LOS ANGELES If the Kings are struggling on defense, more times than not, coach Keith Smart will look at their turnovers to find the source of the problem.
Smart has been pleased with the Kings' halfcourt defense most of the season. But entering Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, five of the last six opponents shot at least 48 percent.
Smart said the shooting numbers were aided by Kings turnovers in many of those games.
"When you turn the ball over, you're going to give up those extra points off transition that you can't defend," Smart said. "So a lot of things happened because we had high turnover numbers, we put them in the open court, and we couldn't defend that."
The Kings have allowed at least 14 points off turnovers in each of their previous six games.
"Turnovers are going to happen. You've just got to try and slow it down," Smart said.
Specifically, Smart doesn't want turnovers near halfcourt.
"You can't turn the ball over at the top of the floor because you have no chance of recovering," Smart said. "Those turnovers turn into points more times than not."
Backup switch With the Kings down two guards because of injuries (Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia), second-year guard Jimmer Fredette has played more shooting guard lately.
Fredette also played more shooting guard when Marcus Thornton was out four games for personal reasons.
Smart said playing Fredette off the ball allows him to be more of a scorer and doesn't allow defenses to set up to slow him down.
"Any time we play a team, if he handles the basketball, they're going to pick him up full court and pressure him," Smart said. "They're going to make sure on any random or called pick-and-rolls they're going to trap him."
Fredette playing off the ball also allows Isaiah Thomas to run the second unit. Smart prefers to keep multiple ball handlers on the floor with Fredette to allow him to be a scorer.
"Having a third guy, a ball handler like John Salmons, I think that helps a whole lot," Smart said.
Three-point winner Lifetime Kings fan Benjamin Bringhurst picked up a new car while on leave from the military for the holidays.
Bringhurst won a 12-month lease on a 2013 C-Class Mercedes from the Von Housen Automotive Group playing the Mercedes 3-Point Star Contest during the Kings' game against the Warriors on Wednesday.