Kings coach Keith Smart plans to experiment with his lineups in the preseason. But he went with a familiar group for Sacramento's preseason opener Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion against the Phoenix Suns.
The Kings started Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton at guard with a frontcourt of Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.
That lineup started 18 games last season and would have finished the season as the starting unit if not for an injury to Thornton that cost him eight games in the final month of the season.
Smart said not to read too much into who started Wednesday.
"I've got about 14 (starting lineups) right now," Smart said. "It's like Sudoku when I look down at that board. But I want to see certain guys play tonight. Like I told the players at shootaround, don't buy into what lineup you see out there. I'm going to put guys on the floor; next game I might start someone else."
Smart mixed lineups a lot during training camp practices last week in Colorado Springs, Colo.
That was only the beginning of the experimenting.
"I'm trying to find out which guys can play well together," Smart said.
The coach used 11 players in the first half. That figures to be a theme during the preseason, with the Kings trying to integrate newcomers Aaron Brooks, James Johnson and rookie Thomas Robinson into the mix.
"We won't get close to locking into a lineup until we get deeper into the preseason," Smart said. .
Rockets reunion The game included three players from the Houston Rockets team that won 22 consecutive games during the 2007-08 season.
That is the second-longest streak in NBA history, trailing the 33 consecutive games won by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooks, Chuck Hayes and Phoenix forward Luis Scola played on that team. So did Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson.
Suns assistant coach Elston Turner was an assistant on Rick Adelman's staff that season.
Kings injury report Forward Tyler Honeycutt (right fibula stress fracture) was the only King unavailable for the game. He isn't expected back before the start of the regular season.
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