Toney Douglas

Kings notes: Douglas provides much-needed defense

Published: Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 - 4:57 pm

It didn't take long for point guard Toney Douglas to stand out among his new teammates.

He didn't play in his first game with the Kings on Feb. 24 at New Orleans. But Douglas, acquired four days earlier from the Houston Rockets, was on the sideline talking to teammates and discussing strategy.

The same went for film sessions, during which Douglas wasn't shy about asking questions.

Douglas' impact in a game wasn't felt until Wednesday, when he had 10 points and six assists in 28 minutes in an 87-83 loss at Golden State.

But the main reason coach Keith Smart turned to Douglas was for defense.

Douglas played the entire fourth quarter, partly because of his ability to harass Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who made just 3 of 11 shots and finished with 13 points and eight assists.

"When I'm out on the court, I try to set the tone, first of all," Douglas said. "That's what gets me going. I like to pressure the ball."

The Kings have been unable or unwilling to pressure the ball much this season, allowing a league-worst 104.9 points per game. Their opponents have shot 47.1 percent, second-highest in the NBA.

When the season began, the Kings put a priority on defense. But that has fallen by the wayside, which made holding the Warriors to 87 points surprising.

The Kings had hoped point guard Aaron Brooks would provide a defensive spark, but he fell out of the rotation and was waived last week.

Douglas said defensive intensity begins at point guard but that it's impossible to infuse a player with the tenacity to defend.

"That's something you've got to have in you; it's something you can't coach," Douglas said. "Either you want to be physical, have mental toughness, or you're going to be soft."

Fitting in – Recently acquired Patrick Patterson also had a big role Wednesday.

He played 28 minutes against the Warriors and had 15 points and eight rebounds.

"Since Day One, I've been comfortable here," Patterson said. "It's all about getting a feel. Offense is the toughest transition – having to learn the offense and the system and where you're going to fit in.

"On defense, it's more about the basic stuff, and I'm thankful that the calls are similar to what I had in Houston. The transition offensively has been tough, but it's starting to smooth out and get better."

Bad streak against Suns – The Kings have lost their last five games against tonight's opponent, the Phoenix Suns.

The Kings had opportunities to win both games this season.

They blew a 19-point lead in the first half before losing 101-90 at Phoenix on Dec. 17.

The Kings led 82-76 with 10:47 to play on Jan. 23 before the Suns went on a 20-3 run en route to a 106-96 victory at Sleep Train Arena.

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