Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

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NBA training camps open Friday and I'm writing a story looking at five questions the Kings must answer in training camp before the season starts.

So I want to know what are five questions you have about the Kings entering training camp?

Feel free to use the comments section below to answer or reply to me on Twitter.

The Kings announced the addition of Jim Todd to coach Paul Westphal's staff.

Todd joins Jim Eyen, Keith Smart and Bobby Jackson on staff.

Todd last coached in the NBA in Atlanta from 2008-10. Todd coached in China last season and was as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Men's Basketball team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship Games in Turkey.

What do you want to know about the Sacramento Kings 2011-12 season? Here's your chance to ask assistant coach Bobby Jackson -- and get the inside story.

Jackson joins Bee Kings writer Jason Jones for a live chat at 10 a.m. Wednesday right here on the Kings Blog.

Ask about the season schedule announced today, get an update on the team or just share a comment about your favorite player. Return here to the Kings blog at 10 a.m. tomorrow. If you can't make the chat, leave your comments or questions here, and we'll share some of them in the chat.

The Kings announced the schedule for the lockout-shortened season.

The Kings open the 2011-12 season Dec. 26 against the Los Angeles Lakers, followed by a game at Portland.

*The Kings have two road trips of five games or more. There is a five-game set in January and a six-game trip in February.

*The Kings have only one of the dreaded back-to-back-to-back sets, Jan. 3-5. The Kings play at Memphis, at Denver and finish at home against Milwaukee.

*The schedule also has the Kings playing back-to-back games at home twice, including New Year's Eve (New York) and New Year's Day (New Orleans).

*The Lakers and Clippers play in Sacramento twice but the Kings only play in Los Angeles against each team once.

*The Kings have nine games on national television. One on TNT (Feb. 9 vs. Oklahoma City) and eight on NBA TV.

*The Miami Heat will not play in Sacramento this season. The Kings do not play at Boston.

The NBA will announce the entire league schedule today at 4 p.m. Some games have already been leaked via various media reports.

The Kings host the Lakers Dec. 26 to open their season, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Arizona Republic reports the Kings will play the Phoenix Suns three times. The Kings host the Suns Feb. 11 and April 3.

The Kings only visit to Phoenix is March 4.

Check here later for the Kings complete schedule and a breakdown of who visits Sacramento during the 66-game season.

Friday might not be the start of the 2011-12 season for the Sacramento Kings.

Yahoo! reports the NBA is considering pushing back the start of training camp to allow teams the opportunity have enough players after some teams complained starting Friday would not give them time to be ready.

The league is polling executives about the possibility, Yahoo! reports.

Dec. 9 is the first day teams can make trades and sign players. The Kings have only eight players under contract.

Signing their three rookies (Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas) would give the Kings have enough players play 5-on-5 and have a player to watch from the sidelines.

Agents and team officials I've spoken with wondered what time practices would have to start for rookies to practice after signing. And contracts routinely need 24 hours to be approved by the NBA.

So don't be surprised if camp begins next week.

Tyreke Evans, Hassan Whiteside and rookie Isaiah Thomas are the latest Kings to utilize the team practice facilities for workouts.

Players are allowed to use team facilities for unsupervised workouts until training camp begins. Camps are scheduled to open Dec. 9.

I'd be at the facility right now if I wasn't getting over this cold. I'm sure the fans don't want me spreading my germs to the players.

**UPDATE**

Francisco Garcia is also the facility today.

December 5, 2011
Kings to host Lakers Dec. 26

The Kings will spend the day after Christmas with the team they faced to close the 2010-11 season.

The Kings will host the Los Angeles Lakers Dec. 26 to open the season, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Times reports the game against the Kings will be the second of three games in three days for the Lakers, who open their season on Christmas hosting the Chicago Bulls.

The Lakers beat the Kings to end last season in what fans thought was the last NBA game in Sacramento.

The Kings, of course, will be in Sacramento this season while plans to build a new arena are developed.

NBA teams will be allowed to speak with players Monday, and you can bet the Kings will quickly place calls to Marcus Thornton and Samuel Dalembert.

I spoke with Thornton's agent, Tony Dutt, who said there is a good rapport between him and the Kings as it relates to Thornton and that he's had "consistently good dialogue with the Kings."

Thornton has serious interest from five teams, including the Kings, Dutt said.

Dalembert has been linked to teams over the salary cap such as Miami. The Kings have expressed their desire to re-sign Dalembert. With approximately $25 million under the salary cap, the Kings can offer Dalembert a lot more money then a team like the Miami Heat.

Also look for player workouts at the Kings facility to pick up with more players arriving in town.

The Kings want more experience on the roster. How they go about that remains to be seen.

The Kings have already reached out to their own big free agents - Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Thornton.

According to reports the Kings have reached to representatives for Houston free agent forward/center Chuck Hayes and Dallas free agent guard J.J. Barea.

Both players would be more experienced than options the Kings have for depth (Hassan Whiteside or Isaiah Thomas) which is what the Kings want.

Hayes is only 6-foot-6 but started at center in Houston and is noted as a defender. Barea is generously listed at 6-feet tall and was a star off the bench at times during the Mavericks title run.

But it's too early to read too much into merely contacting their agents. If the Kings re-sign Dalembert and Thornton, the Kings would still be in the market to make trades to upgrade the roster.

Bee sports staff

The Kings announced Thursday afternoon that they will play two preseason games against the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings will play at Oracle Arena on Saturday, Dec. 17 and host the Warriors on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Power Balance Pavilion.

The NBA recently ended its 149-day lockout with a tentative agreement on a new contract with the players. The contract still needs to be ratified by both owners and players, but teams have started to contact agents of players and opened facilities up to players.

November 30, 2011
Petrie back working the phones

The Kings have been working the phones today, reaching out to the agents for their own free agents (Marcus Thornton, Samuel Dalembert), representatives for other players and talking with teams about trade possibilities.

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie spoke with the media today about the Kings prospects in free agency. He said the team has $16-17 million to spend to reach the minimum salary level and another $8-9 million on top of that before the team would be at the salary cap.

Kings coach Paul Westphal hasn't spoken to his two young stars - Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins - since June because of the NBA lockout.

Westphal is hopeful that when he does see them, both are ready to go on the court.

"For them to take the next step to build on their talent and experience, they've got to be in the best possible shape," Westphal said.

Multiple news outlets are reporting NBA teams will be allowed to speak the agents for players beginning Wednesday at 9 a.m., a sign there is progress toward settling litigation between players and the league and training camp will open as planned on Dec. 9.

Players can begin using team facilities but cannot have workouts supervised by team coaches or training staff.

Teams will also be allowed to comment publicly on free agency and the prospects for the coming season.

Marcus Thornton is "relieved."

DeMarcus Cousins "can't wait to get started."

The excitement the Kings ended the season with is a lot closer being carried over into the next season now that the league and players have reached a tentative agreement the NBA lockout that has lasted nearly five months.

Turns out many players learned of the news like most of us, watching television or Twitter.

Either that or they were asleep when the news broke.

Thornton said he woke up this morning to dozens of missed calls and text messages which initially had him worried there was bad news someone was trying to alert him to.

Thornton was relieved to see the messages were positive news about the labor situation.

"I still can't believe it," Thornton said.

Cousins was home in Alabama when he received a message from a friend in Lexington, Kentucky to turn on ESPN in the early morning hours. That was followed by checking Twitter where the NBA lockout ending had become a trending topic.

Cousins is now looking forward to the season.

"This team has a lot of talent this year," he said.

The NBA and players have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor deal that will allow for the 2011-12 NBA season to start Dec. 25, the perfect Christmas day gift for NBA fans that feared the season would be lost due to labor strife.

The deal will be contingent on players reforming as a union and players ratifying the deal. Owners also have to agree to the deal.

The league and representatives for the players met Friday in New York City with the meetings lasting for 15 hours.

More to come online tomorrow and for Sunday's editions of The Bee.

It's been a busy day for me (covering the Raiders and all) so I'm just now posting about Tyreke Evans agreeing to play in Italy.

Evans has agreed to a deal with Virtus Roma and has until Wednesday to decide if he will indeed sign with the team.

Evans' deal would be month-to-month.

If there is an agreement to end the lockout before Wednesday, expect Evans not to sign with Virtus Roma. If there isn't, Evans will spend Christmas in Italy.

I was unable to reach Evans but spoke with his brother, Julius, who would travel to Italy with Tyreke.

DAVIS - Spencer Hawes has been a visible presence during negotiations between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (or whatever it's called these days).

The former Kings center who was traded to Philadelphia before the 2010 NBA Draft isn't the 76ers player rep (that's Jason Kapono) but that hasn't stopped Hawes from being proactive in knowing the issues and attending meetings.

November 14, 2011
Still waiting on an NBA season

The Kings figured to be an improved team this season.

How improved is something we might not find out.

The National Basketball Players Association said no to the NBA's latest ultimatum in collective bargaining and decided to dissolve and take the league to court in the form of an antitrust lawsuit to deal with the NBA lockout by owners.

Just got off the phone with Donte' Greene who is getting ready for the 2011 Goon Squad Classic at UC Davis Pavilion.

With the NBA locked out players have hosted several exhibition games around the country to give the fans some basketball to watch and raise funds for charity.

The idea that began on Twitter is now reality.

"I just kind of ran with it," Greene said. "Just making phone calls. I've played in a lot of games this summer and I've had a chance to run into a lot of NBA players."

Greene said another game in Houston has already cost him Chandler Parsons and Jonny Flynn, but several Kings are slated to play.

Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Hassan Whiteside along with draft picks Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas.

Washington guard John Wall is due in town for the game along with New Orleans' Quincy Pondexter and former King Spencer Hawes.

The biggest name - Kevin Durant - is still slated to play barring a change in schedule, Greene said.

Tickets go on sale Thursday with proceeds benefiting several local charities.

The NBA announced games through Nov. 14 have been cancelled after the league and the National Basketball Players Association failed to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players' union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

The cancellations will cost the Kings eight games:

Nov. 2 vs. Houston
Nov. 4 at Golden State
Nov. 5 vs. New Orleans
Nov. 7 vs. L.A. Lakers
Nov. 9 vs. Cleveland
Nov. 11 at Minnesota
Nov. 12 at Chicago
Nov. 14 at Memphis

Refunds plus interest are available for all NBA season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.

Below is the from a letter from Kings president of basketball operations, Matina Kolokotronis, regarding the latest NBA labor news.

A-Letter-From-The-Kings-President-Training-Camp-Preseason.pdf

The NBA announced training camps, set to open Oct. 3, have been postponed indefinitely due to the league failing to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Players Association.

That would leave the Kings with four preseason games, the first being Oct. 19 against Golden State.

The Kings were scheduled to open the preseason Oct. 11 against San Antonio followed by a visit to Dallas Oct. 14 and an Oct. 15 game at San Antonio.

"We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. "We will make further decisions as warranted."

September 23, 2011
More from Jimmer's All-Stars

PROVO, Utah - Kings draft choice Isaiah Thomas summed up his feelings about the impending news NBA training camps will be postponed and preseason games canceled with no end to the NBA lockout imminent.

"It's going to suck," Thomas said.

That's how the rest of the rookies playing in Jimmer's All-Stars exhibiton game Thursday night at Marriott Center probably feel.

Same goes for anyone that is a fan of the NBA.

At least for one night, there were some games featuring NBA talent in front of a good crowd.

September 22, 2011
Utah loves Isaiah

PROVO, Utah -- Kawhi Leonard's team leads Jimmer Fredette's team, 72-54 at halftime of Jimmer's All-Stars exhibition game.

Milwaukee draft pick Tobias Harris and Leonard (San Antonio) each have 16 points to lead Team Leonard. Fredette leads his team with 13 points.

But the player that might be the second-most popular at Marriott Center is Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas thrilled the crowd in the first quarter when he bounced the ball on a fastbreak, caught it and followed with a two-handed dunk.

Later would come a "We want Thomas" cheer from the crowd.

Thomas responded when he returned to the floor. He drilled two three pointers in the second quarter and playfully engaged the crowd.

Thomas will definitely be fun to watch whenever the NBA lockout ends.

PROVO, Utah -- We're about 40 minutes from tip-off from Jimmer's All-Stars exhibition game at Marriott Center. This will be the closest I get to NBA action anytime soon with Yahoo Sports reporting the NBA is set to delay the start of training camp and the preseason for two weeks.

Training camps were set to open Oct. 3.

That news would seem to be a formality as no one I've spoken too since the lockout began expected the training camp or the NBA season to start on time.

September 21, 2011
Prepping for Jimmer's All-Stars

PROVO, UT -- I'll finally see all three of the Kings rookies play for the first time after the draft tomorrow night when Jimmer Fredette hosts Jimmer's All-Stars, featuring a collection of rookies.

Here are the rosters while I wait for the press conference to begin:

Team Fredette

Jimmer Fredette (Kings, BYU)
Kenneth Faried (first-round pick, Denver Nuggets, Morehead State)
Chris Singleton (first-round pick, Washington Wizards, Florida State)
Nolan Smith (first-round pick,Portland Trail Blazers, Duke)
Tyler Honeycutt (second-round pick, Kings, UCLA)
Jackson Emery (undrafted, BYU)
Chris Wright (undrafted, Dayton)
Charles Jenkins (second-round pick, Golden State Warriors, Hofstra)
Coach: Dave Rose, BYU

Team Leonard

Kawhi Leonard (first-round pick, San Antonio Spurs, San Diego State)
Kemba Walker (first-round pick, Charlotte Bobcats, Connecticut)
Bismack Biyombo (first-round pick, Charlotte Bobcats, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Tobias Harris (first-round pick, Milwaukee Bucks, Tennessee)
Malcolm Lee (second-round pick, Minnesota Timberwolves, UCLA)
Vernon Macklin (second-round, Detroit Pistons, Florida)
Isaiah Thomas (second-round pick, Kings, Washington)
Jake Kelly (undrafted, Indiana State)
Coach: Steve Fisher, San Diego State

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter gave more reason to enjoy the football season when he said "If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no" when asked about there being a 2011-12 NBA season.

I'd already resigned myself to the fact I wouldn't watch NBA games before January based on conversations I'd had with various folks around the league before the NBA locked out its players.

No one on either side seemed optimistic of anything more than a 50-game season. I'd still bet on that happening before the season is cancelled. Then again, when it comes to the NBA lockout, I'm treating it like the NBA Draft. I won't believe anything until it happens.

Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette was named as a defendant in the NBA's unfair labor practices suit against the National Basketball Players Association.

Fredette is one of two rookies named in the suit, along with Charles Jenkins, a second-round pick of the Golden State Warriors.

Both were named in the suit because they are from New York, where the suit was filed.

Adding the rookies covers having an unsigned player that would receive a guaranteed deal (Fredette) and another that wouldn't (Jenkins). Others named included Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire (who is under contract) and Mike Dunleavy, a free agent, along with the leadership of the NBPA.

In the big scheme of things, this won't mean much. Nevertheless, Fredette is keeping the Kings in the news, even during the NBA lockout.

My apologies for not this not posting earlier. Here's how the NBA Players Association responded to the NBA's legal actions:

"The litigation tactics of the NBA today are just another example of their bad faith bargaining and we will seek the complete dismissal of the actions as they are totally without merit. The NBA Players Association has not made any decision to disclaim its role as the collective bargaining representative of the players and has been engaged in good faith bargaining with the NBA for over two years. We urge the NBA to engage with us at the bargaining table and to use more productively the short time we have left before the 2011-12 season is seriously jeopardized."

Here is your latest sign the NBA labor situation will not be getting better anytime soon.

The NBA has filed two claims against the National Basketball Players Association. Those claims are an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board, and a lawsuit in federal district court in New York.

According to a press release from the NBA here are the issues:

The unfair labor practice charge asserts that the Players Association has failed to bargain in good faith by virtue of its unlawful threats to commence a sham "decertification" and an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA's lockout. The federal lawsuit seeks to establish, among other things, that the NBA's lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws and that if the Players Association's "decertification" were found to be lawful, all existing player contracts would become void and unenforceable.

"These claims were filed in an effort to eliminate the use of impermissible pressure tactics by the union which are impeding the parties' ability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement," said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver. "For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith."


If the NBA season were to start on time, the Kings would open the season at home against the Houston Rockets. The Kings have opened the season on the road the previous seven seasons.

The Kings schedule./ has two five-game road trips and one six-game road trip. There's also an eight-game homestand.

Four of the Kings first five games would be at home. The lone road game is Nov. 4 at Golden State. The Kings don't have a game scheduled outside of California until Nov. 11 at Minnesota to start a three-game road trip.

It's the kind of schedule the Kings have wanted to start the season for a while, but labor issues will likely prevent this from happening.

The Kings first nationally-televised game would be Nov. 14 at Memphis on NBA TV. The Kings would have six nationally-televised games, five of them on NBA TV. The Kings are slated to host Oklahoma City Feb. 9 on TNT.

All of this is contingent on the season starting on time. NBA owners have locked out players until a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached.

The last time the owner locked out players in 1998, the season didn't begin until 1999 and the season was reduced to 50 games.

Here are some facts about the Kings' schedule, courtesy of the Kings PR department:

By month, the schedule breaks down as follows: November (9 home, 7 away = 16 total), December (7 home, 8 away = 15 total), January (6 home, 9 away = 15 total), February (5 home, 6 away = 11 total), March (10 home, 5 away = 15 total), April (4 home, 6 away = 10 total).

By day, the schedule breaks down as follows: Monday (5 home, 9 away = 14 total), Tuesday (2 home, 4 away = 6 total), Wednesday (14 home, 6 away = 20 total), Thursday (3 home, 0 away = 3 total), Friday (6 home, 11 away = 17 total), Saturday (4 home, 8 away = 12 total), Sunday (7 home, 3 away = 10 total).

The Kings' longest homestand is eight games versus New Orelans (Wednesday, March 7th), Atlanta (Friday, March 9th), Dallas (Sunday, March 11th), Detroit (Wednesday, March 14th), Boston (Friday, March 16th), Minnesota (Sunday, March 18th), Memphis (Sunday, March 20th) and Utah (Thursday, March 22nd) at Power Balance Pavilion.

Sacramento embarks on six road trips of three or more games in length. The longest is a six-game journey with stops in Milwaukee (Monday, February 13th), New Jersey (Wednesday, February 15th), Detroit (Friday, February 17th), Cleveland (Sunday, February 19th), Indiana (Tuesday, February 21st) and Atlanta (Wednesday, February 22nd).

Of the 15 sets of back-to-back games, 10 are of the away-away variety, one is away-home and four are of the home-away category. There are no home-home back-to-backs slated for the 2011-12 campaign.

The Kings will host four Sunday games with a start time of 3 pm versus Charlotte (November 27th), Orlando (January 8th), Minnesota (March 18th) and Portland (April 15th).

Sacramento's 41-game home schedule features 15 weekend contests at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Kings handed the Toronto Raptors a 111-108 defeat in last season's home opener at ARCO Arena. This season marks only the third time Sacramento has faced the Houston Rockets in their home opener. The Kings suffered 93-77 loss to the Rockets in Sacramento's 1997-98 home opener.

Sacramento recorded a 117-116 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in last year's road opener at the Target Center. This season marks only the second time the Kings have played the Golden State Warriors in their road opener. Sacramento lost a 153-91 contest against the Warriors in their 1991-92 road opener.

The Kings have opened the season on the road in each of the past seven campaigns, playing three or more games.

Sacramento will play the San Antonio Spurs in the 2011-12 season finale, marking the first-such meeting in franchise history.

The Kings will play on two national holidays (both on the road) when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Veteran's Day (Friday, November 11th) and New York Knicks on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 16th).

LOS ANGELES - Tyreke Evans will get a taste of basketball against overseas competition this week - but he'll have plenty of help.

Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose are among the players scheduled to join Evans and a cast of NBA players for two exhibition games in the Philippines.

The Los Angeles Times reported Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, JaVale McGee and Derek Fisher are among the players also slated to play July 23-24 against the Philippine Basketball Association's All-Star team and the Smart Gilas national team at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

"I'm not sure about everybody but it's like eight players," Evans said. "It's a good look, especially a getaway to the Philippines, I've never been there. Especially playing with those guys I knew it was going to be fun."

Evans is working out in Los Angeles this summer with the likes of Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Atlanta's Al Horford in preparation for next season.

LOS ANGELES -- Pooh Jeter seems incapable of being bitter.

There was plenty of speculation before last month's NBA Draft the Kings would draft a point guard. That was before the team dealt point guard Beno Udrih to Milwaukee.

After that draft-day trade, the Kings would select two guards - BYU's Jimmer Fredette and Washington's Isaiah Thomas - the latter selection cementing the fact the Kings would not pick up Jeter's option for next season.

That coupled with the impending NBA lockout meant Jeter would likely end up playing overseas again - and he's fine with that.

Jeter said when the "lil homie Isaiah" was made the 60th pick in the draft by the Kings he prepared himself to look at all is options.

"Hey, I'm going to congratulate him," Jeter said. "I'm going to see Isaiah next week and I'm going to definitely congratulate him when I see him in Seattle and continue to give advice. I'm just happy for the opportunity. Me doing summer league for five years and I got the opportunity and that's great for me."

Jeter, 27, finished his rookie season with the Kings averaging 4.1 points and 2.6 assists.

He'd signed a two-year contract last year, with the Kings holding the option for the second season.

The Kings didn't pick up the option so Jeter is a free agent and considering overseas options.

