.

Meanwhile, the Kings (20-42) are only a half-game ahead of the bottom-dwelling New Orleans Hornets.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on this evening when two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum meet at Power Balance Pavilion:

April 20, 2012
Pitino remains big backer of Kings' Terrence Williams

I wrote about Kings swingman Terrence Williams for Friday's Bee, but wanted to add a few things that didn't get into column. Specifically, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who coached Williams (and Francisco Garcia) in college, was typically engaging and insightful when we chatted recently about his former players. Initially, he sounded totally depressed - clearly still reeling from the loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four. But he became increasingly upbeat as he talked about Williams and the adversity the guard/forward has overcome even to reach this level. One of the things I found most interesting: Pitino watches Kings games and talks to Williams several times a week.

April 8, 2012
Kings vs. Rockets: Five things to watch

Less than 24 hours after their 109-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center last night, the Kings are back home this evening to play the Houston Rockets at 6 p.m.

While the Kings have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Rockets are still fighting for a spot.

Houston (30-25) started the day in sixth place in the Western Conference but separated from the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, who are tied for ninth place, by only one and a half games.

That means the Kings can count on getting the Rockets' best. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. What will the Kings' starting lineup look like? There was no team shoot-around this morning, so there have been no updates on Marcus Thornton (bruised left calf) or John Salmons (sore right hip). Plus Francisco Garcia, who has started the last two games due to those injuries, told reporters after last night's game that he suffered a concussion when clipped upside the head by Los Angeles forward Bobby Simmons.

April 5, 2012
Smart: Thornton, Salmons out against Clippers

The Kings will again be without leading scorer Marcus Thornton tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers, head coach Keith Smart said after the team's shootaround this morning.

Thornton is still recovering from a bruised left calf sustained Monday night against the Timberwolves that kept him out of the Kings' loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Smart said Thornton is "walking much better but still not ready to get on the floor and play yet."

Thornton had 18 points in the Kings' 108-100 loss to the Clippers on March 1 -- the teams' only previous meeting this season.

March 30, 2012
Chris Mullin to introduce Nellie at Hall of Fame

I finally tracked Don Nelson down on his cell phone in Maui, and while we were chatting about his upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame - which he leaked on Wednesday, because he just can't help himself - he said he asked Chris Mullin to introduce him at the ceremonies. (Inductees have to be introduced by someone already in the Hall). So, it appears, the feud between the two ends: Nellie texted his former player/boss and said Mullie got in touch almost immediately, saying he eagerly accepted and was looking forward to getting together. For two men who contributed immensely to the NBA and to each other's success ..... well, it's about time. "I am so excited," said Nelson, who travels today to the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. "When I saw Mullie last week at his (jersey retirement) ceremonies in Oakland, he was so gracious. He said so many nice things about me. I'm glad we're finally at this point ...."

March 29, 2012
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, and sushi

DeMarcus Cousins' mother, Monique, has been in town the past several days, and as usual, she was candid about her son. We caught up during halftime of Wednesday's Kings-Spurs game at Power Balance Pavilion. I am writing about DeMarcus, his maturation, his changing physique, among other things, for Saturday's Bee. But just a glimpse ahead: When asked about her son's changed physique, his improved conditioning and attempts to change his diet, she cited his agent, John Greig, also a native of Mobile, Ala., and the fact her son lives in California as factors. Greig, who lives in Seattlle, has introduced her son to a variety of foods. But she still can't understand DeMarcus' newfound affinity for sushi, which he eats daily.

"He'll come home and we'll talk about dinner, and he'll say, 'sushi,' " Monique related. "And I'll say 'sushi? sushi? What's with this sushi?' I don't know where that came from, but he just loves sushi."

March 28, 2012
Don Nelson elected to Hall of Fame

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame tries to keep the identities of its incoming members quiet until the NCAA Final Four weekend, but earlier today it leaked out that Don Nelson is among this year's inductees. Nelson, who won five championships as a player with the Boston Celtics, coached the Milwaukee Bucks, the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks (long enough for a cup of coffee), the Dallas Mavericks, and spent his final seasons back with the Warriors.

Though he never won an NBA title as a coach, he led the U.S. 1994 World Championship team to the gold medal and has long been regarded as one of the league's most innovative minds. He also happens to be the all-time winningest coach. Nellie is a charismatic, but polarizing figure, which is probably why he wasn't inducted sooner. They play politics in basketball, too. But this is a well-deserved and overdue honor.

Before the Kings-Spurs game, Kings coach Keith Smart (mentored by Nelson) and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (a close friend and one-time Nelson assistant), texted their congratulations.

March 28, 2012
Kings vs. Spurs: Five things to watch

The Kings try to snap a three-game losing streak tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, whom they surprised in San Antonio earlier this season. Here are a few things to keep an eye during the game:

1. DeMarcus Cousins has been near dominant on the offensive end. Cousins has averaged 29.3 points and 16.7 rebounds in his last three games. More promising perhaps have been Cousins' shooting numbers in the last two games - a combined 24-for-46 (52.2 percent) and 18-of-23 from the free-throw line. His shooting percentage is bound to increase as he converts more of the second-chance opportunities he gets from offensive rebounds and put-backs.

March 28, 2012
Shootaround report: Thompson expected back tonight

Kings head coach Keith Smart said at the team's shootaround this morning that he thinks forward Jason Thompson, who has missed the Kings' last two games with a sprained left ankle, will be available tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.

"He practiced today, we had our normal shootaround, a little five-on-five work, and he did a good job today, so I think he'll be ready to go tonight," Smart said.

That potentially could change before game-time -- Thompson took part in team workouts before the Kings' loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday but sat out the game.

March 28, 2012
The Kings' Smart hitting the phones, taking the calls

During a rare day off, Keith Smart spent two hours on Tuesday in the Kings offices, working the phones and contacting season-ticket holders who were mulling whether to renew for next season. According to some of the Kings types who were on the Power Balance Pavilion premises, the callers asked similar questions: What is the direction of the club? Why isn't Jimmer Fredette playing more? Will Tyreke Evans be traded during the offseason?

Smart, who is terrific with the public and has the energy of someone who sips Red Bull in huge doses (he doesn't), also has been overwhelmed with media requests these past few days because of this weekend's Final Four NCAA Tournament. For those who might have forgotten, he hit the baseline jumper that won the 1987 Championship for Bob Knight's Hoosiers.

