The quest to fix the Kings’ defense led to one change in the starting lineup.
Quincy Acy started at power forward Friday night when the Kings hosted the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena. It was Acy’s eighth start of the season.
The Kings had been using two centers – DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein – in the starting lineup. Cauley-Stein came off the bench Friday.
Acy started the second half of the Kings’ last game before the All-Star break, helping the Kings rally to win at Philadelphia on Feb. 10.
When Kings general manager Vlade Divac met with coach George Karl before to the All-Star break, they discussed ways to improve the team’s defense, which included addressing the overall lack of energy.
Acy is one of the Kings’ more energetic defenders. Even in limited playing time, Acy usually makes an impression. He’s led the Kings in rebounding twice this season, even though he plays sparingly.
As for energy, the same can be said for Cauley-Stein, but Acy, who is in his fourth season, brings more experience. And when there have been defensive breakdowns, Karl has had to take the rookie out of games and go with more experience on the court.
Perhaps Acy has already made an impact.
The Kings had given up at least 30 points in the first quarter in nine consecutive games and trailed after the first in each of those games.
The Kings allowed only 24 points to Denver on Friday with Acy starting and led 31-24 after the first.
The Kings held Philadelphia to fewer than 30 points in both quarters in the second half after Acy started the third quarter.
That’s a feat for the Kings, who entered Friday allowing a league-high 109.1 points per game.
Pulling teeth – The Kings were without two key players after they recently visited the dentist.
Omri Casspi was out because of a wisdom tooth extraction. Marco Belinelli was also out with a tooth extraction.
Belinelli had been starting at shooting guard before the All-Star break. Ben McLemore started at shooting guard Friday, returning from a sprained right wrist that kept him out for three games leading into the break.
Twist on retros – The Kings have worn their retro jerseys on Friday nights all season. What made this Friday night different was the team used a retro court, using the logo and colors that match the jersey from 1985.