"With the lockout it has to be Europe," Jeter said. "I'm hearing from a lot of European teams and they're talking good so hopefully I'll decide something by next week maybe and definitely try to get the NBA-out clause and all that. But if I've got to be over there for a year, I've got to be over there a year. And I'll just have to come back continue to do what I do."

Jeter certainly didn't embarrass himself in appearing in 62 games. He said playing the NBA allowed him strengthen friendships and make new friends.

Jeter wished his playing time could have been more consistent, but still doesn't leave Sacramento feeling bitter.

"I told (Kings basketball president) Geoff Petrie thanks for the opportunity," Jeter said. "And I knew if it weren't for the lockout there would be more opportunities in the league for me because teams were interested. I've just got to ride with it. I have no control over it."

It's still pretty nice to be Jimmer Fredette.

Fredette is in Los Angeles for the ESPYs and Thursday he'll be at the American Century Championship Conference where the rookie will take part in the celebrity tournament in Lake Tahoe.

With no Summer League to take up his time, Fredette will be on the same course as NBA legends (Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley), Super Bowl winners (Aaron Rodgers, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice) along the likes of Dan Quayle, NFL coaches Todd Haley and Ken Whisenhunt, Dale Jarrett, Deron Williams, Tim Tebow, Tom Glavine and Andy Pettitte.

June 30, 2011
Let the lockout begin

The NBA lockout has officially started. This summer of optimism for Kings fans been put on hold for now. All that money under the salary cap can't be spent until there's a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the league and the National Basketball Player's Association.

The speculation about the Kings adding one of the premier big men (Marc Gasol, Nene) or re-signing Samuel Dalembert will remain barbershop chatter for now.

The Kings made their first move to clear their glut of small forwards, sending Omri Casspi to Cleveland along with a conditional first-round pick in exchange for power forward J.J. Hickson.

The first-round pick is lottery protected for 2012.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to acquire J.J. Hickson from the Cavaliers," said Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie in a statement. "We believe he'll continue to fortify our frontline going forward. He's an improving young player who is just 22 years old. We believe J.J. will be an important complement to our frontcourt and overall roster as well. We also wish Omri the best and hope he continues on to have a successful career with the Cavaliers."

Casspi said late last season he'd like to be traded after he fell out the rotation behind Francisco Garcia and Donte Greene. The Kings traded for John Salmons to play small forward and also drafted another small forward, Tyler Honeycutt, in the second-round of last week's NBA Draft.

Casspi was one of the league's surprise rookies in 2009-10, getting off to a fast start and playing in the Rookie-Sophomore challenge All-Star Weekend. But his play tailed off after the All-Star break.

Concerns about Casspi's defense kept him out of the lineup late in the season. Casspi played in 71 games last season with 27 starts. Casspi averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebonds after averaging 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds as a rookie.

Hickson just finished his third season with the Cavaliers, averaging career highs of 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, though his shooting percentage dipped to 45.8 percent after being above 50 percent in his first two seasons.

Hickson was the 19th overall pick by the Cavs in the 2008 NBA Draft.

The Kings were in need of another big man. Center Samuel Dalembert is a free agent and his expected to be courted by several playoff teams. The only bigs from last season returning with any significant role were DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.

Hickson is in the last season of his rookie contract so the Kings maintain financial flexibility in the move.

The Kings had to make the move today before the current collective bargaining agreement expires at 9 p.m. PST and an NBA lockout is expected to start.

The Kings definitely took a step toward revamping the roster Thursday.

The new: John Salmons (well not so new), Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt, Isaiah Thomas

Gone: Beno Udrih

Here's a quick breakdown of what the Kings gained and lost and the reasoning behind the moves.

The Kings used the final pick of the NBA Draft (60th overall) on Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas (5-9, 185) was one of the better players in the Pac-10 the last three seasons and was an first team All-Pac 10 selection last season.

Thomas averaged 16.8 points, 6.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds for the Huskies as a junior.

The pick the Kings used on Thomas was acquired from Milwaukee last year for Jon Brockman, who also attended Washington.

The Kings drafted UCLA small forward Tyler Honeycutt with the first of their two second-round draft picks in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Honeycutt played two seasons at UCLA. He averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season.

Honeycutt was in the same pre-draft workout as Jimmer Fredette with the Kings. Fredette was the Kings first-round pick.

Also, the three-way trade involving the Kings, Milwaukee and Charlotte is official. So today, the Kings have added Fredette, Honeycutt and John Salmons, who was acquired from Milwaukee.

The Kings selected Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Fredette averaged 28.9 points as a senior at Brigham Young University and was the consensus Player of the Year.

Fredette is wearing a Bucks cap until the three-way trade involving Charlotte and Milwaukee.

Let the fun begin.

Multiple reports have the Kings involved in a three-way trade with Charlotte and Milwaukee. At least one source has confirmed the deal to me.

The Kings would reportedly end up with the 10th pick in the first round, moving back three spots. They'd also reacquire swingman John Salmons while sending Beno Udrih to the Bucks.

Stephen Jackson would end up in Milwaukee along with Shaun Livingston. Corey Maggette would be sent to Charlotte.

Charlotte would have the 7th and 9th picks in the draft. The Bucks would have the 19th pick.

If this is the case and the Kings take on another wing player in Salmons, Jimmer Fredette or Kemba Walker would be the likely target at No. 10. No Beno Udrih means the Kings would almost be forced to take another point guard.

It's been a busy day of mock drafts, stories and rumors. First off, I want to change my mock draft, every 10 minutes, but I'm going to stick with what I turned in a couple of hours ago.

Feel free to laugh at it when it posts after midnight.

But as the Kings approach Thursday's NBA Draft there are several players to consider.

Here is my guess as to who the Kings would look at if they stay at No. 7:

Kawhi Leonard
Klay Thompson
Jimmer Fredette
Kemba Walker
Jan Vesely
Alec Burks
Kemba Walker

I believe Leonard and Thompson make the most sense. Leonard would fill a need at small forward, but the Kings probably wouldn't see that addition lead to more wins immediately.

Thompson would be the player I think helps the Kings the most immediately because of his shooting. Thompson also has a good basketball IQ, is a willing passer and doesn't dominate the ball.

I still have the Kings taking Leonard in my mock draft, but Thompson wouldn't surprise me either. I still think the Kings find their veteran point guard via free agency or a trade.

For a team looking to improve sooner and not later, adding a rookie lead guard seems to go against that process, especially considering John Wall, Derrick Rose or Chris Paul isn't going to be available at seven.

Tony Parker? That doesn't seem likely, especially if it means taking on Richard Jefferson's contract.

Raymond Felton would be a good fit. But the Kings will have competition trying to get him out of Denver.

I'm told no deals are imminent for the Kings. That, of course, could change at any minute.

*In other Kings news, the team picked up the options for the 2012-13 season for Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi.

No real surprise there.

Finally caught up with Jason Thompson and chatted briefly with him about the fracture in his right big toe.

Thompson suffered the injury June 10. It will keep him in a walking boot four to six weeks.

"I was just working out and knowing me I was thinking it was soreness or something like that, just kind of playing through it and stuff," Thompson said. "Next thing I told (trainer) Pete (Youngman) - I already planned to come out here before the lockout so I could use the facilities - so it was perfect timing to come in here and get an X-ray."

Thompson was back in Sacramento June 14 and had the X-ray the following day. Thompson is in good spirits. Thompson has worked out in a pool and continued to stay in shape with the injury.

"I've just been getting treatment," Thompson said. "I've still been lifting and doing cardio and stuff like that. Pretty much doing everything so I don't pressure on it."

That Thompson was able to be diagnosed and begin treatment before the lockout that is expected to begin July 1.

And whenever the NBA season starts, Thompson believes the foot will not be a problem.

"I'd rather go through the aches and pains now and don't put too much pressure on it and when the time comes I'll be ready," Thompson said.

****
Today's pre-draft workout was the last for the Kings. It ended suddenly when Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen went down holding his right knee.

The official word after the workout was Pullen was being re-evaluated, but the way Pullen held his knee and covered his face grimacing in pain didn't offer any assurance the injury was minor.

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie also spoke about Thursday's NBA Draft. He described this year's class as wide open with several scenarios possible, including trades. Petrie said no deals were imminent.

Yahoo! Sports reported the Kings and Toronto had discussed acquiring point guard Tony Parker for a first-round pick.

But remember, this is the NBA Draft and to paraphrase the late-great comedian Bernie Mac, I don't believe it until it happens.

The Kings will hold their final pre-draft workout Tuesday with the following players:

Kevin Galloway (Sacramento High School)
Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston)
Jacob Pullen (Kansas State)
Julyan Stone (UTEP)
Xavier Rabaseda (Spain, Barcelona)
Mark Payne (U.C Davis)

All would be considerations in the second round.

Stone is intriguing as he is a 6-foot-6 point guard and not a big-time scorer. Goudelock, and Pullen were both big-time scorers in college.

Rabaseda is a small forward prospect. Payne averaged 15.5 points for the Aggies last season.

Editor's note: This story was updated June 20 to replace Cleveland State guard Norris Cole with former Sacramento High School stand out Kevin Galloway. Cole withdrew after being injured in a workout.

If the Kings add another guard, the popular belief is the Kings will do so by drafting a point guard in next Thursday's NBA Draft.

But after the Kings hosted two of the top-2 shooting guards available for a pre-draft workout - Alec Burks and Klay Thompson - whether adding a shooting guard has to be considered.

This, of course, goes against what a lot of fans want and observers believe should happen - the eventual shift of Tyreke Evans to shooting guard.

TNT and NBA.com's David Aldridge reported earlier today via his Twitter account that the NBA has officially cancelled next month's Summer League.

What does this mean for the Kings?

The only King currently on the roster that would have been a candidate to participate is Hassan Whiteside. But he's still recovering from knee surgery in March and wouldn't have been available. Whiteside is expected to be ready to get back on the court in August.

The latest player that could be a King next week was in town: San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard might be the best perimeter defender available (Florida State's Chris Singleton is also in the conversation). He's a hot commodity and said to be rising up the ranks and could be gone by time the Kings pick at seven in the first round.

If Leonard is available, I'd be shocked if he's not the pick. He's the kind of wing player the Kings have been looking for since trading Ron Artest (tough, a defender, physical).


The following is from a statement released by the Kings:

X-rays taken yesterday at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Clinic revealed that Sacramento Kings' forward Jason Thompson has a non-displaced sesamoid bone fracture in his right great toe. He will wear a walking boot for approximately four to six weeks, at which time Thompson will be re-evaluated.

Check back for more on this development.

The lineup for Saturday's pre-draft workout:

G Klay Thompson (Washington State)
G Alec Burks (Colorado),
G Ravern Johnson (Mississippi State)
F Alex Stephenson (USC)
C Greg Smith (Fresno State)
F Jamine Peterson (Providence/NBDL's New Mexico Thunderbirds)

*Thompson and Burks are arguably the two best shooting guards available. If the Kings opt for a big shooting guard in the lottery, either could be the pick.

Thompson is a great shooter while Burks has more slashing ability.

Here is the lineup for Friday's pre-draft workout:

F Kawhi Leonard (San Diego St.)
G Scotty Hopson (Tennessee)
F DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky)
G Mickey McConnell (St. Mary's)
G Kalin Lucas (Michigan State)
F Jamine Peterson (Providence/NBDL's New Mexico Thunderbirds)

*Leonard is a candidate for the Kings in the first round, assuming they don't trade out of the seventh spot. One of the best defenders available.

*McConnell was drafted in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball draft even though he hasn't played baseball since high school.

The Kings announced the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Marcus Thornton, making him a restricted free agent.

The move was expected as Thornton quickly became a part of the Kings' young nucleus after being acquired before the February trading deadline for Carl Landry and cash.

Thornton averaged 21.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 27 games with the Kings.

Under the current collective bargaining agreement the Kings had to make Thornton a qualifying offer by June 30 to retain the right of first refusal. Thornton can sign an offer sheet with another team, but unless the salary was outrageously high, the Kings would match it.

*The Kings have also waived guard Jermaine Taylor.

Taylor was acquired in a trade from Houston for a heavily protected second-round pick and cash considerations. Essentially the Kings got Taylor for nothing and have decided to move on.

Taylor averaged 7.1 points in 26 games (started eight) with Sacramento. Thornton started eight games.

Kemba Walker is right about this - it's hard not to like him. I discovered that when I spoke to Walker at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Nothing changed today following his pre-draft workout for the Kings.

That's not a bad trait to have when you're the man bringing the ball up the court and running the offense.

"When I first meet people, people just always seem to like me," Walker said.
Growing up I've always had great character and always easy for me to make friends."

That's what Walker would have to do if the Kings selected him with the seventh pick in the first round of the NBA Draft.

One of the private complaints of players last season was not getting the ball where they wanted.

That often left the fingers pointed at Tyreke Evans, who had the ball a lot. In fairness, that was a problem with a lot of players. When a team is losing, every player believes getting them the ball would help.

But Walker seems to have the kind of personality and confidence that he could work to keep everyone happy while finding his own offense.

Beno Udrih has been the best at doing that for the Kings recently, but any point guard learning behind Udrih would have to be able to do the same without having the clout of being a veteran.

That Walker is a friend of Evans would help. So would his personality that exudes confidence that would likely help everyone on the court.

Whether the Kings select Walker remains to be seen. He could be gone to a team like Toronto, leaving Jimmer Fredette as the best option if the Kings look to add another ballhandler.

The concerns about Walker are similar to those of Fredette.

Whether Walker (6-1) is big enough or can be a true facilitator in the NBA remains to be seen. Walker points out he didn't become a big scorer until last season when UConn needed that to be his role as proof he is a pure point guard.

And for the record, those that wondered if Walker was "scared" of facing off against Fredette last week, that's not the case. Walker will face Fredette in a workout in Utah Wednesday.

There more here from today's workouts, including video of parts the media isn't allowed to see.

Here is the lineup for Monday's pre-draft workout:

Kemba Walker (UConn)
Nikola Vucevic (USC)
Justin Hurtt (Tulsa)
Matthew Bryan-Amaning (Washington)
DeAngelo Casto (Washington State)
Jordan Williams (Maryland)

Walker is a candidate for the Kings at No. 7 in the first round if the Kings go point guard.

I have to imagine the Kings would be happy if Vucevic somehow slipped to them in the second round. He's a big man that scored and rebounded well for USC.

Expect a lot of prospects to be in town next week for workouts with the draft less than two weeks away.

Jimmer Fredette evokes a wide-range of responses when mentioned as a possible selection by the Kings.

Forget all the hoopla that surrounds Fredette. The real question is does Fredette fit what the Kings need?

The Kings stated needs are:

1. Another ballhander, facilitator or creator (what some would call a point guard)
2. More three point shooting
3. At least one more big man for depth.

Those don't include intangible needs like maturity, improvement and more on-court leadership.

So where does Fredette fit in?

He would certainly address the need for another three-point shooter. The Kings didn't have one player in the top-50 in three-point field goal percentage.

Fredette made 39.6 percent of his threes last season at Brigham Young. If he weren't relied on to take so many shots, I have to imagine that percentage would have been a little better.

If the Kings are to ever be able to get the most out of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins the ability to spread the floor is key.

Then comes the never-ending point guard question. Is Fredette a point guard? He says he is. Even though he averaged nearly 29 points last season, Fredette believes he cans et up teammates and use his ability to drive to the basket to create openings.

As the rotation stands now (including restricted free agent Marcus Thornton) the only players coach Paul Westphal sees as primary ballhandlers are Evans and Beno Udrih. Thornton can initiate the offense in spots. Westphal doesn't see Garcia as the point forward type.

So if Fredette proves he could run a team, he would make sense for the Kings.

Of course there is a lot to be sorted out. Will Fredette even be the best player available at No. 7? Will the Kings keep the pick? Which guard (I'm assuming Udrih) would have to be moved to allow Fredette more playing time? How much would the Kings use a three-guard lineup? Also, is Fredette's game too similar to Thornton's?

It's all fun and speculation for now. But on the surface, there are reasons Fredette would fit in Sacramento.

There will be no Kemba Walker at Thursday's pre-draft workout, but the lineup still has some names to watch.

The big name is BYU guard Jimmer Fredette. He'll be joined by potential first-round picks - Tennessee forward Tobias Harris and UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt. They will be joined by South Carolina forward Sam Muldrow, Kentucky center Josh Harrellson and UTEP guard Randy Culpepper.

Fredette (6-2) is a candidate for the Kings with their first-round pick at No. 7. The prolific scorer is the kind of shooting threat the Kings are looking to add.

But don't look at Harris and Honeycutt as simply add in. One could come to the Kings should the team manage to pull off a trade for another first-round pick or if one slips to the second round.

Honeycutt (6-8) is a defensive-minded player that is said to be a good passer and have a high basketball IQ. His numbers (12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore) aren't spectacular, but history has shown UCLA players under Ben Howland often don't put up big numbers for him but prove to be productive pros (Jordan Farmar, Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday).

Harris (6-8) is a power forward whose bio sounds a lot like former King Carl Landry's. He's an energy player that can shoot but might be undersized.

Walker, the standout guard from Connecticut was slated to be in this group but had to withdraw becaue he had two workouts this week. Walker is tentatively scheduled to workout for the Kings June. 13.

That Jimmer Fredette-Kemba Walker pre-draft workout isn't going to happen.

As reported by The Hoops Report Walker will not be participating in the workout that is also scheduled to include Fredette.

Haven't been given a reason why Walker pulled out. Perhaps his travel schedule is tight and he wants to be fresh rather than not feel rushed after a long flight. There's also the chance his agent just doesn't want him in the workout with Fredette. You never really know with these things.

I just wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Walker is "scared" of Fredette, especially since the decision likely wasn't made by Walker.

But as of now, Fredette is still expected to be a part of the group working out tentatively set for Thursday.

The Kings do expect to have Walker in at some point before the NBA Draft on June 23, meaning chances are Walker doesn't have a promise from one of the five teams picking ahead of the Kings.

Walker and Fredette are two of the most recognizable names from college basketball, hence the excitement about them possibly facing off.

Walker led Connecticut to the NCAA Championship. Fredette won several National Player of the Year awards as a prolific scorer at BYU.

Walker would fill the Kings desire for antoher point guard on the roster and a player that can get to the basket. Fredette would be another ballhandler and a three-point shooter the Kings covet.


UPDATE: According to ESPN Chad Ford's Twitter feed, Walker's decision was about a scheduling conflict and he will be in Sacramento June 13.

Walker has a workout Tuesday in Toronto and Wednesday in Detroit. The workout in Sacramento was tentatively set for Thursday.

The Kings Reunion BBQ at Power Balance Pavilion featured appearances by current Kings (Tyreke Evans Donte' Greene) and former Kings (Doug Christie, Mitch Richmond and Brad Miller).

At least 5,000 fans showed up for the event as the team continues to build on the support that began with the drive to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Miller, however, showed up on crutches after microfracture surgery on his left knee about two weeks ago.

Miller said after arthroscopic surgery last summer there were still issues with his knee this past season playing for Houston. Miller said two doctors recommended microfracture surgery, which involves creating small fractures in the bone to help generate new cartilage.

I managed to be among the media members who had the chance to catch up with former Kings guard Doug Christie.

Christie was at Power Balance Pavilion for press conference for the Kings Team Ambassador program which aims to have "community leaders committed to assisting the Kings with their mission of strengthening the bond between the team and the Sacramento community."

Sacramento remains a special place for Christie. It's where he solidified his reputation as a tough defender and solid NBA player (folks tend not to notice those traits when you're on a losing team).

I understand Shaquille O'Neal will never be a favorite of Kings fans.

Besides being a driving force behind eliminating the Kings from the playoffs from 2000-02, the city of Sacramento and several Kings players were fodder for O'Neal's comedy.

From mocking "Floppy" Divac, saying Sacramento was no longer the state capital or dubbing the Kings the Queens, O'Neal always had fun at the expense of Sacramento.

The Kings will hold a pre-draft workout with Kentucky guard Brandon Knight Thursday at the team's practice facility.

Knight played one season at Kentucky before entering the NBA Draft. He's considered no worse than the second-best point guard available with Duke's Kyrie Irving the consensus top point guard.

Knight averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and four rebounds for the Wildcats.

This is just another sign that the next NBA season will not start on time.

National Basketball Players Association has filed and unfair labor practice charge with National Labor Relations Board against the NBA.

Here is what the NBPA is accusing the league of unlawful practices during the current collective bargaining sessions according to a press release:

"These unlawful practices include (a) failing to bargain in good faith, (b) demanding huge financial takeaways from prior contracts, with no corresponding concessions offered to the players, (c) bypassing the Union to deal directly with players, and (d) threatening an unlawful lockout. We have urged the Board to investigate this matter quickly and to seek an injunction against the NBA's unlawful bargaining practices and its unlawful lockout threat."

CHICAGO - The Kings wrapped up their interviews at the NBA Draft Combine speaking with a player projected by many for them to select in the first round, Connecticut guard Kemba Walker.

The Kings also met with Washington State guard Klay Thompson, Kansas guard Josh Selby and USC forward Nikola Vucevic.

I write a lot about Walker in the story for tomorrow's newspaper. But for those who aren't familiar with walker, he's a point guard on the smaller side (6-1) that's a big-time scorer and led the Huskies to the NCAA Championship.