Later in the day, the Kings players arrived - en masse - for their annual Cesar Chavez community function, this time at Mark Hopkins Elementary School. They spent an hour mingling with youngsters at an assembly and a learning center that had been renovated. The turnout was impressive despite the nasty weather.

One particularly funny scene: Marcus Thornton trying to help a few kids figure out how to operate one of the new desktop computers. "I don't do much with this electronic stuff," he said, with a grin. "I text on my phone. That's about it."

March 25, 2012
Thompson practices, Smart emphasizes details again

HOUSTON - Starting power forward Jason Thompson participated in practice Sunday evening and is expected to play in Monday's game at Houston.

Thompson sat out Saturday night's loss at Golden State with a sprained left ankle.

"He'll be ready (Monday)," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "It was tender (Saturday) and trying to get him in that game where it was sore and not strong enough if he rolls it again maybe we miss him now for three or four games."

Thompson said after icing his ankle following practice that he is optimistic he will be able to contribute against the Rockets.

His left ankle has bothered him more than once this season.

"It's still not 100 percent," Thompson said. "I'll get some treatment (Monday) morning but it feels better than it felt (Saturday)."

Stick to the script

The Kings loss to Golden State, and even last Thursday to Utah, had a lot to do with slip ups in the details late in games.

Smart said a few minor changes could help the Kings cut down on turnovers late, in addition to less freelancing:

"I told the guys today sometimes from an offensive standpoint if a guy is open you might have to call his name. You don't like to do that but you might have to."

"We were creeping in on the weakside. Sometimes we get away with it but often times not late, what happens late in the game. Chuck (Hayes) rolls to the hole and thought he had a guy in the corner, the guy cut, wasn't there and we lost the ball. So late in games you have to stay true to your spacing, stay true to what you know you're supposed to do."

Breaking away from the plan cost the Kings on the inbounds play against the Warriors that led to a breakaway dunk for Richard Jefferson.

Smart said one player tried to do his own thing and that was enough for Jefferson to break loose.

"When you try to break away on your own, it causes problems and the whole play shuts down. So let the offense work for you, let the defense work for you, especially late in games. You can't go on your own late because that will cause a major problem."

March 24, 2012
Thompson will not play at Golden State

OAKLAND -- Kings forward Jason Thompson will not play tonight against the Golden State Warriors because of a sprained left ankle.

Thompson hurt his ankle at the end of Thursday's loss to Utah. Kings coach Keith Smart said because the Warriors use a small lineup that would have limited Thompson's playing time, tonight was ideal to give Thompson a break.

Smart did not announce who would start for Thompson, but Donte' Greene is likely to take his place.

Smart also did not announce if Tyreke Evans had decided he wanted to be back in the starting lineup. Evans has come off the bench for two games after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.

March 24, 2012
Kings at Warriors: Five things to watch

OAKLAND -- The Kings look to even their season series with the Golden State Warriors tonight.

A win would give the Kings for victories in their last five in what might be their best stretch of basketball this season.

Here are five things to watch for as the Kings look for a rare road win (4-20 on the road this season).

March 22, 2012
Kings vs. Jazz: Five things to watch

Something has to give tonight when the Kings (17-29) play the Utah Jazz (24-22) at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Kings have equaled their season-high by winning three in a row and can finish their nine-game homestand at 6-3 with a win tonight.

The Jazz have won their last four games, defeating the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday and the Thunder on Tuesday, as they try to stay in the Western Conference playoff hunt.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. Can the Kings keep playing good defense? Yes, the Kings are averaging 118 points in their last three wins, but that number is in no small part attributable to their play on defense. The Kings have been forcing more turnovers and getting themselves into transition faster off of defensive rebounds and steals. That has led to more lay-ups in transition.

March 20, 2012
Kings vs. Grizzlies: Five things to watch

The Kings try to match their season-high of three consecutive wins tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. Can the Kings slow the Grizzlies inside? The Grizzlies have averaged 120.5 points in their two wins over the Kings this season, with much of that scoring coming in the paint. Memphis' big men are good passers and they will work the ball inside -- the Grizzlies average a league-low 11.81 three-point attempts a game. Plus Memphis power forward Zach Randolph, who missed both games against the Kings in January with a knee injury, recently returned to action and has been playing significant minutes off the bench. The Kings will need to play strong defense in the paint, where their focus has been for the past couple of months.

March 15, 2012
Kings, NBA trades, and second-guessing

Now that the trade deadline has passed on an unusually active midseason (trade) day, here are a few thoughts:

* I continue to hear that Paul Westphal pushed very, very, very hard for the Kings to trade second-year center DeMarcus Cousins, so hard, in fact, that his persistence helped push him out the door. There was no way the Kings were moving Cousins for Nene, the Denver Nuggets center swapped to the Washington in the deal involving JaVale McGee. George Karl has long coveted Cousins. But McGee? Karl did a phenomenal job coaching Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, not to mention Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, etc. But, man, I can't wait to see George trying to coach McGee.

* Even though he traded him after winning a championship, Gregg Popovich has always appreciated Stephen Jackson's talents. Given Richard Jefferson's ineffectiveness and the Spurs' attempts to win another title before Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker retire to their rocking chairs, this move does not surprise me in the least. Pop has always had huge .... guts.

* If I were the Warriors, I would be more worried about Stephen Curry's recurring foot/ankle problems than anything else.

* Monta Ellis to the Bucks? With Brandon Jennings? Explosive, but too small. Nene to the Wizards? Why, exactly? Andrew Bogut? Nice move, if he can stay healthy - and he's played an 82-game season only once in his career. Ramon Sessions to the Lakers? I like this one. Fisher is a great shooter and tremendous locker room presence, but and it remains to be seen how well Mike Brown incorporates Sessions into the Lakers offense. But if Kobe is receptive to sharing the ball a bit more and the Lakers capitalize on the transition opportunities Sessions provides, this can be a very advantageous move.

* Again, I like the discipline the Kings showed in failing to make a move Thursday. I heard they tried like crazy to dump J.J. Hickson and Donte Greene, looked for someone to take John Salmons' contract, but for a change, didn't take on onerous deals that would have negatively impacted their chances for major offseason maneuverings. (Plus, there will be that high draft pick!). This will be a huge offseason for them, and particularly, for Geoff Petrie. He is overdue for a series of transformative moves.

