After the Kings lost a physical game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, Tyreke Evans was reminded that the teams would meet again in two days.
The Kings guard flashed a grin.
"It's going to be intense," he said of tonight's game at Staples Center. He then glanced in the direction of center DeMarcus Cousins one locker over and offered: "Might be some people coming back with bruises."
The Kings' 93-85 loss Thursday, of course, was a particularly physical game in which Cousins got tangled up several times with Los Angeles power forward Blake Griffin.
Nor did Cousins relent after the game, dubbing Griffin "an actor" when told his counterpart preferred to leave their differences on the court.
Cousins also called attention to the distribution of calls made by officials after he fouled out for the sixth time this season.
On Friday, Cousins was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing officials.
The Kings attempted only 15 free throws, one fewer than Cousins in his 41-point game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. They didn't get to the line in the fourth quarter until Evans made two free throws with 18 seconds left.
Playing through contact, though whistled or not is something the Kings need to get used to, said coach Keith Smart.
Smart said he does not call fouls during practices, and added the fact he won't allow fouls to be called. That's because when the Kings find themselves playing a physical team like the Clippers, Smart said, "We've got to forget about calls."
"I'm trying to set them up for a game setting, to play through and focus on the finish," Smart said. "Forget about the foul. You won't get calls against certain people, certain teams. Why I don't know, but focus on the finish first."
Smart said he expected to find "15 or 20 unfinished plays" on offense by the Kings when he looked back at Thursday's game film. The Kings outscored the Clippers in the paint 44-34, but missed 18 of 40 shots in that area.
Smart said the Kings went into Thursday's game knowing that they had to be strong with the ball when driving into the paint because the Clippers have players who are "going to rake at the basketball."
"When you think you have your man beat, right at the last moment they come in," he said. "They're physical, they play physical."
The scouting report will apply again tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. And they will have fresh in their minds the 12 steals recorded by the Clippers on Thursday, including five by point guard Chris Paul.
"They've got some crafty guys that play defense, especially Chris Paul," Evans said. "We've just got to be better in the paint when we get down there."
As for the forcible tenor of Thursday's game, forward Jason Thompson said he expects some of it to carry over into tonight as well.
The Kings wrap up their only home-and-home set of the season and will try to avoid being swept by the Clippers in their three-game series.
"It's part of the game," Thompson said. "As long as any blood is not shed, then everything should be good."