May 20, 2011
Numbers games

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHICAGO - The official measurements from the NBA Draft Combine have been released. Here are some highlights:

Tallest player without shoes: Nikola Vucevic, USC, 6-10 ¼
Shortest player without shoes: Isaiah Thomas, Washington, 5-8 ¾
Heaviest player: Jeremy Tyler, San Diego HS/Maccabi Haifa/Tokyo Apache, 262.4 pounds
Lightest player: Norris Cole, Cleveland State, 174.4 pounds
Highest body fat percentage: Trey Tompkins, Georgia, 15.5 percent
Hand size (length): Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State and Greg Smith, Fresno State, 9.8 inches
Hand size (width spread out from thumb to pinky): Smith, 12 inches
Wingspan: Keith Benson, Oakland, 7-3 ¾

Other notes: UConn's Kemba Walker was the only other player under 6-foot in shoes (5-11 ½). I know a lot of Kings fans would love to have Walker in Sacramento but I still find it hard to believe the Kings would use the seventh overall pick on Walker. Seems a bit high for Walker.

*Two of the drafts biggest names had body fat above 10 percent. Arizona's Derrick Williams was measured at 10.8 percent and Duke's Kyrie Irving was 10.2 percent.

*Pete Carill would love Leonard's hands. When Carril talks about Omri Casspi's struggles he often mentions Casspi's small hands. Carril said it affects Casspi's dribbling and shooting.

Carril likes to speak of the sound the ball makes when it hits the hands of players like Chris Webber and DeMarcus Cousins. Leonard's ability to grab the ball with ease should make him an effective rebounder and defender.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHICAGO -- Duke forward Kyle Singler discusses his meeting with the Kings and how he might fit in Sacramento.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHICAGO - The Kings wrapped up today's interviews by meeting with Arizona forward Derrick Williams, Purdure forward/center JaJuan Johnson, Georgia guard Travis Leslie and Texas guard Cory Joseph.

Williams (6-8, 241) is the second-best player in this year's draft according to most experts. Of all the players available, Williams would be the player who could most likely step in and start for the Kings.

Problem is Williams will likely be gone no later than the third pick in the draft and the Kings pick seventh.

CHICAGO - San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard speaks during media availability at the NBA Draft Combine.

(I promise to get better at posting more video tomorrow and how to hold the iPhone steady).


CHICAGO - The Kings are looking to upgrade their perimeter shooting and will meet with some players that could help in that area.

The headliner in the group is BYU star Jimmer Fredette, who might be the most well known player here with Kemba Walker giving him a run in that area.

Fredette averaged 28.9 points as a senior and was the Player of the Year for several publications. He shot 39.6 percent from three-point range. But at 6-2, Fredette might be forced to play point guard in the NBA even though he has more of a scorer's makeup.

CHICAGO - The Kings have already met with the point guard from Duke.

Nolan Smith, the senior leader and ACC Player of the Year, is among the players the Kings have spoken with at the NBA Draft Combine.

Colorado guard Alec Burks, Kentucky guard Brandon Knight, Cleveland State guard Norris Cole and San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard are also among those the Kings have interviewed.

Burks, Leonard and Knight are candidates for the Kings with the seventh pick based on early projections.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHICAGO - The Kings holding the seventh pick in the NBA Draft means I'll be speaking to a lot of players over the next couple of days.

Two of the Kings biggest needs are another facilitator and more three-point shooting. Whenever Beno Udrih wasn't in the game, the Kings didn't look as fluid on offense.

That doesn't necessarily mean a point guard in my opinion. A small forward who could faciliate and defend would be a big help.

The Kings ranked 26th in three-point shooting this season at 33.5 percent, which won't help DeMarcus Cousins get more room to operate or create more driving lanes for Tyreke Evans. Assuming Marcus Thornton is back, that total should rise, but the Kings could still use more consistency on the perimeter.

In addition to that, the Kings need to improve their perimeter defense.

The Kings could go several ways in the draft, but this is only one part of the plan as it sounds like the team will indeed use their space under the salary cap on players via free agency or trades.

Below is the list of players here at this week's NBA Draft Combine. I believe the list came out while I was on vacation and was never posted on the blog.


Keith Benson, Oakland
Marshon Brooks, Providence
Alec Burks, Colorado
Jimmy Butler, Marquette
Norris Cole, Cleveland State
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young
Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston
Jordan Hamilton, Texas
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
Justin Harper, Richmond
Tobias Harris, Tennessee
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
Kyrie Irving, Duke
Reggie Jackson, Boston College
Rick Jackson, Syracuse
Charles Jenkins, Hofstra
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Cory Joseph, Texas
Enes Kanter, Kentucky
Brandon Knight, Kentucky
Malcolm Lee, UCLA
Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
Travis Leslie, Georgia
Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky
David Lighty, Ohio State
Shelvin Mack, Butler
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
E'Twaun Moore, Purdue
Darius Morris, Michigan
Marcus Morris, Kansas
Markieff Morris, Kansas
Lucas Riva Nogueira, Estudiantes II (Spain)
Chandler Parsons, Florida
Jereme Richmond, Illinois
Josh Selby, Kansas
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
Kyle Singler, Duke
Chris Singleton, Florida State
Jamie Skeen, Virginia Commonwealth
Greg Smith, Fresno State
Nolan Smith, Duke
Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State
Trey Thompkins, Georgia
Klay Thompson, Washington State
Tristan Thompson, Texas
Jeremy Tyler, San Diego HS/Maccabi Haifa (Israel)/Tokyo Apache (Japan)
Nikola Vucevic, Southern California
Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Derrick Williams, Arizona
Jordan Williams, Maryland

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

Seeing Marcus Thornton at Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery party was a bit unusual. It's not often players not under contract for next season make an appearance at an event after the season.

Thornton is a restricted free agent so I had to ask him if his appearance meant he planned to be a King next season. After a brief pause Thornton answered in the affirmative.

"Yeah...Yeah man," Thornton said. "These fans are great. I fit in so well with this team it would be great to play here but the summer is the summer."

The summer, of course, is when business is handled in the NBA. What kind of contract Thornton might be offered will have a lot to do with how the new collective bargaining agreement turns out.

Thornton admitted attending the party seemed out of the norm, but with his mother in town Thornton decided to show up where he posed for pictures with fans and made the media rounds.

"When I got the call at first I was like, no, but why not?" Thornton said. "I felt like since I've been here these fans have been so loyal so I owed them to be here."

*As for the lottery result, the seventh pick isn't what the Kings wanted (I know, obviously). It likely puts the Kings out of reach for the top-2 point guards (Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight) with Kemba Walker a possibility.

I'm of the belief the Kings don't have to take a point guard at seven. If they can find a player who can solidify the small forward spot for the future, that wouldn't be a bad direction.

I watched the Kings get beaten on the perimeter much of the season. The inability to defend the perimeter was a big reason the Kings struggled.

There's also this: Assuming the Kings draft a point guard, how much would he play unless the Kings dealt Beno Udrih? Another ballhandler is needed, but if it means taking one just to do it, that wouldn't be the right move.

I'll be in Chicago this week for the NBA Draft Combine. I don't expect Geoff Petrie to tell me what the plan is for the draft. But I'll see what I can find out about players that might be options at No. 7.

In news that shocked no one, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was officially named NBA Rookie of the Year. Washington guard John Wall finished second. Kings forward/center DeMarcus Cousins finished third.

Griffin was the first unanimous selection since David Robinson in 1990.

I voted Griffin, Cousins, Wall in that order.

There really was no arguing Griffin. I went with Cousins over Wall because he was more durable (played in 81 games) and was second among rookies with averages of 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Kings Tyreke Evans is in Southern California for some video game fun with New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams.

The two will face off in "Call of Duty: Black Ops " on the on the new "Escalation" map pack for the game.

(I should note I'm not a Call of Duty player. I'm more of a Madden, 2K12 guy. Feel free to let me know what I'm missing).

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

The Kings issued the following statement regarding relocation to Anaheim. The Los Angeles Times reported the Kings are "expected" to remain in Sacramento next season.

"We await the results of the fact-finding visit that the NBA made to Sacramento the past two days. We have not made a decision with regards to relocation filing, and will not make that decision until we have more information from the NBA."

FINAL
Thunder 120, Kings 112

DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds but the Kings didn't have enough to overcome the playoff-bound Oklahoma City Thunder at Power Balance Pavilion.

Cousins made 18-of-21 free throws. The free throw attempts and makes were records for a rookie in the Sacramento era.

Travis May held the previous record with 17 makes Feb. 6, 1991 against Portland. Lionel Simmons. Tyreke Evans had the previous record for attempts as a rookie with 19 on Nov. 7, 2009 at Utah.

Marcus Thornton and Beno Udrih each had 21 points for the Kings. Jason Thompson added 16 points off the bench.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder (55-26) with 32 points. Russell Westbrook added 30 point and nine assists.

Oklahoma City shot 57.3 percent for the game to overcome committing 19 turnovers.

There were plenty of fouls for both teams. Oklahoma City was called for 26 and the Kings were assessed 25 fouls. The Kings also had three technical fouls (Cousins, Thompson and Donte Greene).

Kings coach Paul Westphal was asked how he felt the Kings dealt the Thunder's physical play.

"It's not easy to keep your composure with some of the situations we were faced with," Westphal said. "That's all I'm going to say about that."


April 11, 2011
Tyreke Evans out tonight

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

Kings guard Tyreke Evans is out for tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a sprained left ankle. Evans is questionable for Wednesday's season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Evans injured his ankle in the first quarter of Sunday's win at Golden State but was able to finish the game.

Beno Udrih will start in place of Evans.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 104, Warriors 103

OAKLAND - The Kings figured out how to win an ugly game Sunday, beating the Golden State Warriors while committing 23 turnovers.

The Kings (24-56) can thank Marcus Thornton for that. He scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

The bench also played big. Jason Thompson had 14 points and eight rebounds. Beno Udrih had 14 points and six assists. Donte Greened added 10 points.

DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Tyreke Evans missed 10 of his 13 shots to finish with 14 points.

The Warriors (35-45) were led by Stephen Curry's 27 points and eight assists. David Lee finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Monta Ellis struggled while playing with a bad ankle and left the game in the fourth quarter after hitting his head on the court. He was to be examined at a hospital after the game.

The Kings won't catch a break tomorrow with Oklahoma City, which beat the Lakers tonight. Oklahoma City has a chance to finish as high as No. 2 in the Western Conference so they won't be resting their starters.

That also means the Kings are likely to get the Lakers' best shot on Wednesday. The Kings have to win both games to surpass last season's win total.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Grizzlies 101, Kings 96

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Kings were unable to be spoilers tonight as their rally fell short at FedEx Forum and the Grizzlies clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Kings trailed by 90-78 with 7:00 left in the game before going on an 18-7 run to cut the lead to 97-96 with 39 seconds to play. But the Kings fouled too much late and the Grizzlies' Tony Allen made a spectacular block with 16.9 seconds on a drive by Tyreke Evans when he could have tied the game at 98.

It was the second consecutive loss for the Kings (23-56). Samuel Dalembert had 17 points and 16 rebounds. Jason Thompson had 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

Evans finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Marcus Thornton had 18 points but struggled shooting (8-for-23).

Zach Randolph led Memphis (45-34) with 27 points and 15 rebounds.


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FINAL
Spurs 124, Kings 92

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - The Kings' latest winning streak ended tonight against the team with the best record in the NBA.

The Spurs (60-19) shot 60.5 percent for the game, including 63.2 percent on three pointers (12-for-19). The Kings struggled shooting most of the night (39.8 percent). Once the Spurs got hot in the third quarter there wasn't much the Kings could do to stay close.

San Antonio outscored the Kings 36-11 in fastbreak points. That matched the 36 by Chicago March 21 for most allowed by the Kings this season.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings (23-55) with 16 points but Marcus Thornton had only nine points and was scoreless in the second half. It's only the third time Thornton hasn't scored in double figures with the Kings.

Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 25 points.


By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 104, Rockets 101

HOUSTON - The Kings won for the seventh time in 10 games, holding off a late rally by the Rockets that featured the Kings fouling three-point shooters twice late.

Samuel Dalembert led the Kings with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Marcus Thornton also had 21 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Kings continued to play well on the road.

Five of their last seven wins have come on the road for the Kings.

Kevin Martin led Houston with 30 points. The Kings shot 53 percent for the game.


THIRD QUARTER
Kings 76, Rockets 74
HOUSTON - The Kings led by as many as 10 points in the third but the Rockets ended the quarter on an 8-0 run. The Kings have maintained the lead by controlling the game with their size advantage in the frontcourt. Samuel Dalembert has 16 points and 11 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins has 15 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Thornton scored eight of his 14 points in the third.

*The Kings have done a good job of forcing Kevin Martin to score from the field and not on free throws. Martin has 24 points on 10-of-23 shooting. Martin has made three of his five free throws.

*Neither team has been accurate on threes. The Kings have made one of their 10. The Rockets have taken 18 threes and made only four.


By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

HOUSTON - Omri Casspi is thinking about the possibility of Sacramento, or Anaheim if that's where the Kings end up, next season according to a post he wrote for an Israeli website href='http://www.one.co.il/' target='_blank'>One/ and has been translated here in The Jerusalem Post.

Casspi writes it would be "egotistical" to say he wants out of Sacramento. But Casspi writes enough that says he wants out of Sacramento:

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 106, Jazz 97

Tyreke Evans looked a lot like himself today with 24 points and 10 assists as the Kings ended a two-game losing streak. Evans looked quick and finished around the rim better than he had in previous games since returning from plantar faciitis last week.

Evans made 10 of 16 from the field. DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia each had 17 points for the Kings. Cousins had a season-high five steals before fouling out in the closing seconds of the game.

Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 21 points. Rookie Gordon Hayward had a season-high 19 points. Kyle Weaver also matched his career high with 19 points off the bench for Utah.

The Kings begin a four-game road trip Tuesday at Houston.


By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Nuggets 99, Kings 90

*I've never heard a player that was 3-of-15 shooting get so much praise. But there was plenty for DeMarcus Cousins and how he handled himself.

Cousins would laugh and call some of the physical play fun. But he had plenty reasons to be upset after some of the hard fouls he took. The last might have been the worse when Danilo Gallinari flattened him in the fourth quarter and was only assessed a personal foul. Kings coach Paul Westphal believes that play should have been a flagrant foul. Can't say I disagree.

That Cousins didn't lose his cool was a positive. As he plays in the league, he'll deal with more physical play. Cousins said the Nuggets were trapping him before he even had the ball to make it tough.

"Many other times at the beginning of the season you would have seen Cuz going crazy," said Kings center Samuel Dalembert. "This time he knew that's the NBA so he's learning. That's maturity. I think he handled it very well. We had his back and we let him know we had his back."

Dalembert picked up a technical foul confronting Gallinari after the foul. Dalembert seemed amused that Gallinari shoved him away, since he's known Gallinari for a while. Perhaps the Nugget way is rubbing off on the former Knick.

*Even though there were plenty fouls that weren't called, the Kings did end up shooting 34 free throws. But they made only 22 (64.7 percent) which hurt them as they tried to keep pace with the Nuggets in the second half. The Kings also had 16 turnovers that led to 19 Denver points. The Kings also shot 33 for 83 from the field (39.8 percent). They were horrible on threes, making two of 21 (9.5 percent).

*The Kings (21-54) have lost two in a row after their season-best four-game winning streak. Both losses have been to Denver (46-29).

*Francisco Garcia led the Kings with 17 points. Tyreke Evans had 13 points. Raymond Felton led Denver with 17 points.

*Kings won't have a full practice Saturday with a 3 p.m. game on Sunday against Utah.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL

Nuggets 104, Kings 90

DENVER - Ty Lawson led a second-half comeback to give the Nuggets their 10th win in a row at home while ending the Kings (21-53) winning streak at four games.

Marcus Thronton led the Kings with 27 points. Tyreke evans had 22 points and seven assists. Beno Udrih added 12 points and 10 assists.

Lawson led the Nuggets (45-29) with 20 points. Danilo Gallinari had 17 points, 13 coming in the second half. The Nuggets outscored the Kings 63-39 after hafltime.

THIRD QUARTER
Nuggets 74, Kings 71

DENVER - The Kings had their worst defensive quarter of the game and predictably lost their lead with it. The Nuggets scored 33 points in the third quarter, just eight short of their first-half total. Ty Lawson had eight of his 18 points in the third quarter. Al Harrington, playing for Kenyon Martin (flu) has 13 points off the bench.

*The Kings continue to receive good play from the backcourt. Marcus Thornton has 18 points. Beno Udrih has 10 points and eight assists. Tyreke Evans has 16 points and eight assists. The frontcourt hasn't given the Kings as much as it has in previous games. DeMarcus Cousins has nine points and three rebounds. Samuel Dalembert has two points and six rebounds. Jason Thompson has been solid off the bench with eight points and five rebounds.

*The Kings had eight turnovers in the third quarter to give them 17 for the game. That's a big reason the Nuggets took the lead. Denver scored 12 points off turnovers in the third quarter. The Nuggets had only two turnovers in the quarter.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 116, Suns 113

*Another wild finish against the Suns for the Kings. Sacramento has beaten the Suns three out of four games this season. In each win the Kings have overcome a double-digit deficit. The Kings trailed 98-88 with 10:48 to play before going on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 102. Marcus Thornton's three with 53.4 seconds left gave the Kings the lead for good at 112-110.

*The Kings have overcome double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter twice this season - both times against the Suns. Both games were in Sacramento.

*Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 24 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds. Tyreke Evans nearly had a triple double off the bench with 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

*Donte Greene said after the March 18 loss to Philadelphia, the team held a meeting to discuss the selfish play that led to that loss. The Kings have won five of six since. Their four-game winning streak is the first since last season (Nov. 25-Dec. 2, 2009). The Kings had two four-game winning streaks last season.

*Samuel Dalembert (bruised ribs) could have played more but Kings coach Paul Westphal stayed with the hot lineup, that included Greene and Omri Casspi. Casspi hadn't played the last three games. Westphal said between Casspi, Greene and Francisco Garcia there will be games where one doesn't play at all and there isn't a "doghouse" just limited minutes.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL (Overtime)
Kings 114, 76ers 111

PHILADELPHIA - The Kings overcame a 32-foot three pointer by Lou Williams that forced overtime to end their road trip 4-1.

How rare is such a trip:

*This is the first time the Kings have won four games on a trip of five games or more since the 2005-06 season.

*Marcus Thornton led the Kings (20-52) with 32 points, 29 coming in the second half. Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and a season-high 19 rebounds. Jason Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

*Jrue Holiday led the 76ers with 28 points. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists. Jodie Meeks added 22 for Philadelphia. Former King Spencer Hawes had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

*On that three by Williams, Dalembert was the closest King. Dalembert said he would have fouled Williams before he could get a shot off but he wasn't close enough because he had tried to get over to Hawes and was caught between both players.

Here are a few notes about this trip:

*This is the first time since the 2007-08 that the Kings have had a three-game winning streak on the road.

*This was the first overtime win of the season for the Kings. The Kings had lost their previous five overtime games.

*Some quick stats on the trip: Thornton averaged 24.4 points. Dalembert averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds. Beno Udrih averaged 16 points and 5.4 assists. DeMarcus Cousins averaged 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds.


By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL

Kings 110, Pacers 93

INDIANAPOLIS - The Kings improved to 3-1 on their five-game road trip with a convincing win over the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Kings outscored the Pacers 64-40 in the paint and harassed the home team into shooting 35.2 percent for the game. Kings' points in the paint were the second most against Indiana this season. The Pacers were a woeful 4-of-25 on three pointers.

Defense is what Kings coach Paul Westphal credited for the win. His bigs controlled the pain and several Pacers had off shooting nights. Danny Granger scored a game-high 20 points for the Pacers but shot 4-of-13 and scored 11 points off free throws.

Backup guard A.J. Price was 4-of-15, including 1-of-9 on threes. Tyler Hansbrough was 3-of-13.

DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Six Kings scored in double figures, including all five starters.

After missing the previous 19 games, Tyreke Evans had six points and eight assists off the bench.

The Kings play at Philadelphia on Sunday.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

INDIANAPOLIS - Kings guard Tyreke Evans said his biggest challenge is getting his legs back and that in "three or four games" he should feel like himself again.

Evans will play limited minutes off the bench after missing the last 19 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Evans last played Feb. 13. This is the longest break Evans has had because of an injury as a basketball player.

"I don't feel nervous," Evans said. "I know my minutes are going to be limited so I just have to go out there and do the best I can."

Evans was averaging 18.3 points at the time he shut down to let his foot heal. He underwent three shockwave treatments and has said he hasn't felt any discomfort in his foot since the last treatment a little more than two weeks ago.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 97, Bucks 90

MILWAUKEE - The Kings held the Bucks to 34 points in the second half to improve to 2-1 on their five-game road trip.

The Kings were able to control the game with their size in the frontcourt. Sacramento (18-52) outrebounded the Bucks, 47-42, and outscored Milwaukee (28-42) 54-34 in the paint.

Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 27 points. He's scored 20 or more in six of his last seven games. Beno Udrih added 25 points and six assists. Samuel Dalembert had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Carlos Delfino led the Bucks with 30 points to match his career high. But Delfino had only eight points after halftime with Donte Greene drawing the defensive assignment late in the game.

The Kings starting guards outscored the Bucks duo of Brandon Jennings and John Salmons 52-14.


By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHICAGO - My amateur video career continues with these clips of Tyreke Evans working out before Monday night's game. Evans hopes to play Friday at Indiana.




By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Bulls 132, Kings 92

CHICAGO -- A day after the biggest blowout of the season, the Kings suffered their worst loss of the season.

The Bulls scored a season high while shooting 61.3 percent. Eight Bulls scored in double figures.

The Kings committed 22 turnovers that led to 35 points for Chicago.

THIRD QUARTER
Bulls 98, Kings 72

CHICAGO - Doesn't look like the Kings will recreate their 35-point comeback of last season here.