March 14, 2012
Kings vs. Pistons: Five things to watch

Perhaps still smarting from last night's 26-point loss to the shorthanded Warriors, the Kings return to the court tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game, which begins at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion:

1. Will the Kings take this one seriously? The Kings lost to the Pistons in Detroit on Feb. 17, 114-108, and at 14-28 aren't really in a position to under-prepare for games. But not getting up for non-marquee opponents has been an issue for the Kings (see their last two losses). The 15-27 Pistons are a team that could pose a problem in that regard. It will be interesting to see how the Kings respond after last night's loss to the Warriors, which veteran forward-center Chuck Hayes said was embarrassing.

March 13, 2012
Kings vs. Warriors: Five things to watch

The Kings (14-27) play the first game of a back-to-back tonight against the Golden State Warriors at Power Balance Pavilion. The Warriors (17-21) have won three of their last four.

1. If you like scoring, this is a matchup for you. The Kings and Warriors have split their last six meetings, with both teams averaging more than 109 points per game (three of them have gone to overtime). Both teams rank in the bottom five in the NBA in opponents' points per game this season, so this one may come down to who can buckle down on defense and get a few stops. The Kings will want to make sure they ...

March 11, 2012
Kings vs. Hawks: Five things to watch

The Kings (14-26) will try to match their season-high three-game winning streak this evening when they play the Atlanta Hawks (23-17) at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the game tips off at 6 p.m.:

1. Who controls the pace? The Hawks are allowing the fourth-fewest points per game in the league (91.4). Like the Mavericks, they can play with a more deliberate style that means fewer possessions per game. Last week they held the Thunder and the Heat -- two of the league's highest-scoring teams -- to 90 and 89 points, respectively. The Kings were able to dictate the pace early against the Mavericks on Friday and would benefit from doing the same tonight.

March 9, 2012
Kings vs. Mavericks: Five things to watch

The defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks go into tonight's game against the Kings at Power Balance Pavilion on a 2-6 skid.

The Mavericks have, however, won their last 10 games against the Kings, including a lopsided 99-60 win in January that saw the Kings set a new Sacramento-era record for the lowest shooting percentage in a game (25.6).

Here are a few things to watch when tonight's game tips off at 7 p.m.:

1. DeMarcus Cousins should be back on the court. Cousins, who missed the Kings' win over the Hornets on Wednesday with a bad bout of food poisoning, practiced Thursday but still wasn't totally himself, according to head coach Keith Smart and guard Jimmer Fredette. It remains to be seen whether Cousins will still be battling fatigue or dehydration tonight. The Kings missed his rebounding (11.4 per game, fourth in the NBA) against the Hornets. Not to mention that tonight ...

2. The Mavericks are missing two of their centers. Starting center Brendan Haywood has missed the Mavericks' last two games with an ankle injury and reportedly will not play tonight. Brandan Wright is out with a concussion. That has placed the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Ian Mahinmi in a starting role. Mahinmi is averaging 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game this season, and has gotten into some foul trouble in his two recent starts.

March 7, 2012
Kings vs. Hornets: Five things to watch

It's a meeting of the teams with the two worst records in the Western Conference when the Kings (12-26) play the New Orleans Hornets (9-29) tonight at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Kings have beaten the Hornets both times they've played this season. Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the game tips off at 7 p.m.:

1. Can Marcus Thornton carry over his good shooting? Thornton is usually thought of as a streaky shooter, but his scoring of late has been consistent. He has scored 20 or more points in seven of the Kings' last nine games. Perhaps more promising, in his last five games, he has made 48.1 percent of his shots (39-for-81). After he tied a career high with six three-pointers in the Kings' loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, it will be interesting to see if Thornton can respond with another efficient game tonight. It's a boost for the Kings when they can count on his production.

March 7, 2012
Smart: Hickson will miss tonight's game

Kings head coach Keith Smart said J.J. Hickson (hip pointer) is improving but will not be available for tonight's game against the New Orleans Hornets.

"He's doing much better," Smart said. "He was on the crutches at first, then he was walking gingerly, and now he's able to do some work on the elliptical and bike. So he's coming along."

Smart said any timetable for Hickson's return is up to team doctors.

This will be the fourth game Hickson has missed since he fell hard on the hip after going up for a rebound in the Kings' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last Tuesday. He is averaging 4.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game.

* There was a new face at the Kings' practice facility this morning working with center Hassan Whiteside after the team's shootaround.

March 4, 2012
Kings at Suns: Five things to watch

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have an All-Star point guard and one of the better centers in the NBA.

In the Western Conference that puts the Suns (16-20) ahead of the Kings, Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets in standings.

But the Kings shouldn't treat the Suns like below-average team in spite of their record. After all it was a loss to the Suns Feb. 11 at Power Balance Pavilion that began the Kings' season-long six-game losing streak.

So here are five things to watch for tonight when the Kings look to end their two-game losing streak against the Suns.

March 1, 2012
Kings' Thomas named rookie of the month

Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas was named today by the NBA as the Western Conference rookie of the month for February

In February, Thomas led all Western Conference rookies in scoring at 12.2 points per game and was second in assists with 4.4. In the first five starts of his career, the point guard scored 96 points, matching Otis Birdsong's 1970-71 franchise record for most points in a player's first five games.

Thomas will be back on the court tonight when the Kings take on the Los Angeles Clippers at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving was named rookie of the month in the Eastern Conference after leading all rookies in scoring (19.3) and minutes (35.3). He scored 20 or more six times in February.

February 28, 2012
Kings vs. Jazz: Five things to watch

The Kings (11-22) play at home tonight for the first time in nearly three weeks, hosting the Utah Jazz (15-17) to begin the second half of the season. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. Is home where the defense is? The Kings scored 100 or more points four times on their six-game road trip before the break, but gave up 100 or more points five times and went 1-5. Coach Keith Smart wants to see players do a better job of staying in front of their man on defense, since the Kings have been susceptible to teams that penetrate to get shots or draw help.

Smart still wants the Kings to focus on defending the paint first and make teams beat them with long-range shooting -- a strategy that would seem designed with an opponent like the Jazz in mind. The Jazz don't take a lot of three-pointers (12.53 a game, third-lowest in the NBA) and when they do, they don't make many (29.7 percent, worst in the league). Instead, they are the only team in the NBA scoring more than 50 percent of their points in the paint.

February 26, 2012
Warriors owner wants Kings in Sacramento

ORLANDO, Fla. -- I am here in the hotel lobby with several other media members from Sacramento staking out the meetings with David Stern, Joe, Gavin, George Maloof, Kevin Johnson and other arena officials. The Commissioner is expected to participate until approximately 4:30. He has another function scheduled before tonight's 7:30 All-Star Game. But we'll see.

Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob walked over to chat, and when his perspective on his neighbor's arena situation, offered strong support for keeping the Kings in Sacramento. "We want the team in Sac because that market supported that team very in the past," he said, "and should be able to do so again in the future. For us, having them there is a rivalry. We don't see it as competition even though both teams are in Northern California. I really hope it works out."

February 25, 2012
Awaiting David Stern presser, word on Kings arena

ORLANDO, Fla. - David Stern should be arriving at the Anway Center momentarily for his annual All-Star Weekend press conference. He and his media people expect the session to be dominated by questions about Sacramento's arena situation, the prospects for franchises in Anaheim, Seattle and Vancouver, as well as other inquiries post-lockout and the 66-game shortened season. Earlier in the day, NBA executives Joel LItvin, Harvey Benjamin met with Kevin Johnson and other members of the contingent from Sacramento. The big meetings take place tomorrow.

Meantime, here a few other thoughts:
* My favorite amenity in the Amway Center has to be the Budweiser Baseline Bar at the top of the loge section. Anyone who buys a ticket has access. When I was here last year, I met a young couple who bought season tickets for $5 per game and spend every game at the baseline bar, eating and drinking, and enjoying the closer view of the court.
* Security has been more stringent outside the building than I can ever recall for an All-Star Weekend.
* The only downer about the weekend is the distances traveled between events. The arena is downtown, but the Orange County Convention Center, and the hotels housing NBA executives, players and media members are spread all over the place, many on the Disney property.
* Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, who has visited with KJ at various national mayoral conferences, said he would tell his Sacramento counterpart, "to keep at it" regarding the arena proposal.

February 22, 2012
Kings at Wizards: Five things to watch

WASHINGTON - Tonight ends the Kings' longest road trip of the season. The Kings are 0-5 on the trip and have lost six in a row overall.

The Washington Wizards are the worst team the Kings will have played on the trip. Like the Kings they have already had a coaching change and had their fair share of turmoil to start the season.

Can the Kings finally win a game? Here are five things the Kings need to do to end their losing streak.

February 21, 2012
Kings at Heat: Five things to watch

MIAMI - The Miami Heat have the NBA's second-longest active winning streak in the NBA at six games. The Kings have the league's longest active losing streak at five games.

Logic dictates the Kings will lose tonight, right?

Here are five things the Kings have to do to have a chance make logic look silly.

February 19, 2012
Kings at Cavaliers: Five things to watch

CLEVELAND - There have been signs the Kings are an improved team, but they are hard to find during a four-game losing streak.

Here are some things the Kings can do to have a chance of not allowing their losing streak reach five games:

February 17, 2012
Cousins will play against the Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- After being ruled out earlier today with mid back spasms, DeMarcus Cousins tested out his back and will play tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

Kings coach Keith Smart did not say Cousins would start when asked. But it's hard to imagine Smart allowing a player who was having back problems earlier today to sit too long after he warmed up for the game.

Cousins has been the Kings most consistent player this season, averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds.

February 17, 2012
Kings at Pistons: Five things to watch

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - With DeMarcus Cousins (mid back spasms) out the Kings will be without their most consistent player this season.

How will the Kings replace Couins' production (16.3 points, 11.3 rebounds)?

Here are five things the Kings can do to still be productive without Cousins against the Detroit Pistons:

February 17, 2012
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins out tonight due to back spasms

By Jason Jones

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will not play tonight because of mid back spasms.

Coach Keith Smart did not indicate who would start for Cousins.

Chuck Hayes or J.J. Hickson are the likely choices.

Cousins is averaging 16.3 points and a team-leading 11.3 rebounds.

February 15, 2012
Kings at Knicks: Five things to watch

NEW YORK - Tonight will be all about Jeremy Lin, the second-year guard that has become an international star during the Knicks six-game winning streak.

What can the Kings do to overcome Linsanity? Here are five things to look for:

1. Jimmermania
Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette is playing his first NBA game in New York. Fredette is from Glen Falls, N.Y., and there should be a lot of support for him tonight. In Fredette's first homecoming this season at Salt Lake City, Fredette missed a three pointer that would have given the Kings a lead late over the Jazz. How will he respond tonight after sitting out last night with a stomach illness?

2. Another big night
DeMarcus Cousins began this road trip with 28 points and 17 rebounds against Chicago. Can the second-year center have another standout performance? They have been more common for Cousins under Keith Smart.

3. Thomas watch
The Kings' comeback fell short last night, but once again rookie Isaiah Thomas was on the floor when the rally began. Thomas brings energy whenever he is on the floor.

4. J.T.'s task
Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire missed four games after the death of his brother and returned last night at Toronto. Jason Thompson will likely be asked to keep Stoudemire in check tonight, a role Samuel Dalmebert filled well last year in a Kings win at Madison Square Garden.

5. Defense, please
Can the Kings get some stops? Chicago shot 52.4 percent against the Kings and until the Kings make it tougher for teams to score, they will struggle to win.

February 11, 2012
Kings vs. Suns: Five things to watch

The Kings (10-16) play another team trying to make up ground in the Western Conference's Pacific Division tonight in the Phoenix Suns (11-15). Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the game tips off at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion:

1. Guard matchup. Kings guard Tyreke Evans has averaged 21.4 points per game in the Kings' last seven games. More important to Kings head coach Keith Smart, though, have been Evans' strides in working to create shots for teammates, which Smart said has made Evans the "unsung hero" in the Kings' recent stretch of four wins in five games.

Tonight, Evans faces the unenviable task of chasing around after Suns point guard Steve Nash, an assignment that usually entails fighting through a lot of screens when the Suns run pick-and-roll. Nash's 10.1 assists per game lead the NBA.

February 4, 2012
Kings vs. Warriors: Whiteside back with team

As the Kings announced Friday, center Hassan Whiteside is back with the team tonight for their 7 p.m. game against the Golden State Warriors at Power Balance Pavilion.

Head coach Keith Smart said the Kings decided to recall Whiteside from the Reno Bighorns of the Development League "because he needs to start seeing some of the things we're doing, going through some of the plays, going through some of the offensive and defensive things."

February 2, 2012
Kings vs. Trail Blazers: Thornton available

The Kings will have Marcus Thornton back tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, though head coach Keith Smart said he doesn't know how much Thornton will play.

"It'll be good to see where he's at," Smart said. "He hasn't had a chance to play five-on-five, conditioning up and down the floor with the team, but he's had a chance to be on the floor, play some four-on-four."

