Francisco Garcia He scored 17 points in 26 minutes in Monday's win over Washington.

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Even-keel Garcia as able as he is willing, ready

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 - 5:27 pm

BOSTON – Francisco Garcia's demeanor never seems to change. It doesn't matter if he starts a game, plays little or not at all, Garcia takes the same approach every night.

That's why in a pinch the Kings continue to lean on Garcia, the longest-tenured King.

John Salmons sick? No problem. Garcia stepped in Monday in Washington and scored 17 points – 15 in the second quarter – to help the Kings beat the Wizards 96-94.

It was the most points and minutes (26) for Garcia since a Jan. 10 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. In that game, Garcia played nearly 33 minutes and scored 13 points.

Coach Keith Smart said Garcia is one of his reliable veterans, one of his "pros that keep themselves ready."

When Garcia isn't playing, you won't find him sulking on the bench. Even as his playing time fluctuates, Garcia's routine hasn't changed.

He is still likely to be found after practice putting up shots as if he's fine tuning his game because he's in the starting lineup.

Garcia made four of his six three-point attempts against the Wizards. It's a shot the Kings want him to shoot to force opponents to defend him and create more space on the floor.

Garcia didn't hesitate to shoot Monday.

"I was just trying to be aggressive," Garcia said. "Coach has been talking to me, telling me to be aggressive. In shootaround and in practice, I make a lot of shots, so just go out there and shoot the ball."

Garcia doesn't always have a chance to shoot.

Garcia has been a healthy scratch 11 times this season. He's averaging just 17.5 minutes. When he wasn't scoring, he was doing so many little things his coaches see to help the Kings win.

Garcia also started 13 games when Tyreke Evans was out with a knee injury. The Kings are 5-8 in games started by Garcia. When the Kings were 6-3 from late December and into January, Garcia was starting for Evans.

"We had a good stretch when we were winning some games and playing very well defensively. Francisco Garcia was one of the big reasons for that," Smart said. "He was in the lineup, we had a couple of guys out with injuries and sickness as well. I thought that he was glue."

After Monday's game, Garcia wasn't too high about his play. He stressed the Kings needed to play team ball and have one other's backs on defense.

"I went out there and a lot of things opened up for me, and I just made some shots," Garcia said.

Waiting for news – The NBA will announce today the pool of players eligible to be selected for the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

The game, which features the best first- and second-year players, will be played Feb. 15.

Second-year guards Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette and rookie forward Thomas Robinson are the Kings with the best chance of being selected, with Thomas the most likely. Fredette said he would like to be in the three-point shooting contest during All-Star Weekend but had not heard from the league.

Fredette entered Tuesday 12th in the NBA, shooting 42.3 percent from three-point range.

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