The Kings continue to give the ball away (17 turnovers) and can't stop the Bulls, who are shooting 61.4 percent.

*Marcus Thornton leads the Kings with 25 points. Francisco Garcia is the only other King in double figures with 12 points.

*All five starters for the Bulls are in double figures led by Derrick Rose with 18.

*The Kings have been outscored 29-5 on fast break points.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

You be the judge. Was the punishment fair? DeMarcus Cousins picked up two technical fouls on the play. Luke Ridnour of Minnesota was givein a personal and technical foul.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Kings 127, Timberwolves 95

MINNEAPOLIS - The Kings used a 42-point fourth quarter to record their biggest blowout of the season.

The game got out off hand with a 17-0 run by the Kings to start the fourth quarter that gave Sacramento a 102-75 lead. The Kings would go on to lead by as many as 34 points late in the game.

Samuel Dalembert led the Kings with 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Dalembert made a career-high 13 field goals. Marcus Thornton had had a well-rounded showing with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

After the game coach Paul Westphal credited Donte Greene with coming in and defending Michael Beasley (13 points) and providing some offense with 13 points off the bench.

The Kings outrebounded the NBA's top rebounding team 47-27. The Kings also had 30 assists, one short of their season high.

March 19, 2011
Kings waive Luther Head

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

MINNEAPOLIS - The Kings have waived guard Luther Head.

Head did not dress for Friday night's loss with a sore right calf. Head also had been unhappy with his role for some time and had made his displeasure known and was tossed from a practice this season.

Head was praised for the defense he played earlier in the season but didn't receive consistent playing time.

Head, in his sixth season, appeared in 36 games with 14 starts. He averaged 5.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16.3 minutes.

Head made 39.1 percent of his three pointers.

With Tyreke Evans (plantar fasciitis) likely to return to the lineup during this five-game road trip, Head wasn't likely to play much the rest of the season. Evans, Marcus Thornton and Beno Udrih will play most of the time at guard when Evans is back on the court.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
76ers 102, Kings 80

If this game was bad for you to watch, you weren't alone. Kings coach called it the "worst" game the Kings have played this season:

"I told the team at halftime, 'we have 16 wins, that's not good, that's not a good record, but we have not played a lot of bad basketball.' The first half, we played bad basketball. We have to decide, our win total is what it is, but we expect to keep getting better, and keep playing together. And that's why it's discouraging tonight, because that didn't happen and the fans booed because of that. It is uncharacteristic of our team, and we will bounce back."

It wasn't that the Kings were blown out because that's happened before. And it wasn't that the Kings shot poorly (34.5 percent) and committed a lot of turnovers (22) because neither is uncommon at this point of the season.

It was lack of energy that was discouraging and led to fans booing in the second half. After the first few minutes the Kings never looked "into" the game.

*This would qualify as Marcus Thornton's first bad game as a King. He was held to single-digit scoring for the first time in 12 games (seven points) and had six turnovers.

*After missing his first five shots, DeMarcus Cousins made six of his final eight and finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Samuel Dalembert had 13 rebounds and six points. Omri Casspi had 14 points off the bench.

*The 76ers (36-33) moved into sixth place in the Eastern Conference by a half game over New York wit the win.

*I caught up with former King Spencer Hawes before the game. Among the things we discussed was his being in the playoff race for the first time in his career:

"It's a lot of fun. The last couple of years you kind of just chalked it up, almost kind of waiting for the end. Now to really have that goal to look forward to and still be fighting for seeding and trying to move up that ladder it makes it a lot more fun."

*Sorry for the lack of a third-quarter update. I was waiting for stats and by time I realized I didn't have them, the game was almost over.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

While the rest of the Kings practiced, Tyreke Evans was put through shooting drills and conditioning as he works to get ready to return to the court.

Evans has missed the last 15 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Evans said his foot hasn't felt this good since before the season. Evans remains cautious about his approach.

"I haven't really played yet so I don't want to talk until I start going full speed," Evans said. "But me pushing off, doing shooting drills and just running it felt pretty good."

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Cavaliers 97, Kings 93

Game story has been filed. Now it's time to go over many of the things that went wrong tonight for the Kings.

This was a game between two of the worst teams in the league and the game ended up being competitive at the end, which isn't surprising.

*Let's start with the free throws. The Cavs shot 30 while the Kings shot 13. If you watched the game, you saw the Kings do plenty of talking to the officials. But it's not like the Cavs took full advantage. They made only 19 (63.3 percent).

"We got to find a way to get to the line and we got to find a way to keep the other team from shooting so many free throws," said Kings coach Paul Westphal.

DeMarcus Cousins wasn't happy that there was no foul called in the fourth quarter when he was hit in the face and ended up with a bloody nose.

The free throw disparity bothered plenty of Kings.

"It was 30 to 13 - it was obvious - 30 to 13," Cousins said.

Did he ever talk to the officials?

"Can't talk to them because...," Cousins said, wisely stopping before he said something that got him fined by the NBA.

The Kings led 28-18 after the first quarter but were outplayed by the smaller Cavs the rest of the night.

"A lot of things played into them cutting into that lead," Cousins said. "I'm not going to sit in here and blame this team for it. A lot of things had something to do with it. We've got to play through it and keep playing."

FINAL
Kings 129, Warriors 119

Here are some things from the postgame that didn't make it into the game story that's already been filed (along with some facts that did):

*Marcus Thornton scored a career-high 42 points tonight. That's the most points by a Kings since Kevin Martin scored 48 points, Nov. 2, 2009. Thornton's previous best was 37 points.

*This was the most points scored in regulation this season. The previous high was the 122 scored on Denver Jan. 6.

*Samuel Dalembert had a career-high 27 points. He also had 16 rebounds. Dalembert's previous best was 24.

*Thornton remains very popular back in New Orleans. But he might be just as popular after 10 games with the Kings. He's averaging 22.2 points.

Thornton was on a playoff team with the Hornets, but this season he wasn't being used like he had under former coach and general manager Jeff Bower. So when he was dealt to the struggling Kings, Thornton saw it as an opportunity.

"Everything that happens, happens for a reason," Thornton said. "I always say that and my mom says that. I treat every move and every step as a blessing. That is exactly what it is, a blessing."

Kings coach Paul Westphal gave Thornton the green light to shoot early even though Thornton said it took a couple of games to get used to that.

"He's always been a scorer, in high school, in college and when he got to New Orleans," Westphal said. "He's somebody that has the knack. I think if somebody is really a top scorer you don't want them to be too worried about making a mistake every now and then."

*Dalembert scored his 27 without having a play run for him.

"I've been watching film to see what my teammates have been doing and see what has been open and what they have been giving us," Dalembert said. "I see what is going on throughout the play and were can I fit myself in and then I put myself in for the jumper or go to the basket. It has been working."

*The Kings credited their defense for the win. I know that sounds crazy after allowing 119 points and the Warriors shooting 50 percent. The Kings said the defense in the first quarter set the tone. They held the Warriors to 20 points, their lowest total for a quarter tonight.

The Kings said their pick-and-roll defense was better to start the game. That play has hurt the Kings all season and Dalembert said the Kings are finally starting to understand where they need to be to defend it better.

*With the way Thornton has played it will be interesting to see how he meshes with Tyreke Evans. Evans will see his foot specialist in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The team hopes Evans will be cleared to begin practicing and hope he can get back on the court in seven-to-10 days.

If the Kings continue to move the ball, there should be enough shots to go around. With Thornton as a scoring threat to go with Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings should have better spacing on offense to create.

But we shall see how that develops in the very near future. If that timeline holds up, could happen before the end of the month.

*The Warriors made it interesting late, forcing Westphal to put his regulars back in the game. Golden State made that run without their starters. They cut the lead to seven in the final minute but by then the Kings had the game in hand.

Francisco Garcia's three with 48.7 seconds left gave the Kings a 126-114 lead that would be more than enough to not be threatened by the Warriors.

After the last two games against the Warriors ended with blown leads in the fourth quarter and overtime losses, there was reason to be nervous. But the Kings ended their six-game losing streak.

And finally, Westphal on DeMarcus Cousins' passing:

"Coach (Pete) carril talked to him before the gaem and had some little poem about not throwing the ball away and I think it went in one ear and out the other becasue some of those were some high-risk passes. But he is learning. He's got some special skills and anytime somebody's as gifted as DeMarcus it takes awhile to learn when to do which of those skills. He's really coming along."

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

NEW ORLEANS -- DeMarcus Cousins left Saturday night's game in the fourth quarter holding his left shoulder. It's the same shoulder he strained March 2 against Portland.

Cousins was able to return to the game. He said it was numb from icing it but that he would be "all right."

No other injury news from the Kings' locker room.

The team is off Sunday and hosts Golden State on Monday.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Hornets 115, Kings 102

NEW ORLEANS - Chris Paul scored 13 of his season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Hornets over the Kings. The Kings led 85-84 after three quarters.

It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Kings.

Paul also had 15 assists in first game back after missing two contests after a concussion.

Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 25 points in his first game in New Orleans after being traded to the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings (15-48).

David West added 25 points for the Hornets. Carl Landry scored 20 points off the bench for New Orleans (38-29). He was the player the Kings traded for Thornton.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

FINAL
Spurs 108, Kings 103

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. -Some clutch shots from Manu Ginobili down the stretch were enough for the Spurs to fend off the Kings Friday night at AT&T Center.

Ginobili scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. All 10 of Ginobili's fourth-quarter points came after the Kings had taken a 91-88 lead with 5:34 to play and began with a three to tie the game.

The Kings were led by rookie Pooh Jeter, who scored as season-hign 16 points off the bench and Jermaine Taylor, who also scored 16 points off the bench. Omri Casspi (15 poitns) and Jason Thompson (12 points, five rebounds) led a balanced attack from the reserves.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 27 points. Parker also had six assists. Ginobili had a game-high seven assists.

FINAL

Magic 106, Kings 102

*The Kings can only blame themselves for this loss. They did enough to win the game on most fronts. They outrebounded the Magic 51-36 and probably feel they should have won. But when you commit 21 turnovers (leading to 23 points for Orlando) it's hard to win.

And as Paul Westphal put it: "We committed too many turnovers again."

*The Kings shot just 30.2 percent in the second half (13 of 43). Meanwhile Orlando shot 50 percent (19 of 38) after halftime. Six of those makes were three pointers.

*Orlando outscored the Kings 30-23 in the fourth quarter.

*DeMarcus Cousins set a new season-high with 29 points, 18 free throws attempted and 13 made.

*Marcus Thornton has now scored in double figures in all seven of his games with the Kings after finishing with 22 points tonight. He's scored 20-plus in three of his games at Power Balance Pavilion.

*The Kings inability to stop point guards showed again. Jameer Nelson score 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter.

*Cousins sore shin was bad enough that he considered not playing tonight. He said practicing Tuesday might not have been a good idea. Westphal said that practice might have been Cousins' best of the season.

By Jason Jones

FINAL
Rockets 123, Kings 101

*First an injury update: DeMarcus Cousins doesn't think his shin injury is serious but said he was scared when Marcus Thornton fell into his leg in the fourth quarter. He said he was able to jump out of the way enough to prevent a serious injury but was afraid his leg was going to "snap." Cousins finished with 20 pints and 11 rebounds, but didn't score in the second half.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal said the Rockets didn't do anything differently against Cousins in the second half. But after getting 15 shots in the first half, Cousins only took five in the second half. Westphal said fatigue might have played a part. Cousins said he didn't know what happened but noted the Kings have a tendency to panic and try to go one-on-one when things go bad.

*The notion of Cousins being tired would be odd considering he did have a break at halftime.

*As for the game, the defense was the biggest problem. The Rockets shot 53 percent. The Rockets lowest-scoring quarter was 28 points in the fourth quarter.

*The Kings now have the league's worst home record at 8-24 and have lost seven of their last eight homes games.

*Rick Adelman tied Dick Motta for 10th all-time with 935 career wins tonight. Fitting that Adelman would reach that mark in Sacramento where he won 395 games. That's still the top mark in franchise history. Adelman's career winning percentage trails only Phil Jackson and Red Aurebach in league history.

*The win put the Rockets (33-32) above .500 for the first time all season. The Kings are now 15-46. That's the third-worst record in the NBA.

By Jason Jones

FINAL
Jazz 109, Kings 102 (overtime)

SALT LAKE CITY - The Kings couldn't hold on to a fourth-quarter lead and fell in overtime at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Kings opened the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run to take an 83-74 lead with 8:36 to play.

The Jazz came with a 12-1 run to take the lead, 86-84 on a basket by Al Jefferson with 4:05 to play.

Marcus Thornton tied the game with a three with 14.1 seconds to play to force overtime.

But Al Jefferson was too much in the post for the Kings. He led all scorers with 27 points as all five Utah starters scored at least 12 points.

Thornton led the Kings with 22 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points, a season-best 18 rebounds and matched his season high with seven assists. Francisco Garcia also had 18 points.

By Jason Jones

FINAL
Blazers 107, Kings 102

*Once again, turnovers came back to hurt the Kings. Four turnovers in the final five minutes turned a game tied at 91 into a seven-point deficit (102-95) with 51.3 seconds to play. In all, the Kings committed 16 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Blazers. Late-game execution continues to be a problem. That's to be expected somewhat right now with one of the late-game contributors, Marcus Thornton, only in his fourth game with the Kings.

*DeMarcus Cousins had been the target of much of the turnover talk, but he had only one tonight. Samuel Dalembert had a team-high four turnovers.

*Cousins (career-high tying 28 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) might have played his way back into the starting lineup after being bench for the last two games. Thornton (26 points, two steals) could join him.

Both started the second half of tonight's game.

"We'll take a look at that," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We'll think about that. It's possible."

If that happens, Jason Thompson and Jermaine Taylor would find themselves in reserve roles.

*Thompson didn't play badly with 10 points and seven rebounds. Thompson teamed with Samuel Dalembert to do a good job defending LaMarcus Aldridge (20 points on 9-for-27 shooting). But it seems the Dalembert/Cousins pairing gives the Kings their best chance to win by keeping a primary scorer on the floor with Dalembert.

FINAL Kings 105, Clippers 99

Marcus Thornton scored 16 of his season-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to help the Kings rally and hold off the Clippers. Beno Udrih added 19 points and seven assists. The Kings held the Clippers to 16 points in the fourth, to help end a streak in which the Kings had allowed their last seven opponents to score at least 100 points.

*After allowing 78 points in the paint Saturday in Memphis, the Kings limited the Clippers to 46 points in the paint. Blake Griffin was still able to hurt the Kings (27 points, 12 rebounds, but centers DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman combined for just 18 points.

*The Kings were able to overcome allowing 27 points off 19 turnovers. The Clippers has a season-high 14 steals. The Clippers weren't careful enough with the ball either. Los Angeles committed 21 turnovers that led to 23 points for the Kings.

*Both sides said the crowd played a factor in the game:

Kings coach Paul Westphal: "It was fantastic to have the people behind us. It really meant a lot and it was great for our team to experience that. I think it made a difference. The fourth quarter showing - we had energy right through the end and the fans were a big part of that.

Griffin: "They just picked up the energy, picked up the intensity and the crowd really got into it. Gotta give them credit, the fans came out and did a good job for them."

*Tonight's game was the second sellout of the season. The only other sellout was the home opener against Toronto.


THIRD QUARTER Clippers 83, Kings 78

It was a matter of time before Blake Griffin started coming through with some highlights. Griffin caught two alley-oop dunks on his way to nine points in the third quarter. He now has a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Randy Foye is doing a good job of taking Eric Gordon's place with 18 points.

*The Kings continue to struggle with turnovers. They have 14 - not outrageously high - but they've led to 21 points for the Clippers. The Clippers have been forcing those mistakes with 12 steals.

*Beno Udrih leads the Kings with 14 points and five assists. Marcus Thornton has 13 points off the bench. He has missed five of six shots and has only four points. Jason Thompson has 12 points for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins continues to show he's not nearly as effective off the bench.

HALFTIME Clippers 52, Kings 51

*The Kings are balanced thus far. All 10 Kings that have played have scored. Luther Head is the only King that hasn't played for the Kings. Marcus Thornton has nine points of off the bench to lead the kings. Jason Thompson and Samuel Dalembert each have eight points.

*Blake Griffin has 14 points and six rebounds, both hame highs. He hasn't dominated the front line in the way Zach Randolph did Saturday in Memphis. In fact, the Kings actually hold a 30-22 advantage in points in the paint. Randy Foye has 11 points for the Clippers. He's starting in place of Eric Gordon, who is injured but has made a habit of torching the Kings.

*Neither team is taking care of the ball well. The Kings have 10 turnovers, leading to 14 Clipper points. The Clippers have nine turnovers that have led to 12 points for the Kings.

*The Kings haven't found their way from long-range yet. They've missed eight of 10 three pointers.

FIRST QUARTER Kings 29, Clippers 29

The Clippers might be the perfect opponent. On a night many fans have come out for the "Here We Stay" campaign, the Clippers have won only five games on the road and so the game figures to be competitive. It is thus far with the Clippers hanging around thanks to making 12 of 13 free throws while shooting 38.1 percent from the field.

*Gavin, George and Joe Maloof are sitting courtside. Mayor Kevin Johnson is also courtside. And no, I haven't seen them chat yet or seen the Maloofs hand over any arena-related docutments.

*Chants of "Sacramento" were loud to start the game. Clippers star Blake Griffin was booed as if his name was Kobe.

*Griffin leads all scorers with 10 points to go with four rebounds. Jason Thompson and Marcus Thornton each have six points to lead the Kings. Beno Udrih has five points and three assists.

*The Kings are playing in throwbacks from the 1951 Rochester Royals team that won the franchise's only championship. Interesting night to wear the throwbacks.

--Jason Jones

FINALGrizzlies 120, Kings 92

MEMPHIS, Tenn., -- The Grizzlies had their way Saturday night. Every player for Memphis scored, led by forward Zach Randolph's 23 points and 12 rebounds. Randolph didn't play in the fourth quarter.

*The Kings were outscored 78-46 in the paint. Besides Randolph, Memphis had a solid showing from center Marc Gasol with 21 points. The 78 points are franchise record.

*DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. Marcus Thornton was the only other King in double figures with 15 points.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal said the reason Samuel Dalembert started instead of Cousins is that Dalembert has played better than Cousins lately.

*Beno Udrih led the Kings with 24 points.

*Kings again said their turnovers (18 that led to 21 points) and defense (Grizzlies shot 54.7 percent) were the biggest issues.

THIRD QUARTERGrizzlies 89, Kings 66

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - It's not often a team leads this big and hasn't made a three pointer but that's what the Grizzlies are doing.

The Grizzlies have posted back-to-back 33-point quarters. Meanwhile the Kings have gotten worse, scoring just 17 in the third. Beno Udrih (24 points) is the only Kings to have scored in double figures.

*The Kings have been outscored 64-32 in the paint. Memphis is doing that because their post tandem has been dominant. Zach Randolph has 23 points and 12 rebounds. Marc Gasol has 21 points. Memphis is shooting 54.9 percent.

*Jason Thompson left the game with a sprained right ankle with 2:24 left in the quarter and will not return. That leaves DeMarcus Cousins, Samuel Dalembert and Darnell Jackson as the only healthy bigs for the Kings.

HALFTIMEGrizzlies 56, Kings 49

MEMPHIS, Tenn., -- It was not a good defensive quarter for the Kings, who gave up 33 points and allowed the Grizzlies to make 14 of 21 shots. And to make it worse, Zach Randolph found his way in the second and is up to 15 points and nine rebounds. Samuel Dalembert didn't play most of the quarter so he'll probably draw Randolph at some point in the second half. But Marc Gasol (12 points) is also rolling so someone will have to deal with him, too.

*Apparently Donte Greene has fallen out of the rotation again. Omri Casspi played the entire first half. Casspi had four points, five rebounds and two assists so he certainly wasn't hurting the team when he was on the floor. Still with only two small forwards healthy, it was unusual that Casspi didn't get a break. I guess that means those day sof worrying about Casspi's conditioning are over.

*Beno Udirh has been the best player for the Kings on offense. He has 18 points and four assists, both game highs.

*DeMarcus Cousins has five points, a rebound and two assists in 12 minutes off the bench.

FIRST QUARTERKings 28, Grizzlies 23

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Beno Udrih (14 points, three assists) has the Kings off to a good start. He's made five of seven shots and also grabbed two rebounds.

*Speaking of starts, DeMarcus Cousins was out of the starting lineup, replaced by Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert had five points and six rebounds in the first. Cousins had a turnover in 5.9 seconds of play.

Cousins production isn't nearly as good as a reserve so it will be something to watch tonight. No reason as to why Cousins was benched. Perhaps its' defensive issues.

*The Grizzlies shot 41.7 percent in the first and played most of it without Mike Conley. He picked up two fouls in three minutes and sat out the rest of the quarter.

*Westphal stuck with his starters for a while. All played at least 11 minutes with Omri Casspi and Jermaine Taylor playing the entire quarter. It also helped that the Kings committed just three fouls.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Bobcats 110, Kings 98

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Kings couldn't stay in front of Stephen Jackson (30 points), Gerald Henderson (23 points) or D.J. Augustin (21 points) in losing tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena.

*The Kings also committed 26 fouls and had 18 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Bobcats.

*Neither Paul Westphal or DeMarcus Cousins had much to say on why Cousins was benched 25 seconds into the third quarter.

Westphal didn't want to discuss it but said it was the right thing to do and Cousins said he didn't know why he was benched.

Add that to the list of odd Westphal/Cousins moments this season.