Smart did not say whether Thornton will start.

February 2, 2012
Kings vs. Trail Blazers: Five things to watch

The Kings (6-15) and Trail Blazers (13-9) must be getting downright familiar with each other. They play tonight for the third time in the Kings' first 22 games.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the game tips off at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion, with the Kings looking to avoid their sixth consecutive loss:

1. Will Marcus Thornton return to the lineup? The Kings' guard, who has missed the last four games with a significant hematoma in his left thigh, said he hopes to play tonight -- with the approval of team doctors. Thornton is averaging 16.4 points a game. More than that, head coach Keith Smart said yesterday, the Kings have missed his veteran-type presence and "savvy" on the court, and his ability to be a creative and explosive scorer. If Thornton does play tonight, it will be interesting to see how many minutes he logs and how quickly he can shake off the rust, having not appeared in a game since Jan. 21.

2. The Kings haven't been able to contain Gerald Wallace. Wallace, the Trail Blazers forward, has had his way around the basket in the teams' first two meetings. Wallace was 17-for-23 (74 percent) from the field in those two games, averaging 22.5 points and 8 rebounds. Much of the responsibility for slowing Wallace down tonight will probably fall to Kings forward John Salmons.

January 31, 2012
Kings at Warriors: Five things to watch

OAKLAND - The NBA's two Northern California teams are at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

So this isn't the marquee game for the league, but it's important for both squads. My focus (of course) is the Kings, so here are five things to look for when the Kings play the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

January 31, 2012
Report on Kings' Petrie 'not true,' Joe Maloof says

As reported several times in The Bee and on -- most recently in Ailene Voisin's column on Jan. 18 -- Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie's future with the team appears increasingly uncertain.

But a report that surfaced Monday night in a fan blog, Sactown Royalty, attributed only to sources - that Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have considered relieving Petrie of his position and have contacted a management agent - has been denied forcefully by Joe Maloof.

"No, this is not true," Maloof texted The Bee. "I had heard about (the rumor). We will be fine. We have had the toughest schedule in the league by far."

January 28, 2012
Chuck Hayes returns to action

SALT LAKE CITY -- Kings forward/center Chuck Hayes will play tonight against the Utah Jazz. He's missed 11 games after dislocating his left shoulder Jan. 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Hayes was a starter when he injured his shoulder but will not start tonight. The Kings will stay Jason Thompson playing Hayes' spot along with Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup.

January 25, 2012
Kings-Nuggets: Both teams missing pieces tonight

The Kings, missing guard Marcus Thornton and forward-center Chuck Hayes to injury, will play a likewise shorthanded opponent tonight in the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets will be without injured guards Arron Afflalo and Rudy Fernandez, as well as center Timofey Mozgov, who is away for the birth of his first child.

Kings head coach Keith Smart declined to say who will start in Thornton's stead. John Salmons started at shooting guard on Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, while rookie Jimmer Fredette is another option.

Smart did say he would like to get to a point where he has an established starting lineup -- something that has been complicated by Hayes' absence and Thornton's nagging injury.

January 25, 2012
Kings-Nuggets: Five things to watch

The Kings announced earlier today that guard Marcus Thornton is expected to miss 1 to 2 weeks with a significant hematoma in his left thigh. How the Kings continue to deal with his absence will be one thing to keep an eye on beginning tonight, when they play the Denver Nuggets at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion.

1. What will the starting five look like? Thornton's absence leaves Kings head coach Keith Smart with options. He can start John Salmons in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans for a bigger lineup -- as he did against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday -- or have Jimmer Fredette start alongside Evans. Should Salmons move to shooting guard, it may mean another start for Donte Greene against a sizable Nuggets frontcourt.

January 20, 2012
Kings at Spurs: Five things to watch

SAN ANTONIO - If the Kings want to become a good team, they have to start winning on the road with some regularity.

No better place to start doing that then here, where the San Antonio Spurs are undefeated at the AT&T Center this season.

Here are five things to look for tonight as the Kings try to beat the Spurs.

January 18, 2012
Kings vs. Pacers: Five things to watch

Kings coach Keith Smart gave no indication Tuesday the Kings starting lineup would be different tonight when the Kings host the Indiana Pacers.

But here are five reserves that could impact the game and what to they might bring to the court.

January 16, 2012
Kings at Timberwolves: Five things to watch

MINNEAPOLIS - Ricky Rubio has become popular around this city rather fast.

Rubio was taken with the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, one spot after the Sacramento Kings selected Tyreke Evans.

Rubio stayed in Spain while Evans went on to win Rookie of the Year. Rubio is playing his way into the same honor this season, averaging 11 points and 8.3 assists.

Rubio's passing is one of the five things to watch tonight.

January 16, 2012
NBA rookies photo gallery: Fredette vs. Rubio

Jimmer Fredette from BYU and Ricky Rubio of El Masnou, Spain, meet tonight, Jan. 16, 2002, in Minnesota for the first time when the Sacramento Kings take on the Timberwolves. Here is a visual comparison of two rookies who came into the league with lots of hype. Statistics from

See the photo gallery.

January 16, 2012
Shootaround report: Keith Smart making most of the mornings

MINNEAPOLIS - When you're 4-9 and coming off a 39-point loss, you can forget the idea that shootaround is just a walkthrough.

Kings coach Keith Smart had the Kings get their ankles taped so they could have a more active shootaround this morning in preparation for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Having a young team coupled with a coaching change, Smart is using any chance he can to do some work on the court.

January 14, 2012
Kings at Mavericks: Five things to watch

DALLAS - If the Kings are going to improve to 2-2 on this road trip they'll need to play well tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, who have won four in a row and are 7-5 after starting the season with three losses.

Here are five things to look for from the Kings tonight:

January 13, 2012
Marcus Thornton still out, Alex English to join coaching staff

HOUSTON - Kings' leading scorer Marcus Thornton will miss his third consecutive game because of left thigh contusion.

Rookie Jimmer Fredette will start again for Thornton.

Thornton (18.7 points per game) took part in a light workout Thursday and experienced what Smart said was normal soreness.

January 13, 2012
Kings at Rockets: Five things to watch

HOUSTON - The Kings finally won a road game Wednesday in Toronto and will look to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Here are five things to watch for as the Kings go for win No. 5 this season against the Houston Rockets.

