Kings notes: Goal of better defense still out of reach

Published: Monday, Apr. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Monday, Apr. 15, 2013 - 7:13 am

HOUSTON – The Kings' focus to start this season was to improve on defense.

That's still a work in progress. They entered Sunday's game against the Houston Rockets allowing opponents to shoot 47.1 percent, tied for third-highest in the NBA.

And that percentage didn't improve after the Rockets shot 54.2 percent in a 121-100 victory.

So although the Kings began the night leading the NBA in scoring since the All-Star break with 107.5 points per game, their defense still lags.

"If you take away the transition (makes), the turnovers that led to baskets and we're defending in the halfcourt, we're holding teams to 43 percent," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "If we get a team in the halfcourt, we haven't been bad there. But when you turn the ball over and get a chance where you can't defend the transition game, that's going to shoot your numbers up."

Smart said the improved offense is something to build on, but defense should not be neglected.

In order to play well with an up-tempo style, Smart said holding opponents to low shooting percentages and creating turnovers are important.

"We still want to try and correct the other side of the basketball, but until you can get a dominant defensive rebounder and then a shot blocker in the paint, you'll still struggle from the defensive side," Smart said. "I think the positive side is we started moving the ball, the assist totals went up, and our turnovers started going down a little bit. All those are positives moving forward."

Familiar faces – After not playing against the Kings in Sacramento on April 3, two former Kings finally played against their old team.

Rookie forward Thomas Robinson and guard Aaron Brooks checked in during the fourth quarter Sunday. Robinson was traded to the Rockets in February, and Brooks had his contract bought out and was waived last month.

Robinson had two points, two rebounds and two assists. Brooks missed his only shot.

After visiting Kings practice Saturday, Houston's Francisco Garcia stopped by to see some of his former Sacramento teammates after the game.

Garcia also came to the Rockets in the February trade and has played a key role with Chandler Parsons missing time lately because of injuries. Garcia had two points and a rebound Sunday.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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