*The Kings had four players with doube-doubles: Jason Thompson (10 points, 13 rebounds), Cousins (13 points, 10 rebounds), Beno Udrih (11 points, 13 assists) and Samuel Dalembert (18 points, 10 rebounds).

The last time that happened for the Kings was Feb. 27, 2003:
Kings 126, Mavericks 124 OT (at Dallas) - Peja Stojakovic 36 points, 10 rebounds; Chris Webber 16 points, 10 rebounds; Keon Clark 12 points, 11 rebounds; Doug Christie 10 points, 10 rebounds.

Last time Kings had four players with double-doubles in a loss was March 16, 1999:
Spurs 121, Kings 109 (at Sacramento): Vlade Divac 18 points, 10 rebounds; Chris Webber 15 points, 14 rebounds; Lawrence Funderburke 15 points, 10 rebounds, Jason Williams 11 points, 10 assists

THIRD QUARTERBobcats 78, Kings 73

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The third quarter started off with a quick substitution. DeMarcus Cousins was benched after 25 seconds. He'd committed his sixth turnover on the opening possession of the quarter. And even though Jason Thompson had just picked up his third foul coach Paul Westphal sat Cousins. So Cousins is stuck on 11 points and nine rebounds.

*The Kings cut the deficit to one after trailing by 10 early in the third. But they couldn't maintain the momentum long enough to take the lead.

*The combination of Stephen Jackson (22 points) and D.J. Augustin (23 points) have been too much for the Kings to deal with. Omri Casspi has been assigned to defend Jackson most of the night and has five fouls.

*Samuel Dalembert has 14 points off the bench to lead the Kings. Thompson has 10 points and 12 rebounds. Beno Udrih has nine points and 11 assists.

HALFTIMEBobcats 52, Kings 44

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Not much good to say about the Kings in the second quarter unless I go with the sarcastic "it could be worse."

*The Kings made six of 22 shots and committed six turnovers in the second quarter. Even though DeMarcus Cousins has some good stats (11 points, nine rebounds) he also has a game-high five turnovers. The Bobcats have four turnovers.

*The Kings would probably be happy with Kwame Brown taking as many shots as Stephen Jackson (10), especially when Brown makes only three. But the Kings have fouled Brown and he's taken a game-high eight free throws. But Brown has made only two. The Kings have been foul prone with 17 in the first half. The Bobcats have been called for six fouls.

*Jackson leads all scorers with 15 points. D.J. Augustin has 10 points while Brown has added eight points and seven rebounds.

FIRST QUARTERKings 30, Bobcats 28

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - DeMarcus Cousins looks a lot more like himself tonight. After two shaky games after the All-Star Breaks, Cousins has 11 points and five rebounds. Cousins played the entire first quarter and didn't pick up a foul.

*The Kings are shooting 57.9 percent but the Bobcats aren't doing badly at 52.2 percent.

*Following up the good ball movement in their win at Orlando (30 assists) the Kings already have eight. Beno Udrih has four assists. The Kings led the entire quarter with the biggest advantage being eight points.

*The Bobcats already have two technical fouls. Stephen Jackson and Kwame Brown each picked one up in the first quarter.

--Jason Jones

February 25, 2011
Thornton ready to contribute

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Admitting "it was kind of shocking" to find out he'd been traded, new Kings guard Marcus Thornton is looking forward to his debut tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats.

After a productive rookie season Thornton's playing time dipped under new coach Monty Williams.

Thornton acknowledged it was time for a fresh start.

"That's the thing I want to happen here," Thornton said after this morning's shootaround. "I feel like a whole new person with a fresh new start. I just want to come in here help them try to win games."

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie spoke with former New Orleans coach and general manager Jeff Bower before making the deal.

Bower drafted Thornton and Thornton played his best as a pro under Bower.

Kings coach Paul Westphal said how the game goes will decide how much Thornton plays.

"I plan on giving him some time and see how it goes," Westphal said.

Not having practiced at all isn't something Thornton sees as a problem and believes he understands what the Kings want to do.

"I think I've got a lot of it," Thornton said. "Some of the offensive plays and some of the defensive schemes are the same that we did in New Orleans so it was kind of easy. Guys showing me around, spots to be in so I think it will be a cool transition."

Injured swingman Marquis Daniels isn't expected to join the team, Westphal said. He was acquired from Boston on Thursday in a move that was done to allow the Kings to make some more money.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Kings acquired swingman Marquis Daniels and cash from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a protected second-round draft choice in 2017.

Daniels hasn't played since Feb. 6 after suffering a bruised spinal cord in a collision with Orlando's Gilbert Arenas. It's not likely that Daniels would play for the Kings this season. It's a deal that helps the Kings out financially.

*Rookie center Hassan Whiteside is "very likely" to have surgery. He's been out for the last couple weeks with a partially torn patellar tendon in his left knee. The Kings are high on his potential but haven't seen much of it on the court this season.

The injured left knee limited him to just one preseason game and a brief appearance in the season opener.

*The Kings didn't deal Samuel Dalembert even though there were plenty inquiries about the veteran center. That's because the Kings would like to re-sign Dalembert after the season.

*Guard Marcus Thornton will be with the Kings at Friday's shootaround. Not sure how much he might play against the Bobcats. That could depend on Jermaine Taylor, who has shown he can score and adds an athletic dimension the Kings have lacked in the backcourt.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

LOS ANGELES - With an earlier deadline than usual, the quotes from Dwyane Wade didn't make the print edition of the newspaper.

Wade left the All-Star Game in the third quarter with an injured right ankle.

Wade's right injury could play a part in Tuesday's game at Miami for the Kings, who will find out today if Tyreke Evans will miss anymore time with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Not that no Wade would make the game one the Kings would be expected to win. There's still some guy named LeBron James who plays for Miami.

Well thanks to the ability to post news at all hours of the night/morning, here's what Wade said after the game about his ankle.

On the injury:

"I'll be fine. It was the All-Star Game. I didn't want to do too much. We have a tough schedule coming up. I just twisted it in the Boston game two days ago, so we want to be cautious."

On whether he's gotten treatment on the ankle during the week:

"No I haven't so I just rolled it a little bit, but I've got pretty strong ankles. So I'm not worried too much, and I'll do everything I can to be ready to go Tuesday."

It that's the care the Kings won't catch a break on South Beach this week.

As for Evans, he's scheduled to see a foot specialist today with news on how to treat the injury expected.

February 17, 2011
Could Taylor play more?

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

LOS ANGELES - With the All-Star break upon us, the lasting (positive) impression the Kings left was the play of Jermaine Taylor in Wednesday's loss at Dallas.

Taylor scored 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a career-high 17 points. Taylor made seven of 12 shots, including three of six from three-point range.

That led to the obvious question: Why hasn't Taylor been playing?

Well everyone knows if they've seen a glimpse of Taylor pregame is he's athletic, a high-flyer. His ability to get on the floor had been hurt largely by his joining the Kings Dec. 15 in a trade with Houston.

There wasn't much practice time. That left Taylor struggling to know what shots he could get in the Kings' offense and when to take them.

Taylor also didn't have much time to figure out where to be on defense.

Taylor said he's progressed in knowing which shots Kings coach Paul Westphal wants from him in the offense.

With no idea of when Tyreke Evans will be available there's a good chance Taylor will have the chance to prove he deserves more than spot duty at the end of blowouts.

The coaching staff likes Taylor's effort. And after Luther Head's 0-for-5, five-minute stint Tuesday in Oklahoma City, there's no hurry to turn back to Head.

By Jason Jones
jjones@sacbee.com

Kings guard Tyreke Evans has been ruled out of the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

The game is part of the NBA All-Star Weekend, which begins Friday.

Evans was MVP of the Rookie-Sophomore game last season.

Evans missed the Kings' last two games with the injury. He is planning to see a foot specialist Monday.

Oklahoma City's James Harden is replacing Evans on the sophomore team.

FINALMavericks 116, Kings 100

DALLAS - This game was over after the Mavericks dominated the last half of the third quarter.

*Eight Mavericks scored in double figures. Jason Kidd led them with 20 points, making six of seven threes. Dirk Nowitizki didn't score in the second half, but didn't need to.

*The Kings committed a season-high 26 turnovers, topping the 25 they had Dec. 23 against Milwaukee. They allowed 38 points off those mistakes, topping the 34 they allowed at Boston Jan. 12.

*The Mavericks made 13 of 26 three pointers. Dallas only attempted six free throws, making three.

*Jermaine Taylor led the Kings with a career-high 17 points. Beno Udrih had 16 points and seven assists. DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

*The Kings will leave Sacramento next Monday morning for their game the following night at Miami. The team will practice in Miami. Tyreke Evans (plantar fasciitis) is scheduled to see a foot specialist in Los Angeles Monday and then join the team in Miami. DeMarcus Cousins will fly from Los Angeles to Miami Sunday. Both are part of the Rookie-Sophomore game. Evans, the MVP from last season's game, hasn't decided if he'll play. He said he would speak with doctors before deciding.

THIRD QUARTERMavericks 96, Kings 76

DALLAS - The Kings had rallied to tie the game, 70-70 at the 6:24 mark, before the Mavericks crushed them. Dallas has made 12 of 21 three pointers tonight and scored 27 points off 17 Sacramento turnovers.

*Jermaine Taylor has a career-high 17 points but he's not nearly enough tonight. Jason Kidd has 20 points for the Mavs. He's made six of seven threes.

*The Mavericks are shooting 57.7 percent (41 of 71). The Kings aren't shooting poorly at 52.6 percent (30 for 57) but the difference in attempts and three pointers is the difference.

HALFTIMEMavericks 61, Kings 48

DALLAS -- The Kings lost to the Mavericks last week, unable to capitalize on a bad game by Dirk Nowitzki. Well Nowitzki is playing well and Kings aren't able to keep up.

Nowitzki has 13 points to lead the Mavericks, who turned a tie game at halftime in a comfortable lead at halftime.

*Jermaine Taylor has tied his career high with 15 points to lead the Kings. Taylor also has four assists. DeMarcus Cousins has nine points and four rebounds.

*The Mavericks received a big boost from their bench. Dallas has 36 bench points. The Kings have 15 bench points, but their bench is shorter than usual because of injuries. Jose Barea has hurt the Kings with seven points and six assists off the bench.

FIRST QUARTERKings 25, Mavericks 25

DALLAS - Luther Head didn't get a chance to hoist up shots quickly tonight.

Jermaine Taylor started for Tyreke Evans (plantar fasciitis) and scored 12 points to lead all scorers. He joined a revamped starting lineup with Beno Udrih, Omri Casspi, Samuel Dalembert and DeMarcus Cousins.

*The Kings shot 50 percent but the Mavs were better at 57.1 percent. The Mavs struggled with turnovers, committing seven in the quarter.

*Rodrigue Beaubois led the Mavs with six points off the bench.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal started Taylor instead of Pooh Jeter because he wanted Jeter to be able to matchup with Dallas backup Jose Barea. Barea had 15 points in the fourth quarter last week in the Mavs' win over the Kings.

--Jason Jones

FINALThunder 130, Kings 96

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings were handed their second-worst defeat of the season. This one came without Tyreke Evans. Only the 33-point defeat to the Lakers Dec. 3 in Los Angeles was worse.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal said he doesn't know who the starters will be tomorrow night at Dallas. That means DeMarcus Cousins, who was going to come off the bench until at least after the All-Star break, could start. That decision will be made depending on how Evans feels. Westphal said Evans is doubtful at this point.

*The Kings would have been giddy if they'd known Kevin Durant would shoot 5-for-18, missing seven of his eight three pointers. Problem was most of the Thunder had a good game. Daequan Cook came off the bench to lead the Thunder with 20 points. Seven players scored in double figures for Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook had a game-high 11 assists.

*Cousins led the Kings with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Pooh Jeter had 13 points and seven assists off the bench.

THIRD QUARTERThunder 100, Kings 75

OKLAHOMA CITY - Not much to say about this game, but I guess I could point at the poor defense by the Kings.

*The Thunder has scored at least 30 points in each quarter. Oklahoma City is shoting 51.4 percent.

*The Thunder is getting plenty of good looks. Oklahoma City has 28 fast-break points, making 10 of 11 shots on the break. The Thunder also has 44 points in the paint and have made 22 of 23 free throws.

*Oklahoma City has struggled with turnovers in recent losses but has only eight giveaways.

*The Kings are shooting 38.8 percent for the game.

HALFTIMEThunder 68, Kings 50

OKLAHOMA CITY - DeMarcus Cousins looks just fine. He has 14 points and 11 rebounds. But overall there's not much to like about the Kings tonight.

*The Kings are shooting 37.5 percent and allowing Oklahoma City to shoot 53.3 percent. The Kings have trailed by as much as 25 points in the first half.

*Kevin Durant and Jeff Green each have 13 points for the Thunder. Any other time the Kings would be thrilled with Durant's total, considering he's missed eight of 11 shots. But it's hard to be too excited about that down 18.

*Pooh Jeter took over for Luther Head 5:10 into the game and played the rest of the half. He has 10 points and four assists. Omri Casspi also has 10 points.

*The Kings have only six turnovers, but have allowed 23 fast-break points.

FIRST QUARTERThunder 37, Kings 24

OKLAHOMA CITY - With Tyreke Evans (plantar fasciitis) out and DeMarcus Cousins starting the game on the bench, the Kings fell behind quickly. The Kings fell behind 17-4 forcing Kings coach Paul Westphal quickly turn to Cousins and Cal Landry in favor of Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson. Pooh Jeter replaced Luther Head, who started for Evans moments later.

It didn't matter much. Oklahoma City is doing whatever it wants right now.

It's been a little bit of everyone chipping in for the Thunder. Kevin Durant only has eight points.

-Jason Jones

February 15, 2011
Evans out tonight at OKC

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tyreke Evans will not play tonight when the Kings face the Oklahoma City Thunder because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

This is the second game Evans will miss with the injury that's bothered him to some degree all season. Evans missed a Dec. 14 game in Houston. Evans missed three games with a sprained left ankle last month.

Evans leads the Kings in scoring and assists this season.

Luther Head will start in place of Evans.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

OKLAHOMA CITY - Kings coach Paul Westphal said after this morning's shootaround Samuel Dalembert would remain in the starting lineup the final two games of the Kings' three-game road trip.

Westphal said DeMarcus Cousins' playing time wouldn't necessarily be affected. Cousins re-joined the team Monday night after being left in Sacramento after a postgame fight with Donte Greene Saturday after a loss to Oklahoma City.

"It's not really a discipline thing but DeMarcus has missed a few days in a row," Westphal said. "I think we'll bring him off the bench and after that we'll re-evaluate everything."

Cousins said he was fine with the decision.

"Yeah," Cousins said. "I'm cool with that."

Cousins' scoring drops significantly when he comes off the bench. He's averaging 15.7 points as a starter in 35 games. In 15 games as a reserve Cousins averages 9.5 points.

The rookie's rebounding drops from 8.4 per game as a starter to 7.4 off the bench.

Photo: DeMarcus Cousins leaves the court late in the 4th quarter after he and Maverick Tyson Chandler were assets technical fouls.

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins has been fined for the locker-room altercation with teammate Donte Greene following Saturday night's 99-97 loss to Oklahoma City, the team said Monday.

Cousins was fined one game's pay, approximately $41,000 of his nearly $3.4 million salary.

Cousins was not suspended, according to Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, and he will be in uniform for Tuesday night's game in Oklahoma City. Greene was not disciplined.

Cousins wasn't allowed to join the team for its charter flight to Phoenix following the altercation with Greene. Cousins was angry after the loss because Greene did not inbound the ball to him on the final possession. The exchange became heated in the locker room and Cousins and Greene had to be separated. Greene said after Saturday's loss that he saw Cousins on the final play but thought if he passed to him it might have led to a turnover. Greene passed instead to Tyreke Evans, who missed a three-point attempt with .08 seconds left.

The Kings upset the Suns 113-108 on Sunday night without Cousins.

PHOENIX - There will be a resolution to the DeMarcus Cousins-Donte Greene incident sometime Monday.

Cousins is still in Sacramento where he will meet with basketball president Geoff Petrie. Officially, Cousins was not suspended for Sunday's game against the Phoenix.

Here's the full response from Kings coach Paul Westphal when I asked him about Greene being available for the game even though he was part of the altercation:

"First of all nobody has said there's a conclusion to this. I'm not commenting at all on what happened after the game. Obviously something happened. Obviously this is not DeMarcus' first time with any kind of incident and there are no prior incidents with Donte'. So in our preliminary dealings with this situation we felt that it was appropriate to handle it the way we have. We want all the facts, to do all the homework and be completely fair with everybody and if there's appropriate further action involving anybody we can take it at that time. But we don't want to shoot first and ask questions later. We want to make sure we're doing everything in the right order."

Greene said he was fine and ready to move on from the incident. He assured me he was fine and that too much was being made of the situation.

Greene said he didn't have a problem with Cousins.

"You only live once, man," Greene said. "And I was always taught to never hold grudges. Love the Lord, do what you're supposed to do and you'll be all right."
.

--Jason Jones

February 13, 2011
In-game blog (Kings at Suns)

FINAL
Kings 113, Suns 108

PHOENIX - The Kings ended their five-game losing streak thanks to an effort that included key plays from just about anyone who played.

*Samuel Dalembert scored 18 points and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds. Carl Landry had 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Donte Greene had 19 points off the bench. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 21 points and seven assists. Beno Udrih also had seven assists.

*The Kings opened the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 93-83 lead with 6:03 to play. The Kings stayed in control with some of the best execution they've had in the fourth quarter this season.

*The Kings overcame 22 points and 18 assists from Steve Nash and 20 points and 12 rebounds from backup center Marcin Gortat.

*The Suns had won 10 in a row over the Kings in Phoenix. Sacrameont's last win here came Nov. 6, 2005. The Kings became the first Pacific Division team other than the Lakers to beat the Suns in Phoenix since the start of the 2007-08 season.

*The Kings have won three consecutive road games. They haven't done that since the 2007-08 season.

*More to come on the Kings postgame scuffle Saturday night.


THIRD QUARTER
Suns 81, Kings 78

PHOENIX - The Kings had their best defensive quarter of the game, holding Phoenix to 24 points. Carl Landry led the way, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the third. Landry missed all six of his shots in the first half but made five of seven in the third.

*The Kings used a 14-4 run to take a 68-67 lead with 4:30 left in the quarter.

*Steve Nash is rolling with 11 points and 15 assists for the Suns. Marcin Gortat has 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Suns.

*Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 21 points. Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry are tied for the game-high with nine rebounds. Dalembert played the third without picking up a fourth foul.

HALFTIME
Suns 57, Kings 50

PHOENIX - Because of foul trouble the Kings didn't have a size advantage to exploit.

Samuel Dalembert played 6:56 of the first quarter before picking up his third fould. Jason Thompson picked up three before halftime, too. That left Darnell Jackson to play center the last half of the second quarter. Jackson had five points and a rebound.

*The Kings are outrebounding the Suns, 27-17, with 11 offensive rebounds. But they're shooting just 40.8 percent and have only nine second-chance points. The Suns are shooting 51.2 percent.

*Without DeMarcus Cousins here and the Kings' bigs in foul trouble the best center has been Marcin Gortat. He had 12 points off the bench for Phoenix. Steve Nash has seven points and nine assists for the Suns.

*Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 16 points. Thompson has eight points and six rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Suns 32, Kings 30

*The Kings led by 10, 17-7, only to fall behind 32-23 before closing the quarter on a 7-0 run.

*Tyreke Evans is off to a fast start with a game-high 12 points. Jason Thompson is also going well with eight points.

*Steve Nash is being Steve Nash with seven points and five assists.

*Not having DeMarcus Cousins is already a problem. Samuel Dalembert picked up three fouls in the first quarter. Logic would dictate that he's done for the first half. Jason Thompson moved to center without Dalembert. Carl Landry and Darnell Jackson are the only bigs on the bench so Donte Greene might be used as a power forward. Against smaller Suns lineups that won't be too much of a problem in terms of a matchup. Dalembert had six rebounds in the quarter.

--Jason Jones

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was left in Sacramento and did not make the trip with the team after Saturday night's game to Phoenix.

When Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie returns from scouting college players Sunday to decide whether to suspend Cousins, according to a team spokesman. Cousins could join the Kings in Phoenix later today.

Cousins had an altercation in the locker room with Donte' Greene over his decision to give the ball to Tyreke Evans in the final seconds of the Kings' 99-97 loss to Oklahoma City.

Cousins believes he was open on the final play and that Greene should have given him the ball instead of deferring to Evans.

Cousins and Greene exchanged words and had to be separated.

I spoke to Greene about the decision to give the ball to Evans after the game.

He said Cousins wasn't open, something Kings coach Paul Westphal agreed with after the game.

Here's what Westphal said:

"We had Omri and Beno cutting to opposite corners and Tyreke setting a back pick for DeMarcus and Donte inbounding the ball to see who was open. He was going to get it to whoever was open and get it in and spread the floor and attack since we only had five seconds to go. We tried to get a two if we could but a three would be fine. DeMarcus was kind of open but would have been kind of risky. Tyreke had a good look at a three and it just didn't go in."

Here's the link to the final play here. Go to the 2:20 mark to see the final play.

This is the fourth incident involving Cousins that has gone public. Cousins was fined before the season after a verbal altercation with the team's strength and conditioning coach.

Cousins was kicked out of practice in November after clashing with Westphal. He was also benched for making a choking getsure at Golden State guard Reggie Williams while he was a the free throw line.