January 11, 2012
Kings at Toronto: Five things to watch

TORONTO - The Washington Wizards are no longer winless after playing the Kings' opponent tonight, the Toronto Raptors.

Will the Raptors cure what ails the Kings? Here are five things to look for tonight at Air Canada Centre:

January 10, 2012
Jimmer starts for injured Marcus Thornton

PHILADELPHIA -- Guard Marcus Thornton (left thigh contusion) will miss tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rookie Jimmer Fredette will make his first start of the regular season in place of Thornton.

Fredette will handle point guard duties, though Tyreke Evans will still initiate the offense too.

Thornton leads the Kings in scoring at 18.7 points per game.

January 10, 2012
Kings at 76ers: Five things to watch

PHILADELPHIA - Tonight the Kings begin their longest road trip of the early season. It's a five-game trip that begins with tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers and ends next Monday at Philadelphia.

Here are five things to look for when the Kings take on the 76ers:

January 8, 2012
Kings-Magic: Five things to watch

The Kings (3-5) try to improve to 2-0 under head coach Keith Smart today when they play the Orlando Magic (5-3) at 3 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. The Kings want to push the pace on offense. Having had only a few days to start introducing his offense, Smart said he wants to keep things simple in games for the time being and give his players some freedom to trust their instincts and athleticism on the offensive end. The Kings' players seem to like that. DeMarcus Cousins said he had "fun" in the Kings' win over Milwaukee on Thursday, and Marcus Thornton describes it as the Kings are "just playing." They will likely try to push the pace, as Smart believes the Kings can and should run more to create easy scoring opportunities.

January 5, 2012
Video: Keith Smart press conference

Keith Smart addresses the media after being named the new head coach of the Kings.

* Smart said he will treat the coming days as a training camp. "I'm going to go into it with the idea of, 'Who would be my starters?' and work from there. Unfortunately we're in the middle of a season, and don't have the kind of time we need, but I'm going to focus on the team that I put out there on the floor tonight and see where they go."

* Smart said communication with players is one of his strong suits.

* Smart said the Kings have a skill set conducive to a running team, but that fostering that kind of offensive identity will be a process.

January 5, 2012
Video: Geoff Petrie press conference

Geoff Petrie addresses the media regarding the Kings' coaching change.

Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations, announced at a news conference this afternoon that Keith Smart has been named the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

The team announced earlier today that former head coach Paul Westphal had been fired following the Kings' 2-5 start to the 2011-12 season.

* Petrie said he talked with Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof "at length" on Wednesday and recommended that the coaching change "was probably necessary."

* Petrie downplayed the idea that a rift between Westphal and DeMarcus Cousins was a deciding factor in the decision to fire Westphal. "A lot of this goes to the greater areas of the way the team is playing and the performance levels of a lot of the players on the team beyond DeMarcus," Petrie said.

* Petrie said of Smart: "We think he's the best guy for the job right now."

January 5, 2012
Kings-Bucks: Five things to watch

There will be plenty of things to watch tonight when the Kings play the Milwaukee Bucks at Power Balance Pavilion, and one notable absence.

The Kings announced earlier today the team had fired head coach Paul Westphal, and that assistant coach Keith Smart will coach the team tonight. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

How will the players respond to Keith Smart? A new voice, a new presence. The Kings need something to snap them out of a serious early funk that has them 2-5. Effort and energy have been challenged, and apparent communication breakdowns over the offensive system were a point of tension and frustration through the first seven games. Smart takes the helm tonight - the Kings have not officially announced for how long - and will be tasked with kick-starting an idling team. Which brings us to ...

Will the Kings show any energy tonight? This has been a recurring theme for the Kings since the second game of the season, but it is thrown into sharper relief tonight at the end of a five-games-in-six-days stretch. The Kings were in Memphis 48 hours ago and Denver 24 hours ago, and it will be interesting to see how much is left in their legs against the Bucks. Bench production may be key, particularly if Tyreke Evans has not fully recovered from whatever was ailing him last night when he reportedly vomited at halftime.

January 5, 2012
Shootaround report: Bucks shorthanded and Udrih returns to Sacramento

The Kings are catching yet another team that is missing some key components tonight in the Milwaukee Bucks, who will be without center Andrew Bogut (personal reasons) and swingman Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (groin).

On their recent two-day road trip, the Kings played the Grizzlies without forward Zach Randolph, and the Nuggets without starting center Nene. The Kings lost both games by double-digit margins.

Bogut averaged 14.3 points and 10 rebounds in the Bucks' first four games before leaving the team prior to its loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Drew Gooden is expected to start for the Bucks (2-3) at center tonight.

Former Kings guard Beno Udrih's status for the game is uncertain.

Udrih sustained a left shoulder sprain in the Bucks' game against the Jazz. He wasn't participating in the team's shootaround this morning -- during which the news broke that the Kings had fired head coach Paul Westphal -- but he did reflect a little on returning to Sacramento, where he played the last four seasons.

January 5, 2012
Kings schedule news conference at 5:15 pm with Keith Smart

Want to find out what assistant coach Keith Smart thinks about being promoted to head coach for tonight's game against the Bucks?

The Kings will have two news conferences this afternoon - 5 p.m. with basketball president Geoff Petrie and 5:15 p.m. with Smart - at Power Balance Pavilion in the aftermath of todays' firing of Paul Westphal as head coach.

We'll be there with reporters, photographers and video, so please check back for updates.

Plus, columnist Marcos Breton will be on a live chat 6 p.m.-7 p.m. and Matt Kawahara will host tonight's in-game live chat beginning just before tipoff. Check out both here on the Kings Blog beginning at 6 p.m.

January 5, 2012
Sacramento Kings fire coach Paul Westphal


PHOTO CREDIT: Former Kings coach Paul Westphal answers questions about center DeMarcus Cousins before Sunday night's game between the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Hornets at Power Balance Pavilion. José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.

Kings coach Paul Westphal was fired earlier this morning by basketball president Geoff Petrie. Assistant Keith Smart will coach tonight's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

LIVE CHAT REPLAY: Ailene Voisin takes reader questions on the Westphal firing

In two-plus seasons, Westphal compiled a 51-120 record, winning 25 and 24 games in the previous two seasons. The Kings take a 2-5 record into tonight's game at Power Balance Pavilion.

January 4, 2012
Kings at Nuggets: Five things to watch

DENVER - Kings coach Paul Westphal sat his starters in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's loss at Memphis, so the Kings should be an energetic bunch to start tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets.

In three of their four losses the Kings fell behind big in the first quarter and at times looked like a group lacking fire.

That was the case at Memphis. If it happens again, the Kings could lose their fifth game by double digits this season.

The Nuggets won't have starting center Nene, but it remains to be seen if they can take advantage.

With that in mind, here are five things to watch for tonight when the Kings play the Nuggets.

January 3, 2012
Shootaround report: New Kings lineup catches another team without its star

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kings coach Paul Westphal is still staying good things about the Kings starting lineup with J.J. Hickson replacing DeMarcus Cousins.

"I think it's a good lineup for us," Westphal said. "We looked very good when we've gone to the line up and I think it will be good."

The Kings beat the New Orleans Hornets Sunday with that starting lineup, though I'm sure the Hornets would like to point out they were without Eric Gordon, their best player.

And this version of the Kings starting lineup catches another break tonight. The Memphis Grizzlies star power forward Zach Randolph is expected to sit out tonight because of a knee injury.

"Zach takes a ton of focus and really nobody in the league has been stopping that guy no matter how much you focus on him," Westphal said. "He's really one of the devastating, low post, midrange presences that this league has."

January 3, 2012
Kings at Grizzlies: Five things to watch

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Here are five things to look for when the Kings face the Memphis Girzzlies tonight.

1. Bounce in their step
The Kings looked energetic for the first time since the season opener in beating the New Orleans Hornets Sunday. That will be needed again. The Kings are too young look lethargic, especially this early in the season.

2. Grizzlies from three
The Lakers and Hornets shot a combined 1-of-31 on three pointers against the Kings in losing at Sacramento.

3. DMC's role
The Kings are still at their best with DeMarcus Cousins fully engaged and involved. How long will Cousins sit before Paul Westphal puts him in the game?

4. Perimeter defense
Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo have given the Kings problems in recent years. The Kings will look to John Salmons and Tyreke Evans to help slow them down.

5. Free throws
The Kings made 18-of-21 free throws Sunday after struggle to make 60 percent of their free throws through four games.

January 2, 2012
Cousins traveling with Kings to Memphis

By Bee Staff

DeMarcus Cousins is traveling with the Kings to Memphis today, Cousins' agent, John Greig, told The Bee's Jason Jones.

Cousins was sent home before the Kings' game against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. The Kings released a statement from coach Paul Westphal saying Cousins demanded a trade following the Kings' loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday -- a claim Cousins' agent has denied.

The Kings play at Memphis on Tuesday. Check back for more on this story as it develops.

January 1, 2012
Westphal: Cousins asked to be traded twice

Kings coach Paul Westphal said he told DeMarcus Cousins to stay home from tonight's game after Cousins asked to be traded last night for the second time this season.

Cousins was among several Kings players who were visibly frustrated with the Kings' recent three-game skid when addressing reporters following the 114-92 loss to the New York Knicks last night.

Westphal said Cousins later told Westphal he wanted to be traded. The Kings' second-year center had already asked for a trade earlier this season, Westphal said.

Cousins' agent, John Greig, told The Bee earlier today that it is "absolutely not true that DeMarcus or I demanded a trade. We need to find out what the position of the organization is. Nobody has talked to me and I would look forward to talking to the Maloofs."

Westphal said the fact that Cousins demanded a trade is "simply true," and said that, "It's silly to have the agent deny it just because he didn't get a call before DeMarcus talked to me."

The Kings released a statement from Westphal shortly after 3 p.m. today in which Westphal said Cousins had been directed to stay home from the Kings' game against the New Orleans Hornets tonight.

January 1, 2012
Cousins told to stay home tonight

No one was happy after Saturday night's 114-92 loss to the Knicks - not the Kings players, not coach Paul Westphal and certainly not the fans.

We're not quite sure what happened after The Bee's Jason Jones, Ailene Voisin and Matthew Kawahara left Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday night, but The Kings issued this interesting statement from Westphal at 3:21 p.m. today:


"Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction. As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life!
"As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.
"Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public. This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.
"DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight."

According to Cousins' agent, John Greig, Cousins never asked to be traded.

Come back for updates throughout the afternoon as this story develops.
-Tom Couzens

January 1, 2012
Kings-Hornets: Five things to watch

The Kings will try to snap a three-game skid against the New Orleans Hornets tonight at 6 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game.

1. What will the offense look like? It's the biggest issue facing the Kings right now, embodied by a frustrated Tyreke Evans saying after last night's loss to the Knicks that the Kings "look lost" trying to run their new offense and are "playing off our natural talent" in order to score points. That is manifesting itself in a lot of dribble-drives and one-on-one basketball, and not much movement with or off the ball. Cohesion is key, but it has been lacking.

2. Avoiding another early deficit is important. Both the Bulls and Knicks jumped out to large early leads at Power Balance Pavilion and exposed coach Paul Westphal's concern that the Kings are not relying on each other when things get tough. Westphal said the Kings must take it upon themselves to play hard from the opening tip. The Bulls and Knicks both shot 56.5 percent in the first quarter against the Kings. Likely not every team will be that efficient.

December 31, 2011
Kings-Knicks pre-game: Harrellson to start

The Knicks will start Josh Harrellson in place of Amar'e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire sprained his ankle in the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Thursday.

Harrellson (6-10, 275), a rookie out of Kentucky, has averaged 9.7 minutes in the Knicks' first three games.

No injuries to report for the Kings.

* John Salmons will likely start out defending the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, coach Paul Westphal said. That might change if Anthony plays more power forward tonight in the absence of Stoudemire.

* While the Kings hurt themselves on defense and at the free-throw line in their loss to the Chicago Bulls, they also scored 98 points against a team regarded one of the league's best on defense. Asked if there was progress made in that game on the offensive end, forward-center Chuck Hayes answered: "Yeah, I think so.

December 31, 2011
Kings-Knicks: Five things to watch

The Kings play the New York Knicks tonight in a matchup of teams that have each lost their last two games. Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the game tips off at Power Balance Pavilion at 5 p.m.

How will the Kings respond to coach Paul Westphal's call to pull together? Westphal was upset following the Kings' loss to the Bulls partly because he felt like the Kings stopped relying on each other when the going got tough. Players tried to do it themselves on the offensive end and admitted there was little communication on defense. Westphal believes the Kings can be a competitive team right now and have the will to win games, but need to execute responsibilities as a team on both ends of the floor.