--Jason Jones

FINALThunder 99, Kings 97

*Tyreke Evans missed a three pointer with 0.8 seconds to play and Omri Casspi missed a tip-in at the buzzer. The Kings rallied from 13 points down in the fourth to have a chance to tie or win after Kevin Durant missed two free throws with 5.8 seconds to play. The Thunder led 89-76 with 8:01 to play.

*Evans got a clean look at the basket but it was just short. After driving and not getting a foul call Wednesday against Dallas, looked like Evans wasn't risking leaving the game up to the officials. I couldn't ask Evans about the shot because he had already left the locker room when reporters entered for interviews. After never doing that as a rookie or this season, Evans has down that twice in the last three games.

*When asked if he ever thought about taking the ball out of Evans' hands late, Kings coach Paul Westphal said the final play wasn't drawn up specifically for Evans and that Donte Greene had options inbounding the ball. Evans became the best option because he was open and the Thunder took away DeMarcus Cousins in the post.

*Evans finished with 30 points and nine rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Durant led all scorers with 35 points. Omri Casspi had 14 points and nine rebounds.

*The Kings have lost five in a row and went 1-5 on their homestand. Their next seven games are on the road.

*The turnovers were the difference tonight. The Kings had 19 that led to 26 points for Oklahoma City. The Kings aren't good enough to give a team as good as the Thunder that many points of turnovers, but they nearly overcame it.

THIRD QUARTERThunder 75, Kings 72

*DeMarcus Cousins picked up three fouls in 3:49 but the Kings managed to close the game with out him. Tyreke Evans scored seven points in the third. Samuel Dalembert replaced Cousins and chipped in six points. Evans leads the Kings with 20 points.

*Though the shot a combined four for 13 in the third, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each managed to score seven points.

Durant leads all scorers with 25 points. Westbrook has 22 points. No other Thunder player has scored in double figures.

*The Kings were able to cut into the lead in part by not giving away the ball. After 11 first-half turnovers, the Kings had only three in the third.

*If the Kings could win this game it would be a nice way to close Arco Arena. The next time the Kings play here the building will be officially known as Power Balance Pavilion.

(Correction: The Kings have one more game here against the Clippers before Arco becomes PBP).

HALFTIME Thunder 54, Kings 45

*The Thunder is a much better team than the Kings and Sacramento, but the Kings are helping the Thunder with 11 turnovers. Oklahoma City has 13 points off those turnovers.

*Oklahoma City's All Stars are too much for the Kings. Kevin Durant has 18 points. Russell Westbrook has 15 points. Westbrook has been active defensively with two steals.

*Tyreke Evans has 13 points and three assists to lead the Kings. But he also has three turnovers. DeMarcus Cousins has nine points six rebounds.

*This has been Carl Landry's best game off the bench in a few games. He has eight points and two rebounds. Landry's playing time has been impacted by the Kings using Cousins and Dalembert in the game together.


FIRST QUARTERThunder 27, Kings 24

*Kevin Durant is really good. Not that we didn't know that, but he's showing that with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in the first quarter. He's the NBA's leading scorer and showing why, making five of seven shots.

*The Kings led by as many as eight points before Durant got going. Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with eight points. DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi each have six points.

*The Kings are on pace for 16 turnovers, which also helped the Thunder get back in the game. Oklahoma City has seven points off those turnovers. The Thunder has one turnover.

*The difference is a halfcourt shot by Eric Maynor at the buzzer to end the first. Maynor is one of the guards the Kings have been rumored to have interest in via trade. Before the game Kings coach Paul Westphal said he didn't' expect the Kings to make a deal before the Feb. 24 trading deadline.

Then again, didn't we think this time a year ago that Kevin Martin wasn't going anywhere?

--Jason Jones

FINALMavericks 102, Kings 100

A few things didn't workout in the fourth quarter for the Kings.

*They couldn't stop Jose Barea, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth.

*DeMarcus Cousins was ejected for two technical fouls (more on that later).

*Tyreke Evans couldn't produce the basket or pass late that could have won the game.

Let's start with Barea.

The Kings have struggled defending the perimeter of the season. Barea exploited that in the fourth. The Kings used Pooh Jeter and Evans on Barea, but he still managed to score on drives and made a big three pointer over Cousins late.

Barea was good in the pick-and-roll against the Kings defense and even grabbed a key offensive rebound late.

Barea wasn't the only guard that was good for Dallas (37-15). Jason Terry had 22 points and Jason Kings hit four threes in scoring 14 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists.

The Mavericks won their 10th in a row by doing what good teams do and find a way to win when their star might be off. Dirk Nowitzki only had 10 points and missed 10 of his 14 shots.

Then there was Cousins and the technical fouls.

By the letter of the rule as explained to the media and players before the season, his first technical was the correct call. It came with 7:16 left in the game when he ran way to protest the ball being given to the Mavericks out-of-bounds instead of the Kings.

The call was reversed the call but the technical foul stood. It's part of the respect the game emphasis that says even if the call is wrong, the player is not to upstage the officials.

The second technical looked like a really bad call. It looked like all Cousins did was get hit in the face while fighting for position under the basket with Tyson Chandler. Problem is that first technical meant Cousins was done for the night. That played a big part in the end of the game, in my opinion.

With no Cousins to run a play for late, the Kings went to Evans, who drove into Chandler and missed an off-balance shot in the lane. The Kings wanted a foul call, but they didn't get it.
Evans said after the game there wasn't much contact on his wrist and that he probably should have pulled up for a short jumper.

When Evans drove the Mavericks were waiting on him with Chandler and Nowitzki - two seven footers - protecting the basket.

If Cousins is around, perhaps the Kings can get a better shot by going through Cousins who was dominating (19 points, 15 rebounds) and is also a great passer.

Evans nearly had a triple double (16 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) but shot 6-of-19.

*One final note. The Kings got a big lift from their bench against one of the best benches in the NBA.

Samuel Dalembert scored a season-high 20 points. Luther Head also added 12 points along with being charged with chasing Terry most of the night.

THIRD QUARTERMavericks 74, Kings 73

The Kings answered the Mavericks' strong second quarter by coming out strong after halftime.

Much like he did against Utah, DeMarcus Cousins set the pace for the Kings out of halftime.

Cousins dominated the third quarter with 12 points and six rebounds. He's up to 16 points and 11 rebounds

Evans is got back into a rhythm without scoring in the quarter. He had four assists, two rebounds and is approaching his first triple double of the season.

Evans has eight points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Jason Terry leads the Mavs with 14 points.

HALFTIMEMavericks 56, Kings 47

Jason Terry has reprised his role of nemesis.

He has 12 points off the bench to lead Dallas which leads largely because of the play of their bench.

The Mavericks have 29 points from their bench.

*Dallas closed the quarter on an 11-2 run. Brian Cardinal made a tree at the buzzer.

*The Kings' bench hasn't been bad. Sacramento has 23 bench points led by Samuel Dalembert's eight. Luther Head has seven. Head is playing tonight so that he can defend Terry.

Head did a decent job on Terry in his 8:50 on the floor. Terry played 16:47 of the first half.

*Tyreke Evans' impersonation of Jason Kidd wasn't as strong in the second quarter. Evans didn't score or record an assist in the quarter. He did grab a rebound to give him eight points, six rebounds and five assists.


FIRST QUARTER
Kings 28, Mavericks 20

Tyreke Evans is doing a good impersonation of Jason Kidd. He has eight points, five rebounds and five assists already.

Evans isn't settling for jumpers and has been able to finish in the lane. And he's found teammates well to start the game.

*The Kings have encountered some good fortune in how the Mavs have been scoring. Their leading scorers are Brendan Haywood (seven points) and Tyson Chandler (six points). Dirk Nowitzki hasn't scored.

Safe to say the Kings have a chance of winning if Chandler and Haywood are the leading scorers.

It also helps that Dallas is shooting 31.8 percent (7-of-22).

The Kings are shooting 59.1 percent (13-of-22).

Odds are the Mavericks won't shoot that bad all night at the Kings will eventually cool off. But I've been wrong about the Kings' shooting before.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Jazz 107, Kings 104

It was yet another fourth-quarter letdown for the Kings.

Omri Casspi said his three pointer with 3.9 seconds slipped out of his hand, which is why he missed so badly.

But it shouldn't have come down to that shot. The Kings (12-36) contributed to their own demise with 20 turnovers that led to 25 points for Utah.

DeMarcus Cousins posted game highs of 25 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out wiht 22.2 seconds to play. Tyreke Evans finished with 21 points but also had a game-high six turnovers.

Al Jefferson led Utah (31-22) with 23 points. Deron Williams added 21 points and nine assists.

Neither Evans or Cousins stuck around for reporters. Evans ducked out a side door before answering questions. Cousins has perfected the art of not being around lately after games. But that usually happens after he plays bad.

In spite of the fouls, Cousins played well.

THIRD QUARTER Kings 87, Jazz 80

Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins were the best players on the court in the third. Cousins had 11 points and eight rebounds in the third. Evans scored 13 points in the third to help the Kings extend their lead.

Cousins stayed out of foul trouble, picking up just one in the quarter.

Cousins is up to 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cousins also had the only two assists for the Kings in the third.

Evans' big third gives him 10 points, matching the 19 points by Utah's Deron Williams.

At center, Cousins is a point off the pace set by Al Jefferson with 19, but he's beating Jefferson on the boards. Jefferson has only two rebounds.

HALFTIME Kings 56, Jazz 55

The Kings are getting everyone involved tonight. All 10 players that have played have scored.

How's this for balance? Five Kings have made at least three shots and no one has taken more than five shots.

If not for 12 turnovers that led to 16 points for Utah, the Kings might be leading comfortably.

Going into the third quarter there are some concerns. Utah guard Deron Williams started to have a bigger impact. He made all three of his field goals and is up to 11 points to go with six assists.

Utah is also shooting 54.5 percent. If the Kings cut down their turnovers Utah's shooting figures to get worse as the game progresses.

Omri Casspi leads the Kings with nine points on three made three pointers. DeMarcus Cousins, Beno Udrih and Samuel Dalembert each have seven points. Dalembert also has a game-high six rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER Kings 30, Jazz 30

Early on Al Jefferson is giving DeMarcus Cousins a lesson on scoring in the post.

Jefferson used good footwork to beat Cousins for two early baskets and made six of eight for a game-high 12 points.

Cousins, meanwhile is in foul trouble, picking up both on the offensive end. That left him with just two points and playing only 4:42 of the first quarter.

Jefferson isn't known to be a solid defender but if Cousins is in foul trouble Jefferson won't have to play much defense.

The Kings did get seven points from Samuel Dalembert in place of Cousins but the Kings aren't going to run plays for him like they would for Cousins.

And it would help the Kings if they didn't hurt themselves. Sacramento already has eight turnovers, leading to 12 points for the Jazz.

Neither team will brag on their defense to start the game. The Kings are shooting 60 percent. Utah is shooting 59.1 percent.

--Jason Jones

Kings forward Jason Thompson practiced Saturday after being out with a sprained right ankle. Barring a setback during Sunday's practice, Thompson will start Monday when the Kings host the Utah Jazz.

The only Kings not practicing today were Francisco Garcia (calf) and Hassan Whiteside (knee).

The focus in practice today was pick-and-roll defense a day after the San Antonio Spurs used the pick-and-roll to jump out to a big lead in Friday's win over Sacramento.

The team will practice Sunday at 11 a.m., giving players the chance to watch the Super Bowl.

At last count, Tyreke Evans remains the most vocal supporter of Pittsburgh. Carl Landry and Pooh Jeter are behind Green Bay.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Spurs 113, Kings 100

The Spurs never trailed in cruising to their second win a row and improving to a league-best 42-8.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 25 points and seven assists. Rookie Tiago Splitter had 16 points and tied his season-high with nine rebounds off the bench.

The Spurs shot 57.1 percent which allowed them to overcome 18 turnovers. The Kings never recovered from falling behind early.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings (12-35) with 25 points. Beno Udrih finished with 18 points. The bench might have been the most impressive part of the night for the Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins never got going on offense (seven points) but grabbed 10 rebounds.

Carl Landry scored 17 points off the bench. Pooh Jeter had 10 points and six assists. Darnell Jackson had 11 points and six rebounds.

It was second consecutive loss for the Kings.

THIRD QUARTERSpurs 91, Kings 75

The Kings pulled within 12 points late in the third, but the Spurs have been too good tonight. Evan though they committed seven turnovers in the third, they've been able to stay control of the game.

Tim Duncan is up to 12 points and will probably sit out the fourth quarter. Duncan has played just 12 minutes, 47 seconds tonight.

Tony Parker leads San Antonio with 20 points.

Tyreke Evans leads all scorers with 21 points.


HALFTIMESpurs 61, Kings 43

It doesn't matter if the Spurs use the starters or go to the bench, the Kings can't keep up.

The Kings saw a lot of George Hill, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal in the second quarter. Splitter now has nine points and six rebounds. Hill has eight points. Neal has seven points.

The Spurs two All Stars haven't had to do much. Tim Duncan has played only six minutes (four points, one rebound). Manu Ginobili has four points and five assists.

Beno Udrih leads the Kings with 11 points. Tyreke Evans is up to nine points but has missed six of nine from the floor.

And even when the Kings do things right, they can't capitalize. They've forced eight turnovers, but have only a point off them. The Spurs meanwhile have turned eight Kings' turnovers into 12 points.

FIRST QUARTERSpurs 34, Kings 19

From a Kings perspective, the best part of tonight's game has been a couple of fans behind me who are some the better hecklers I've heard at Arco Arena this season.

The best line came when Spurs guard Tony Parker checked out with 12 points which was followed by a "Six of those points belong to Eva!"

Always nice to know someone's divorce is fodder for heckling.

On the court the Spurs don't' look like a team overlooking the Kings after their big win over the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night.

San Antonio has made 14 of 24 shots (58.3 percent) and been solid on defense. The Kings are shooting seven of 21 (33.3 percent) and the Spurs have 10 points off Kings' turnovers.

Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins each missed four of their five shots. Evans leads the Kings with five points.

--Jason Jones


Should have posted this a few hours ago but got tied up with interviews and turning in work for the print edition. But here's the latest on Darnell Jackson and Hassan Whiteside.

Jackson underwent tests at UC Davis Medical Center and was diagnosed with costochondritis (inflammation of the rib cartilage) and has been cleared to practice Thursday.

Jackson left Tuesday's game at halftime with shortness of breath. He was on the court for a few minutes at the end of the second quarter being looked at by Kings medical staff.

Whiteside's problematic left knee has a tear in the patellar tendon. He will miss two weeks and be re-evaluated.

A strained left patellar tendon cost Whiteside most of training camp.

Francisco Garcia (strained left calf) and Jason Thompson (sprained right ankle) are listed as out for Friday's game against San Antonio. But in speaking to Thompson, he sounds as if he'd like to play Friday if he doesn't have any setbacks.

--Jason Jones

The scariest moment of Tuesday's game against the Boston Celtics occurred at the end of the first half.

I looked down to tweet the halftime score and some quick stats when I looked up and saw Kings forward Darnell Jackson near midcourt on his knees in a position that made it look as if he was praying.

Soon Kings medical staff was running over to check on Jackson.

Jackson was on his back, pointing at his chest while Kings trainer Pete Youngman knelt over him.

Having grown up in Southern California I remember the Hank Gathers tragedy. And most basketball fans know the story of Celtics star Reggie Lewis' death.

Fortunately it never got to that point as Jackson was able to walk off the court. Officially, Jackson was said to have experienced shortness of breath. Jackson didn't return to the sidelines in the second half.

"I don't have particulars" said Kings coach Paul Westphal after the game "I know that he was held out because it was the wise thing to do when something happens like that. The doctors don't think that it's anything that won't check out okay but you always check somebody out."

Hopefully there is an update and good news at practice Wednesday.

*As for the game, the Kings certainly didn't embarrass themselves against the Celtics. The Kings lost, 95-90, and showed why the Celtics didn't take them lightly.

DeMarcus Cousins received the kind of treatment reserved for the best in the league from the Celtics.

That meant Kevin Garnett was focused on Cousins. Cousins still managed to score 20 points, but it wasn't easy.

"Cousins had been playing well," Garnett said. "All the fours on this trip had been playing really well. Cousins, LA and up in Portland, this guy has been having some unbelievable stretches, you know with 25, 12 and seven assists (vs. New Orleans). Young boy is playing really well. So I was more locked in slowing him down tonight, giving him different looks."


Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't like that his second unit blew their early lead but did credit the Kings for their effort.

"When you get a young team down early like we did, you have to keep them down," Rivers said. "We allowed them back in the game. They played hard. They are a fun, young team, a tough team to play on the road."

*The week doesn't get any easier for the Kings. After playing the leaders in the Eastern Conference (Boston), the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs will be at Arco Arena Friday.

The Kings could be catching the Spurs at a good time (which is crazy to say about a team that is 40-8) but the Spurs will be playing their third game in four nights when they visit Arco.

San Antonio lost Tuesday at Portland and plays the Lakers Thursday in Los Angeles.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 102, Hornets 96

The Kings ended the Hornets' 10-game winning streak by holding off a late rally for the second night in a row.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 25 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high seven assists.

After sitting most of the third quarter with foul trouble, Tyreke Evans scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. Evans also had six assists.

The Kings (12-33)have won cosecutive games for the second time this season and led wire-to-wire. It's the first time the Kings have swept back-to-back games this season. The Kings won at the Lakers Friday.

In addition to Cousins, Samuel Dalembert had another good game with 16 points and six rebounds off the bench.

David West led the Hornets (31-17) with 21 points on eight of 21 shooting. Chris Paul had 10 points and seven assists.

THIRD QUARTERKings 76, Hornets 67

The third featured the return of Luther Head to the rotation. That happened because Tyreke Evans had to watch most of the third quarter with five fouls. Evans picked up two fouls in the less than three minutes into the third.

The Kings were able to stay in the lead without Evans with Luther Head stepping in and scoring five points in the quarter.

Samuel Dalembert started the half in place of Jason Thompson (sprained right ankle) and scored seven of his nine points in the third.

DeMarcus Cousins leads the Kings with 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The six assists tie the rookie's season high.

David West has 16 points and seven rebounds for New Orleans. Chris Paul has 14 points and six assists.

HALFTIMEKings 56, Hornets 46

DeMarcus Cousins is still on a roll.

He leads all scorers with 19 points. Cousins also has a game-high six rebounds and is tied with Chris Paul with five assists.

The Kings extended their lead to 17 during the second and are shooting 57.5 percent in the half.

Paul figures to get aggressive on offense if the Kings continue to control the game. Paul has taken only two shots and has just six points. I imagine the plan isn't for Emeka Okafor to take twice as many shots as Paul all night.

David West leads New Orleans with 15 points.

The Kings will be without Jason Thompson the rest of the game. He was ruled out with a sprained right ankle.

FIRST QUARTERKings 24, Hornets 22

DeMarcus Cousins hasn't cooled off after his stellar showing Friday night in Los Angeles.

Cousins has 10 points, three rebound and three assists to start the game. His jump shots have been smooth and barely moving the net when they go in.

Tyreke Evans has nine points and three assists for the Kings.

The Kings led by as many as nine thanks to some good shooting (55 percent). The Hornets are hanging around because all five starters have scored and each starter has an assist.

David West leads the Hornets with seven points.

The Hornets are on a 10-game winning streak so if the Kings pull this off, it will be their best week of basketball all season. They'd be 3-1, with three wins over winning teams.

--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - Some postgame notes and quotes after some time to reflect on the Kings' most impressive win of the season.

*The Lakers have Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia to blame for what DeMarcus Cousins did to them.

Cousins was the best big man on the floor at Staples Center Friday night, looking more like Pau Gasol than Gasol did in the Kings' 100-95 win.

"Tyreke has been complaining to me all year to just shoot the shot," Cousins said. "Just
shoot it. And Francisco told me to come out and be aggressive (Friday night). That's what I did."

The rookie's 27-point effort was more impressive than the 28 points he scored against Phoenix because it came against one of the best frontlines in the NBA.

Cousins made six of his first seven shots. The start was similar to what he did Monday in Portland except Cousins wasn't in foul trouble.

Cousins played 32 minutes and was called for only one foul. Cousins did so while still being aggressive on defense.

*The Cousins-Samuel Dalembert combination has figured prominently in the last three wins.

Dalembert's ability to defend Amar'e Stoudemire, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol frees Cousins of foul trouble (even though Cousins still found foul trouble in Portland with cheap fouls away from the basket).

The bonus has been Dalembert able to score in the wins. He had 18 points against the Lakers and 15 points against the Trail Blazers.

*Looking back at the last three wins for the Kings, they've all been on the road against teams with winning records (New York, Portland, Lakers).

It's something Lakers coach Phil Jackson noted before the game in saying the Lakers
The win ended an eight-game losing streak to the Lakers.

That's what makes Kings hard to figure out. They can't hold leads against Detroit and Golden State on the road or Portland at home, but can look so poised on the road against good teams.

*The test of how much the Kings have matured will be tonight. It won't be based on if the Kings win or lose against New Orleans, it will be about their effort.

If the Kings treat beating the Lakers as the pinnacle of the season, they could easily be embarrassed by the Hornets, who have won 10 in a row and 15 of 19.

The Hornets haven't played since winning at Golden State on Wednesday.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 100, Lakers 95

LOS ANGELES - The Kings pulled off their biggest win of the season in beating the Lakers at Staples Center.

The Kings withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant thanks to balanced scoring led by DeMarcus Cousins with 27 points.

The Kings had their 20-point lead cut to three, but held off a late surge led by Bryant and Shannon Brown (17 points).