The Kings must do a better job of getting back on defense. Transition defense has been the most glaring issue in the Kings' first two losses and was particularly bad against the Bulls. Players cited effort as one factor, while Wespthal also pointed out instances where post players crashed the boards rather than getting back on defense, or wings failed to rotate back following shots. There also may have been times when players showed their frustration by not getting back on the defensive end as quickly as they could have. It was a point of emphasis in film and practice Friday and will be important against another team that likes to push the tempo in the Knicks.

December 29, 2011
Fredette encouraged to be more aggressive

It isn't that Jimmer Fredette is being urged to heed those voices coming from the stands that clamor for him to "Shoot it!" every time he touches the ball.

But two games into the season, Kings coach Paul Westphal thinks the rookie guard could be taking more shots when the opportunity is there.

In games against the Lakers and Trail Blazers, Fredette has made 7 of 18 shots, including 1 of 5 three-point attempts, while averaging 25 minutes. He has appeared hesitant at times in passing up some open looks.

"I think he's a little too nice," Westphal said on Wednesday. "I think he's probably trying to fit in a little too much. Everybody on the team knows he can shoot the ball and wants to see him shoot the ball. He has to know that it's OK, and he's feeling his way. He's played two preseason games and two NBA games and I think he's done very well."

December 29, 2011
Kings-Bulls: Five things to watch

The Kings will try to rebound from their first loss of the season tonight against the Chicago Bulls, who also suffered their first loss on Tuesday. Here are a few things to keep an eye when they play tonight at Power Balance Pavilion.

1. How will the Kings respond to another tough defense? The Kings' offense broke down Tuesday night when the Trail Blazers applied pressure. Admittedly, players are still absorbing the new offensive system. The Bulls present another hard-working team that is one of the NBA's best on the defensive end.

2. Bench production. Jason Thompson, J.J. Hickson and Jimmer Fredette all scored in double figures off the bench against the Trail Blazers. Depth is considered one of this team's strengths, and with coach Paul Westphal hoping to take advantage of that depth this season to manage his players' minutes, bench players will have to contribute.

December 27, 2011
Kings look to move past Monday's win

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Kings had less than 24 hours to enjoy their victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tonight's game doesn't figure to be easy. The Portland Trail Blazers have a team that figures to give the Kings problems with its frontcourt trio.

Gerald Wallace tallied 21 points and nine rebounds in Portland's win Monday over Philadelphia. LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and seven rebounds while Marcus Camby grabbed 13 rebounds.

Perhaps the compacted schedule will make it easier for teams not to dwell on wins this season.

"Well I hope it's easier," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We don't know yet. This league is always about forgetting the last game, whether it's a great game or a terrible game."

What Westphal hopes carries over tonight is the energy the Kings played with on both ends of the floor.

"I thought last night the offense and defense were both very good for this stage of the season," Westphal said.

December 27, 2011
Kings-Blazers: Five things to watch

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Kings look to open the season 2-0 tonight after Monday night's win at Power Balance Pavilion over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Here are five things for the Kings to watch for against the Portland Trail Blazers:

December 26, 2011
Season-opener will give Westphal a sense of Kings' progression

The 2011-12 season about an hour away, Kings coach Paul Westphal sat back in a courtside seat, watching warm-ups and sipping a cup of coffee. Westphal was the picture of calm -- rushed training camp and the promise of an emotional, energetic night inside Power Balance Pavilion notwithstanding.

The Kings will have the starting five they envisioned early in training camp, with Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons on the perimeter and DeMarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes in the frontcourt.

That seemed improbable a week ago. Consider the situation Hayes went through and the fact that every other starter missed at least one practice during the condensed camp.

December 26, 2011
Kings-Lakers: Five things to watch

The Kings' season tips off in a few hours. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

1. Can the Kings take advantage of Andrew Bynum's absence?
The Lakers center will be serving the second game of his four-game suspension for clotheslining J.J. Barea in the playoffs last year. Pau Gasol slides over to center, alongside Josh McRoberts, making for a less imposing frontcourt than when the 7-foot Bynum is on the floor. It's an opportunity for the Kings to attack the rim, and for DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings' frontcourt to be active on the glass. Cousins needs to make good decisions with the ball and stay out of foul trouble against Gasol.

December 26, 2011
Wespthal: Lakers present different challenge without Bynum

Kings coach Paul Westphal discusses preparing for the Lakers.

Did being able to watch the Los Angeles Lakers play their season opener on Sunday give the Kings a leg up in preparing for tonight's game at Power Balance Pavilion? Not much, coach Paul Westphal said.

"We still have to defend people, not systems," Westphal said after the Kings' shootaround this morning. "They present a couple real big problems and they've got a lot of good really good three-point shooters to protect (Kobe) Bryant and (Pau) Gasol, and it'll be a huge challenge for our whole team."

One big problem that the Lakers normally present will be sidelined tonight - center Andrew Bynum is serving the second game of a four-game suspension. While that's a loss for Los Angeles in terms of inside presence, Westphal argued the Lakers gain something as well with Bynum out.

"They certainly lose size, an inside player who can go for big numbers both on the boards and scoring," Westphal said. "It makes it tougher to defend when you have two great post players as well as three-point shooting all around them and Kobe Bryant on top of that.

"When Bynum's not there, I think it makes them able to spread the floor better because they've got players who can knock down threes and sometimes some of our bigs aren't used to covering out there. It gives them a different look."

December 20, 2011
Westphal: Outlaw will play tonight against Warriors

Forward Travis Outlaw, who was acquired by the Kings on Saturday and practiced with the team for the first time on Monday, will play about 15 to 20 minutes in tonight's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors, head coach Paul Westphal said.

"When he's out there, we'll probably go darn near microscopic," Westphal said. That will mean playing guards Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette along with Outlaw at the big forward spot, Jason Thompson, and either Marcus Thornton or Tyreke Evans.

"At least we plan on it for a while," Westphal said. "Spread the floor and see if we can drop a couple threes on them."

The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion.

-- Matt Kawahara

December 17, 2011
Kings claim Travis Outlaw

OAKLAND - The Sacramento Kings put in a winning bid for forward Travis Outlaw, who was waived by the New Jersey Nets via the amnesty clause.

Outlaw (6-9, 207) signed with New Jersey last season to a five-year, $35 million deal. The Kings did not disclose what the winning bid was for Outlaw.

The move was announced before tonight's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors.

*DeMarcus Cousins is not playing tonight to rest his sprained right ankle. John Salmons (right quad contusion) did not make the trip. Chuck Hayes is undergoing more tests on his heart today and is not with the team.

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