The Kings (11-33) host New Orleans tomorrow night at Arco Arena.

THIRD QUARTERKings 85, Lakers 71

LOS ANGELES - The Kings jumped on the Lakers big in the third, leading by as many as 20 points. The bigs of Sacramento are outplaying their counterparts in a big way.

DeMarcus Cousins has 24 points. Samuel Dalembert has come off the bench with 17 points, his season-high.

Meanwhile Pau Gasol has only six points and seven rebounds. Andrew Bynum has eight points. Lamar Odom hasn't made a field goal and has four points.

Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 28 points. The only other Laker in double figures is Shannon Brown with 11.

The Kings are shooting 58.5 percent.

HALFTIMEKings 59, Lakers 55

LOS ANGELES - DeMarcus Cousins vs. Kobe Bryant.

They're not defending each other, but the first to cool off could put their team in position to lose.

Cousins has 22 points, making nine of 13 shots. He also has five rebounds.

Bryant sat all but 4:24 of the second quarter. He leads all scorers with 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting.

The Kings have been the aggressors. They have a 20-14 rebounding advantage, including eight offensive rebounds.

The Kings are shooting 59.1 percent. The Lakers are at 52.6 percent.

FIRST QUARTERLakers 33, Kings 30

LOS ANGELES - The first quarter was entertaining with some history mixed in.

The Kings shot well (70 percent) but the Lakers were better (72.2 percent). DeMarcus Cousins scored 12 points and Omri Casspi had 10 for the Kings, but they weren't the stars of the quarter.

Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwon for eighth all-time in NBA scoring on a dunk with 3:29 left in the quarter.

Bryant needed 13 to reach 26,947 to pass Olajuwon and finished with 21 points in the quarter.

The Cousins-Andrew Bynum matchup at center is an interesting one.

Bynum has just four points, but what jumps out is the size difference. It makes me wonder if Cousins might eventually be better suited to play power forward, especially with the shooting touch he's shown tonight.

Cousins missed just one of his seven shots and looked good scoring with his jumper. Cousins has only one foul so he hasn't killed his own momentum.

--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - Kings forward Carl Landry apologized to the team and coaching staff Thursday for his comments that appeared in a column in Thursday's Bee.

Landry, a team captain, did not want his comments to be seen as attacks on coaches or teammates.

"I would never do anything or say anything to harm this team or this organization or anybody that's involved, the fans," he said.

In the column by Ailene Voisin Landry talked about the team's troubles, including the lack of movement in the Kings' offense, one-on-one of play and his frustration playing on a losing team.

"We've got a great coach in Coach (Paul) Westphal that wants nothing but the best from this team and this organization and his players," Landry said after practice. "And I'm so happy to have the opportunity to play for this team, so happy to have the opportunity to play for Coach Westphal and the coaching staff and the Sacramento Kings."

Westphal said after practice the Kings want to share the ball.

I can vouch for that. In my seat (which is usually near Westhphal) I can hear him call for ball movement during games. When it doesn't happen I can hear him get on the players for it.

"We teach team basketball we strive for team basketball, we run so many plays that create cutting and slashing opportunities," Westphal said. "We're not a one-on-one team. Sometimes we tend to play too much one-on-one and we're working on that. We're a work in progress. We're proud of how hard we're playing and competing and how our team is trying to play together."

Vote for Reke

Click here to vote Tyreke Evans into the Skills Challenge for NBA All Star Weekend.

Evans said after practice today he'd rather watch the Skills Challenge, which guarantees Kings fans will vote repeatedly to get Evans in. He said he'd play if voted in.

Evans also didn't rule out playing in the Rookie-Sophomore game. He's almost assured to be picked for the sophomore team with DeMarcus Cousins likely to make the rookie team.

Evans had indicated earlier that he might skip the game to rest his foot, which has been bothered by plantar fasciitis this season.

--Jason Jones

FINALBobcats 94, Kings 89

Stephen Jackson led all scorers with 21 points as the Bobcats knocked off the Kings.

The Kings shot just 36 percent. Tyreke Evans and Carl Landry each had 19 points for the Kings.

Kwame Brown grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds for the Bobcats. Meanwhile Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins fouled out with 6:18 to play with nine points and three rebounds.

THIRD QUARTERBobcats 76, Kings 67

The Kings are still shooting poorly (33.8 percent) and fouling a lot (23). So it's no surprise the Kings haven't been able to rally even though they have just five turnovers.

Kwame Brown has controlled the paint with 15 rebounds to go with 11 points for Charlotte. Stephen Jackson (17 points) and D.J. Augustin (16 points) are lead the offense for the Bobcats.

After a great game for Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih last night in Portland, the duo is struggling. They are shooting six of 24 combined. Evans has 13 points and Udrih ahs four.

HALFTIMEBobcats 52, Kings 42

This is still a hard game to watch with little flow for the Kings. They have 16 fouls and only 15 field goals while shooting 31.9 percent.

Every player for the Kings has at least one foul. Beno Udrih and DeMarcus Cousins each have three fouls. Charlotte has 12 fouls in the first half.

If the Kings weren't struggling enough with their own play, Gerald Wallace got going in second quarter, scoring 10 of his 13 points.

The Bobcats are shooting 50 percent and have taken advantage of the fouls, making 16 of 20 free throws.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with nine points.

FIRST QUARTERBobcats 21, Kings 19

The first quarter had plenty of stops. There were 17 fouls called and both teams were in the penalty in less than five minutes.

Charlottes' Eduardo Najera leads the way with three fouls. Omri Casspi, DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans all have three fouls for the Kings.

In between the fouls there were a lot of missed shots.

The Kings are shooting six of 22 (27.3 percent). The Bobcats are shooting six for 16 (37.5 percent).

Because of all the fouls and missed shots the game doesn't have a smooth flow. Stephen Jackson leads all scorers with eight points. Carl Landry leads the Kings with six points.

--Jason Jones

PORTLAND, Ore. - Monday night should have been a night where DeMarcus Cousins put up big-time numbers.

It was obvious early on in the Kings' 96-81 win over the Portland Trail Blazers that Joel Pryzbilla had no chance defending Cousins.

But Cousins played a little less than 15 minutes because of fouls. Cousins picked up his fifth foul with 10:22 to play and sat the rest of the night because Samuel Dalembert played well.

Cousins still had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Oddly enough, Cousins with five fouls has been good to the Kings in a fluke way.

*The Kings have seven of their 10 wins when Cousins had five fouls.

*Cousins scored his season high of 28 points against Phoenix on Jan. 2.

But I think the Kings would prefer if Cousins didn't pick up five fouls on a regular basis.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Kings 96, Blazers 81

PORTLAND, Ore. - No, that's not a typo. The Kings held a lead in the fourth quarter and closed the game out strong thanks to solid defense and not getting rattled when the Blazers made a run in the fourth.

After a turnover by Tyreke Evans led to a layup by Andre Miller, the Kings led 75-71 with 7:59 to play.

The Kings never allowed the Blazers to get closer than four and ended the game on a 13-2 run.

Evans led the Kings with 26 points. Carl Landry came off the bench and added 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Kings (10-32) did another good defensive job on LaMarcus Aldridge (4-of-14, nine points) with Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson drawing the defensive assignment most of the night.

Wesley Matthews led the Blazers (25-21) with 21 points. The win ended a five-game winning streak for Portland and a four-game losing streak for the Kings.

The Kings had lost eight in a row to Portland.

THIRD QUARTER Kings 70, Blazers 65

This game could come down to DeMarcus Cousins and his ability to stay on the floor.

He has 11 points and eight rebounds in 13 minutes. He also has four fouls. Cousins has played some of his best basketball in the fourth quarter while in foul trouble. If the Kings are to win this game, they'll need that from Cousins to play well and stay on the floor. Portland simply has no answer for him.

Five Kings have scored in double figures led by Tyreke Evans with 17.

Wesley Matthews is carrying the Blazers with 21 points. But LaMarcus Aldriddge hasn't hurt the Kings yet. He's having another rough shooting night against the Kings, missing six of his 10 shots for eight points.

Now it's time to see (again) if the Kings can close out a game.


HALFTIME Kings 45, Blazers 43

The backcourt is still carrying the Kings. Tyreke Evans looks good on and off the ball and has a game-high 15 points. Beno Udrih is steady as usual with 10 points.

The Kings have to be disappointed this game is close. They led by as many as 13 before the Blazers rallied to get back in the game.

When DeMarcus has been on the floor he's been effective. But he's played just 8:51 because he has three fouls. Joel Pryzbilla isn't able to slow him down and he's the only big with the size to have a chance for Portland.

Cousins has nine points and five rebounds. If he can stay on the floor, he should have a big second half.

Nicolas Batum hasn't hurt the Kings like he did last week in Sacramento (eight points) but Wesley Matthews is on with 11 points.

FIRST QUARTER Kings 25, Blazers 20

Once again the Kings look good early. Seems like that's the case a lot lately.

Tyreke Evans (eight points) and Beno Udrih (seven points) are off to good starts. DeMarccus Cousins has five points, too.

The biggest negative from the first quarter is Cousins already has two fouls. As a team, the Kings committed only three fouls.

The Kings also missed three of six free throws. That's a bad trend the Kings can't seem to shake.

--Jason Jones

January 22, 2011
It's the same song

OAKLAND - Apparently the end of last night's game wasn't updated on the blog, but I'm sure you all know how it all happened.

It's nothing I haven't written this season.

Things were going well for the Kings. They led the Golden State Warriors 99-90 with 3:03 left in regulation.

One minute, 13 seconds later the score was 99-98. Eventually the Kings would lose 119-112, in overtime.

The reason for that bad stretch and loss were familiar.

"We didn't trust each other to run our stuff," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "They made shots and we didn't get good shots."

Not getting good shots against the Warriors is hard to explain, especially given the size advantage the Kings had and that they'd overcome a seven-point deficit to start the fourth.

But these Kings have made a habit of playing well only to stop executing when it matters. Then the turnovers (two by Tyreke Evans during that span) and bad habits on offense resurface.

"We had some great stretches," Westphal said. "It's just a crying shame we decided to stop playing together at the worst possible time."

The Kings also missed three of six free throws in the final minute. Overall the Kings made 25 of 37 (67.6 percent).

Evans said had the Kings just made free throws they would have won.

"It never should have come to that," Westphal said. "We absolutely stopped running the things that had been working the whole game. That's not a formula for winning. If we would have won if we made the free throws? Yeah"

Why does this keep happening? No one has a real answer. Beno Udrih said too much dribbling and no ball movement lead to "stupid mistakes" that cost the Kings wins.

"We can't say it's experience," Udrih said. "Basically we're just lackadaisical and not doing what we're supposed to do. We basically went away from what was working."

The topic off leadership was brought up, too. Do the Kings need more of it? Sure. But even if the Kings had someone like Kevin Garnett barking commands, it would still be up to each player to carry out the plan.

Carl Landry said some of the Kings' shortcomings can be overcome with hustle. Among the things Landry mentioned were geting the loose balls, setting good screens and running plays correctly.

"I'm not talking about anything that's got to do with talent," Landry said. "I'm just talking about are we running the right plays? Are we running plays? Do we have counters to our plays, just basketball, man."

--Jason Jones

THIRD QUARTERWarriors 82, Kings 74

OAKLAND - Stephen Curry had been a nonfactor for two quarters. He owned the third, scoring 16 points to bring his total to 22 and help the Warriors take control of the game.

The Kings still haven't done enough defensively to overcome shooting just 42.4 percent. The Warriors are shooting 55.4 percent and finally made a three - two actually - both by Curry.

Tyreke Evans (21 points) and DeMarcus Cousins (17 points) are carrying the offense, but Beno Udrih (six points) hasn't gotten going.

Hard for the Kings have a chance against the high-scoring Warriors unless another player provides offense.

Jason Thompson has 11 points for the Kings, but Carl Landry is likely to play the bulk of the minutes in the fourth for his offense.

HALFTIMEKings 51, Warriors 51

OAKLAND - The Kings still aren't shooting well (40.4 percent) but have a seven-point advantage in free throws to hang in on the road.

The Warriors are shooting 52.3 percent and oddly enough still have not made a three pointer. Golden State has missed all eight of its threes.

The Kings are at their best when Tyreke Evans is clicking and right now he is. He has 14 points to lead all scorers. He's the only King in double figures.

Jason Thompson had a game-high nine rebound along with seven points. DeMarcus Cousins has nine points.

David Lee leads the Warriors with 13 points. Monta Ellis has 12 points.

Stephen Curry has been quiet. He has six points and an assist.

FIRST QUARTERKings 28, Warriors 27

OAKLAND - The Kings aren't off to a hot shooting start like they've been in recent games.

Sacramento is shooting just 42.3 percent (11 for 26) but led by as many as eight points. The Kings were able to get to the free throw line seven times compared to just one for the Warriors to help them stay ahead.

But the Kings will need to control the tempo better and defend. The Warriors are shooting 54.2 percent (13 for 24) and put up 27 points without making a three pointer.

All five starters for the Warriors scored, led by Omri Casspi with seven points. Jason Thompson already has seven rebounds.

David Lee leads the Warriors with nine points.

--Jason Jones

FINALBlazers 94, Kings 90 (Overtime)

The Kings led 81-74 with 6:06 left in regulation, but couldn't close out the Blazers.

Portland ended regulation on an 11-4 run and outscored the Kings 9-5 in overtime.

The loss is the third in a row for Sacramento (9-31).

Nicolas Batum led the Blazers (23-20) with 24 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points. Andre Miller scored 20.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 20 points and was one of five players in double figures.

Two things hurt the Kings tonight: They made just 15 of 22 free throws (68.2 percent) and they committed 19 turnovers that led to 18 points.

The Blazers were able to slow the Kings using a zone defense and had just enough offense to win the game.

THIRD QUARTER Kings 65, Blazers 65

Neither team could shoot in the third. The Blazers were six for 20 (30 percent). The Kings were worse at six for 22 (27.3 percent).

The Kings did help Portland out with four more turnovers that led to four points.

This game could come down to free throws. Portland has made all nine of its free throws while the Kings are 10 for 16 (62.5 percent).

DeMarcus Cousins is struggling (two for 11, five points) but the Kings have gotten a lift from Samuel Dalembert.

Dalembert has nine points and eight rebounds off the bench.

HALFTIMEKings 48, Blazers 46

The Kings remain ahead even though they committed six turnovers in the second quarter. The Kings are shooting 52.6 percent (20 for 38) but can't pull away, partly because of the turnovers.

It also doesn't help that Portland is shooting a solid 48.8 percent form the field.

One of the more entertaining matchups has been DeMarcus Cousins against Portland's Joel Pryzbilla.

Pryzbilla isn't the kind to back down and neither is Cousins. Naturally that leads to some competitive chatter between the two.

At one point referee Ron Garretson told the two to watch it. Later Cousins would use some veteran-like arm flailing to draw attention to a hard screen set by Pryzbilla. Pryzbilla was called for an offensive foul on the play.

Tyreke Evans (11 points, four assists) and Beno Udrih (10 points) lead the Kings.

Nicolas Batum leads Portland with 11 points and three assists. Rudy Fernandez has 10 points off the bench for the Blazers.

FIRST QUARTERKings 26, Blazers 21

So far, so good, but we know what that means for the Kings.

Right, let's wait and see.

There are things to like about this start. Tyreke Evans has seven points and three assists. Beno Udrih has six points. The Kings have seven assists on 12 made shots.

The Kings are shooting 54.5 percent, but their key will be defense. Portland isn't shooting poorly (47.6 percent) and Andre Miller leads them with nine points.

The Kings are playing without Francisco Garcia (left calf strain) for the second game in a row.

The Blazers are without Marcus Camby (left knee).

--Jason Jones

January 17, 2011
Summarizing the trip

ATLANTA - Before I head home here's a look at the Kings six-game road trip:

Left Sacramento: Jan. 7
Played games: Jan. 9-17
Record: 1-5

Won: at New York
Lost: at Toronto, at Washington, at Boston, at Detroit, at Atlanta

Here are a few of things the Kings need to take from this trip improve:

*The defense: Five of the six teams scored at least 100 points on the Kings.

*Energy: In the last two losses the Kings could not finish out games after very good starts. They managed 36 points in the second half in losses to Detroit and Atlanta.

After the loss in Detroit, coach Paul Westphal suggested the Kings might need to get in better shape.

"You never want to use (fatigue) as an excuse, in fact it's not an excuse," Westphal said.
"I think that we might have to work harder so that fatigue doesn't enter in."

*Focus: The Kings complain to the officials way too much. DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson were each assessed a technical foul in the last two games, respectively. But as a whole, the Kings are too concerned about the officials.

"We're young and we get too mad," said Beno Udrih. "And those things take us out of the game because our focus goes down on defense when they don't call something on our offense."

--Jason Jones

FINAL Hawks 100, Kings 98

ATLANTA - The Hawks used an 18-4 run to start the fourth quarter and held off the Kings late by holding them to 16 points in the quarter.

After scoring 62 points in the first half, the Kings managed 36 the rest of the game.

The Hawks won the game on two free throws by Joe Johnson with 0.6 seconds left in the game. He was fouled by Tyreke Evans, who had just tied the game on a layup.

Johnson led all scorers with 36 points.

For the Kings (9-30) went 1-5 on their six-game road trip. Outside of being blown out in Boston, the Kings had a chance to win the other five games. But late-game execution was a problem in each of the losses.

The Hawks (27-15) were outplayed by the Kings most of the evening until their run to start the fourth gave them a 91-86 lead.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 20 points.

THIRD QUARTER Kings 82, Hawks 73

ATLANTA - The Kings didn't suffer another third-quarter drought, but must maintain their intensity level. DeMarcus Cousins is up to 18 points after scoring eight in the third and Beno Udrih is steady with 17 points.

Joe Johnson is still a problem, but the Kings are using a balanced attack to counter Johnson's play.

Johnson has 26 points and five assists. The difference between this game and the first meeting in Sacramento is Jamal Crawford.

He has only five points after scoring 31 at Arco Arena.


HALFTIME Kings 62, Hawks 53

ATLANTA - Once again, the Kings are off to a good start. Now comes the tough part.

The Kings ability to blow games in the third quarter has cost them a few wins, most recently in Saturday's loss at Detroit.

The Hawks are shooting 48.9 percent, so they aren't being stopped a lot by the Kings, who are shooting 50 percent.

And Joe Johnson got going in the second quarter. He scored 14 of his 18 points in the second. It looks like the Kings trend of being hurt by good wing players will continue.

Four starters for the Kings have scored in double figures. Jason Thompson leads them with 10 points.

FIRST QUARTER Kings 32, Hawks 27

ATLANTA - Donte' Greene started for Francisco Garcia (strained left calf) and contributed seven points and a game-high six rebounds.

Greene becomes more of a fan favorite anytime his playing time decreases and that's been the case lately with the rotation tightening lately.

Greene's activity has caught the attention of the Hawks. After Greene grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled, Atlanta forward Josh Smith yelled, "We gotta gang rebound!"

That wouldn't be a bad idea. The Kings hold a 15-7 rebounding advantage.

DeMarcus Cousins is looking as good as he as has the entire trip. He already has eight points on 3-of-5 shooting. The downside is he has two fouls already.

Al Horford (11 points, four rebounds) is the only Hawk giving the Kings major problems to start the game.

But as is always the case this season, the question can the Kings maintain the good energy they've started with?

--Jason Jones

FINALPistons 110, Kings 106

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Kings fell to 1-4 on their six game road trip thanks to a poor third quarter showing, missing free throws and turnovers.

Their defense was also bad again.

The Pistons (14-26) shot 55.6 percent for the game. The Kings couldn't slow down Tayshaun Prince, (21 points) Rodney Stuckey (19 points), Ben Gordon (16 points) or Will Bynum (18 points) as their perimeter defense was picked apart again.

The Kings (9-29) were 14 for 27 from the foul line (51.9 percent) and committed 15 turnovers that led to 19 points for the Pistons.

This might have been the Kings best chance at a second road win on their season-long trip They've lost all three games on the trip against teams with losing records. The lone win was last night against the New York Knicks.

The second half showing included a 10-point third quarter and was reminiscent of many of the losses earlier this season when the Kings would play some of their best basketball and follow it up with some of their worst.

The Kings finish the trip Monday at Atlanta.

THIRD QUARTERPistons 82, Kings 80

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Kings did what they've been known to do this season.

After playing extremely well on offense for two quarters the Kings scored 10 points in the third quarter.

The Kings were 5-of-19 shooting in the third. The Pistons scored the first six points of the third and never really slowed down.

The Kings, meanwhile, didn't get out in transition as much and committed six turnovers in the third.

HALFTIMEKings 70, Pistons 59

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The good offense continued in the second quarter. The Kings tied their season high for points in a half (Jan. 11 at Washington) and are shooting 69.8 percent.

Jason Thompson (20 points) is two short of tying his season high. Tyreke Evans has 18 points and nine assists. The Kings have 21 assists in the half.

Every Kings that played has at least three points.

Thompson made 9-of-10 shots and played the entire first half. Evans made 8-of-11.

If there's reason to worry, it's that the Pistons are shooting 60 percent. Thirty of Detroit's points came from their bench.

Starter Tayshaun Prince leads the Pistons with 12 points.

Tracy McGrady has a sore right shin and hasn't played since the first quarter.

FIRST QUARTERKings 36, Pistons 27

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Somewhere between New York and arriving here Tyreke Evans shook off the rust.

Evans has 10 points and five assists and the Kings are shooting 69.6 percent to start the game.

Sacramento made 16 of 23 shots, tying their season high for field goals made in a quarter. Jason Thompson made all five of his shots and leads the Kings with 11 points.

The Kings have 11 assists on their 16 field goals.

It's not as if the Pistons aren't shooting well (57.9 percent), but they can't keep up with the Kings right now.

Both teams played last night so we have to wait and see if fatigue becomes a factor. I've noticed the team that wins usually isn't tired.

--Jason Jones

NEW YORK - Some quick postgame notes/quotes from tonight's win, 93-83, over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden:

*The Kings hadn't won on the road since Oct. 30, a span of 12 games.

*Samuel Dalembert blocked a season-high six shots. The Kings blocked a season-high 13 shots.

*The Kings held the Knicks to 31.5 percent shooting, their best defensive mark of the season in that area.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal on Beno Udrih (29 points, 11-of-14 shooting):

"I thought he really did a great job offensively and defensively. We couldn't afford to take him out. He was really holding it together at both ends for us. He's a slick little dude. He comes of those screens, he's a good passer. He can get to the basket and finish. His midrange shot is deadly."

*Udrih on the win:

"We feel pretty good in this arena. To play here we all got excited. This arena is a famous arena so all the guys get excited. We knew we could play them but we had to play them together on defense and offense and that's why we won."

*There was a lot of talk from the Knicks about their fatigue, jet lag, etc. They played Wednesday night in Utah and arrived back here Thursday at 6 a.m.

"I don't want to take anything away form Sacramento ... they played well but, and a big but, we didn't have it," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.

Amar'e Stoudemire said the Kings "did not do much" defensively and that the Knicks just missed a lot of shots.

(Note: Remember13 of those shots were blocked).

*Tyreke Evans said he felt rusty and that he was tired early in the game, but said his ankle is fine and there is no swelling.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 93, Knicks 83

NEW YORK - The Kings ended their 12-game road losing streak with a dominant defensive showing.

The Kings blocked a season-high 13 shots in holding the highest-scoring team int the league 14 points below their average.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 29 points. More to come later following the postgame news conference.

THIRD QUARTERKings 69, Knicks 58

NEW YORK - The Knicks scored the first four points of the quarter to tie the score at 46, but could not take the lead.

The Kings continue to control the glass, outrebounding the Knicks 46-35. They also held New York to 5-of-21 shooting in the third. After playing some awful defense on this road trip, the Kings have held the Knicks to 31.8 percent shooting tonight.

With Tyreke Evans looking rusty, Beno Udrih has picked up the scoring slack in the backcourt with 15 points.

DeMarcus Cousins has 14 points and nine rebounds.

Amar'e Stoudemire is shooting three for 14 and has 12 points.

The Knicks were booed at the end of the third when the Kings pushed the lead back to 11.

HALFTIMEKings 46, Knicks 42

NEW YORK - The Kings led by as many as 15 points in the second, but only hold a slim lead.

The Kings are shooting just 41.2 percent and have 11 turnovers that have led to 12 points for New York.

DeMarcus Cousins had been good (10 points, six rebounds) and Carl Landry (eight points, three rebounds) has been solid off the bench.

The Kings have made an effort to attack the undersized Knicks, especially when they were using the likes of small forward Wilson Chandler at power forward. That helps explain why Samuel Dalembert has already taken seven shots.

The Kings have a 32-24 rebounding advantage because of their size.

Amar'e Stoudemire is off to a slow start shooting (3-of-11) and has 10 points.

FIRST QUARTERKings 24, Knicks 15

NEW YORK - So far DeMarcus Cousins is enjoying his time at Madison Square Garden with eight points and five rebounds.

It's helped make up for Tyreke Evans missing four of his first five shots in his return to the lineup. Evans has been active defensively (two steals) and looks quick after a week off, but the shots aren't falling yet. Evans has three rebounds and two assists.

It hasn't been the most cleanly played game. The Kings have seven turnovers and the Knicks have six.

The Knicks are shooting six for 24. The Kings are 11 for 25.

--Jason Jones

January 14, 2011
Evans is back

NEW YORK - Guard Tyreke Evans returns to the starting lineup tonight against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Evans has missed the last three games with a sprained left ankle. Evans sprained his ankle last Friday against the Denver Nuggets.

The Kings have lost three games in a row without Evans.

--Jason Jones

FINALCeltics 119, Kings 95

BOSTON - Thanks to their strong third quarter, the Celtics coasted to the win.

The Kings have now lost three in a row to start this road trip. Two of those losses came against their sub-.500 opponents.The Kings have lost their last 12 road games.

The Kings play at New York on Friday.

Carl Landry led the Kings (8-28) with 17 points.

Paul Pierce led all scorers with 25 points. Rajon Rondo added 10 points and 13 assists for the Celtics (29-9).

THIRD QUARTERCeltics 90, Kings 67

BOSTON - This is when it got bad.

The Celtics started the third hot and never cooled off. The Kings couldn't keep pace and were dogged by turnovers in falling further behind.

The Kings committed six turnovers in the third, leading to 12 points for Boston. That helped the Celtics shoot 71.4 percent (15-of-21) in the quarter.

Rajon Rondo had five of his 13 assists in the third. Paul Pierce now has 25 points. And at this rate Pierce and Rondo are done for the night.

The Celtics are shooting 54.3 percent for the game. The Kings aren't bad at 47.2 percent. But that's not nearly good enough when the Kings continue to allow opponents to shoot above 50 percent against them.

HALFTIMECeltics 57, Kings 49

BOSTON - The Kings hold a few advantages in this game.

The Kings are shooting better (48.5 percent to 46.9 percent), have the rebounding edge (22-21) and have made 15-of-20 free throws. Boston has attempted only nine three throws, making five.

The difference is the Kings committed nine turnovers in the first half and the Celtics have missed only two of their eight three pointers. The Kings are 2-of-9 on threes.

Carl Landry continues to play well. He has 11 points, all in the second quarter. Beno Udrih leads the Kings with 14 points and four assists.

Paul Pierce leads all scorers with 19 points.

Considering how well the Kings are going on offense, if they cut down the turnovers they have a chance to pull off an upset.

But they'll need to do a better job on Pierce and not get caught out of position in their zone defense like they were in the first half.

FIRST QUARTERCeltics 28, Kings 22

BOSTON - It's not the Kings' goal to simply not get blown out and the Kings did enough to prevent that from happening. That wasn't a certainty early.

The Celtics jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead. The Kings, however didn't wait until the second quarter are later to rally. The Kings used a 16-7 run for their only lead of the quarter, 16-15, with 3:22 left.

The Celtics regained lead because of Paul Pierce, who scored five of his 15 points in the final minute.

Athletic small forwards have been a problem this season, but Pierce is trouble because he's too big for Francisco Garcia. Might be a game where Donte' Greene or even Carl Landry takes a turn defending Pierce.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with nine points. DeMarcus Cousins had four points and four rebounds.

--Jason Jones

January 12, 2011
Evans will sit out again

BOSTON - Tyreke Evans will miss his third consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.

Pooh Jeter will start for Evans. Jeter is third different guard to start since Evans has been out. Jermaine Taylor and Luther Head have also started for Evans.

Kings coach Paul Westphal is hopeful Evans can play Friday at New York. Evans would have had a week off if he plays Friday.

Evans sprained his ankle last Thursday against Denver.

This is Jeter's first start in the NBA.

The Celtics will be without Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett.

The Kings arrived at their hotel today around 4 a.m. after a delay leaving Washington. Shootaround was canceled to give players the chance to get rested for the game.

--Jason Jones

BOSTON - One more note from the Washington game:

Four Navy SEALs contacted the Kings last week to let the team know they'd purchased tickets to the game and were big Kings fans.

So the Kings were able to get them on the floor pregame and introduce them to players and coaches. The team also provided the SEALs with authentic Kings workout shirts.

While Verizon Center was far from packed last night - the forecast of the snowstorm probablyhad a lot to do with that - there was a lot of support for the Kings.

It was Jewish Heritage Night so Omri Casspi had his own cheering section and pockets of fans cheering for him all night. And there were a lot of DeMarcus Cousins fans, wearing his Kentucky jersey at the game.

--Jason Jones

January 12, 2011
Kings-Wizards recap

BOSTON - I had to hustle to get two stories in for the paper to make a flight out of Washington following the Kings' loss to the Wizards. In case you didn't know, a major storm is hitting this part of the country and had I not gotten out when I did, I would have been stuck in D.C. (not that D.C. is a bad place to be) but I would have missed tonight's game against the Celtics.

Well, enough about my travel woes. Time to finish up the in-game blog with a postgame review, as promised a few hours ago.

There was a lot I didn't touch on in the game story or notebook from the game, won by the Wizards, 136-133, in overtime.

*First, is the defense (or lack of it) on Wizards guard Nick Young.

For all the big games the Kings have allowed from opposing guards and small forwards, no one has scored more than Young's 43 points.

It was a career-high for Young. He scored 18 in the third when the Wizards appeared to take control of the game before nearly allowing the Kings to steal the win late.

"I just had a lot of confidence after I hit three shots in a row," Young said of his third-quarter scoring. "I just felt like I couldn't miss. I was open and my teammates were finding me and it just felt good."

Young being open was a big problem.

It's not as if Young wasn't playing well before the third quarter. He opened the game with 14 points in the first quarter. But the Kings lost track of him too much in the third.

"We inexplicably left him alone a few times especially in the third quarter," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We already knew he was on fire, and that is the last guy you want to leave open when that happens."

Westphal noted the disparity in foul shooting as more evidence that the Kings need to defend better. The Wizards shot 39 free throws, the Kings shot 25.

The Wizards where shooting well as it was, the Kings didn't need to put them on the line repeatedly to help the Washington offense.

*For as bad as the Kings were on defense, they were as hot on offense.

The Kings have shown they can score with Tyreke Evans out of the lineup. They scored a season-high 133 against the Wizards. In the four games Evans has missed this season, they're averaging 116.8 points.

Problem is they're giving up 122 per game without Evans.

The Kings scored even with DeMarcus Cousins having his roughest shooting night as a pro (4-of-19) for 10 points.

The bench was big in the Kings' rally to force overtime.

Carl Landry scored 23 points. Omri Casspi scored 15 points. Pooh Jeter drove right by John Wall to tie the game at the end of regulation and had 11 assists.

I didn't even notice that Jermaine Taylor had six points in six minutes and Samuel Dalembert had seven points.

Francisco Garcia and Beno Udirh each scored 26 points. Udrih appears to have broken out of his brief slump in his last few games.

*Evans said after the game he will try to play against the Celtics. He said there hadn't been a setback and that his sprained left ankle is still feeling better than it did Monday.

--Jason Jones

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Here is your latest Tyreke Evans update:

Evans (sprained left ankle) did not practice today but Kings coach Paul Westphal said Evans is questionable for tomorrow's game against the Washington Wizards.

Westphal said Evans was doubtful before Sunday's game, so Evans is progressing.

Evans took part in drills away from the team and looked OK while shooting jumpers after practice.

Evans said he would test his ankle tomorrow before the game. He added the decision whether to play will be his. He said he didn't feel any significant discomfort while running or cutting in drills.

The Kings are 1-2 this season without Evans.

Photo above: Tyreke Evans

--Jason Jones

FINAL Raptors 118, Kings 112

TORONTO - The Raptors shot 58.5 percent and held off a late rally by the Kings thanks to their hot shooting.

The Kings trailed by eight before cutting the lead to 110-109 wiht 1:06 to play. But Andrea Bargnani hit a three pointer with 1:01 to play that gave Toronto a 113-09 advantage.

Francisco Garcia missed a three on the Kings' next possession, which left the Kings fouling to stop the clock.

Bargnani led all scorers with 30 points. DeMar DeRozan was just as tough to contain with 28 points. Leandro Barbosa added 18 points off the bench.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 25 points. Carl Landry tied his season-high with 22 points off the bench. Jason Thompson added 19 points and 11 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins had 18 point and 10 rebounds.

The Kings (8-26) play at Washington Tuesday. There's a good chance Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle) won't play in that game. Evans said he would try to play, but coach Paul Westphal didn't seem optimistic that Evans would be available.

Evans is day-to-day.

The Raptors (13-24) shooting percentage was the highest by an opponent this season. Sacramento's last three opponents have shot at least 50 percent.

THIRD QUARTERKings 85, Raptors 85

TORONTO - Beno Udrih led the Kings rally after halftime. He scored 11 of his 22 points in the third that saw the Kings eventually take a four-point lead.

The Kings are also getting a solid effort from Jason Thompson (17 points, nine rebounds). Carl Landry only played three minutes in the third, but has 16 points for the game.

The biggest problem for the Kings is whether they can do enough to slow down DeMar DeRozan. He has 24 points on 11 for 16 shooting.

The inability to stay in front of athletic guards has been a problem all season so DeRozan's play isn't a surprise. The Kings need to play better team defense to deal with DeRozan's drives to the basket.

HALFTIMERaptors 57, Kings 50

TORONTO - The shooting cooled off for both teams in the second quarter. The Kings were seven for 23 (30.4 percent) while the Raptors shot nine for 21 (42.9 percent).

Overall, scoring isn't the biggest problem without Tyreke Evans. The Kings need to figure out how to slow down Andrea Bargnani (16 points) and DeMar DeRozan (13 points).

The Kings have gotten their points from Carl Landry (13 points), and Beno Udrih (11 points). They only have five turnovers. So if the Kings are to make a run at consecutive wins for just the second time this season, it will come down to their defense.

The last time the Kings won consecutive games was back in November when they beat Cleveland followed by knocking off the Raptors.

FIRST QUARTERRaptors 34, Kings 31

TORONTO - This is great basketball, unless you're one of those types that loves defense.

The Raptors began the game making their first 10 shots and are shooting 75 percent (15 for 20). The Kings aren't far off the pace at 65 percent (13 for 20).

Andrea Bargnani leads all scorers with 10 points. Jose Calderon has eight points an four potints.

The Kings are playing with Tyreke Evans (ankle). Jermaine Taylor started and has two points, a rebound and an assist.

Francisco Garcia leads the Kings with seven points. Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih and Carl Landry each six points.

The last time a team opened a game 10 for 10 was March 1, 2010, when Houston pulled the feat against the Raptors.

--Jason Jones

January 8, 2011
Evans doubtful for Sunday

TORONTO -- Kings guard Tyreke Evans is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors because of a sprained left ankle.

Evans sprained his ankle in Thursday's win over Denver. Evans said he would test his ankle Sunday morning, but expects he will sit the game out.

Coach Paul Westphal said Jermaine Taylor would be the likely starter if Evans cannot play.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 122, Nuggets 102

The Kings played what might have been their best game, especially considering the opposition, in routing the Nuggets.

Denver is the first team with a winning record the Kings have beaten this season. The Nuggets played last night in Los Angeles, losing to the Clippers, but the Kings hadn't been successful beating teams in the second game of back-to-backs most of the season.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings (8-25) with 27 points and a season-high 12 assists. DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points.

The Kings are 3-3 in their last six games.

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 points. The Kings put Carl Landry on Anthony defensively after he torched them in the third. Anthony had 24 points before being covered by Landry.

The Kings had six players score in double figures.

The Kings begin a six-game road trip Sunday in Toronto.

THIRD QUARTERKings 91, Nuggets 81

Carmelo Anthony was hot in the third, but the Kings didn't back down.

Anthony sparked a 24-10 run by Denver that tied the game at 79 with 3:25 left in the quarter. The Kings responded with a 12-2 run to close the quarter.

Anthony scored 12 of his 24 points in the third, mainly against Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi.

Tyreke Evans has remained solid and is up to 22 points and nine assists.

Back to my story folks...these TNT games mean I'm really pressed for time


HALFTIMEKings 69, Nuggets 55

The Kings posted a season-high for a half after scoring 40 points in the second quarter on 76.5 percent shooting.

The Kings are shooting 60.5 percent in the first half.

It's not as if Denver hasn't made shots. They're shooting 57.1 percent. But they've also committed 11 turnovers.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 16 points and seven assists. DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and Francisco Garcia has 12 points.

Carmelo Anthony has 12 points for Denver. Al Harrington added 12 points off the bench. And Nene has 11 points.

The turnovers have allowed the Kings to play their best style - a fast pace that doesn't make them run a set offense.

The question for the Kings is whether they can keep up this pace. The shooting is likely to cool off so they can't let the Nuggets continue to shoot so well.

FIRST QUARTER
Kings 29, Nuggets 27

Francisco Garcia is hot.

He's taken six shots - all three pointers. And he's made four of them for a game-high 12 points. His shooting kept the Kings in the game after their slow start.

Jason Thompson already has two fouls, but Carl Landry has stepped in with one of his better starts to a game recently. He already has seven points.

*The game started out looking a lot like last week's game in Denver where the Nuggets dominated the glass.

At one point the Kings were being outrebounded in this game 8-1. The Kings ended up with a 10-9 rebounding advantage.

*Carmelo Anthony leads the Nuggets with eight points. Nene has seven points.

FINAL
Hawks 108, Kings 102

The Kings scored 39 points in the fourth to make it interesting late and force the Hawks to bring their regulars in, but ultimately couldn't complete the comeback.

Atlanta (23-14) got 31 points off the bench from Jamal Crawford and 29 from Joe Johnson to hold off the Kings.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings (7-25) with 29 points, 15 in the fourth. He also had eight assists. DeMarcus Cousins scored 16 of his 24 points in the fourth.

The Kings played at a much faster pace in the fourth but it wasn't enough to overcome scoring 63 points through three quarters and allowing the Hawks to make eight of 18 from three-point range.

THIRD QUARTER Hawks 77, Kings 63

This game has been about the Kings' inability to slow down the guards from Atlanta.

Jamal Crawford has 21 points. So does Joe Johnson. The Kings have struggled against athletic guards most of the season so that's a surprise.

The Kings are shooting 41.2 percent, missing their fair share of makeable shots.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 14 points. But DeMarcus Cousins has struggled, missing 10 of 14 shots. Cousins has eight points.

HALFTIME Hawks 54, Kings 40

The Hawks are still hot from the perimeter, having made seven of 11 three pointers. They're also controlling the glass with a 29-19 rebounding edge.

The Kings are having problems containing the opposing team's guards again. Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford have scored 34 points total.

Crwawford leads all scorers with 15 points.

The Kings don't have anyone in double figure with Tyreke Evans' eight points leading the team. Omri Casspi has seven points off the bench.

Evans also has three fouls.

FIRST QUARTER Hawks 27, Kings 23

The three-point shot is what keeping the Kings behind thus far.

Atlanta made five threes in the first quarter, two by former King Mike Bibby. The Kings made just one three.

Jamal Crawford came off the bench to hit two threes for the Hawks and leads all scorers with eight points.

The Kings haven't looked bad to start. Tyreke Evans looks to have his legs under him early. He has six points to lead the Kings. Jason Thompson has already grabbed four rebounds for the Kings.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Kings 94, Suns 89

The Kings used stifling defense (seriously) and closed the game on a 19-2 run knock off the Phoenix Suns.

The Kings (7-24) closed the game with Pooh Jeter, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins. Each made key plays during the run to help the Kings win.

Cousins was the star with a three-point play that tied the game and two free throws to ice the game. He finished with a season-high 28 points. Casspi's three game the Kings a 92-89 lead late.

Garcia scored 20 points to go with 11 rebounds.

Casspi had 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Landy had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

After being dominated by Steve Nash, the Kings held him to no points and one assist in the fourth. Nash finished with 20 points and 12 assists.

Phoenix fell to 14-18 with the loss.

THIRD QUARTER Suns 73, Kings 65

The Kings opened the third quarter with an 11-5 run that made the score 53-50. The Kings didn't get any closer as Steve Nash continues to dominate the game.

Nash has made all eight of his field goals and has 20 points and 11 assists. His play has been enough to keep the Suns flowing on offense. His shots haven't been easy either.

The Kings continue to get minimal production for their starting guards.

Tyreke Evans has six points but has missed eight of 10 shots and has four turnovers. Evans does have five assists but the Kings need him to score to have a chance. Beno Udrih hasn't scored and has missed all three of his shots.

HALFTIME Suns 48, Kings 39

The Suns closed the quarter on a 15-2 run after the Kings rallied to lead by four midway through the quarter.

The Kings are still shooting terribly (28.3 percent) and have 10 turnovers. The poor shooting and turnovers are making their 33-19 rebounding edge not as vital as it could be.

It also doesn't help that the Kings most effective player on offense, DeMarcus Cousins, has three fouls. He has 11 points and three rebounds.

Steve Nash is directing the Suns on offense with precision. He has 10 points and eight assists, one more than the Kings as a team.

Phoenix also got 11 points off the bench from Marcin Gortat - not exactly who the Kings would have expected to hurt them.

If the Kings can't find some offense from the backcourt they won't win this game. Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih have two points between them, coming on two free throws by Evans. The duo has missed nine field goals.


FIRST QUARTER Suns 27, Kings 17

The Kings are playing big, as they should against the undersized Suns. Sacramento has eight offensive rebounds, one more than the team had last night in its loss to Denver.

Francisco Garcia already has five rebounds to lead the Kings.

But there's a reason the Kings still trail. They're shooting six for 26 (23.1 percent), so they've had plenty of chances for offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile Phoenix is shooting 50 percent with only two turnovers. The Kings had five turnovers in the quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins looks sharp early (five points) but as a whole the Kings have looked out of sync. Garcia does have eight points but the starting backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih is scoreless.

Steve Nash is doing what he usually does to the Kings thus far. He has six points and five assists.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Nuggets 104, Kings 86

DENVER - The Kings didn't have enough to slow down a suddenly healthy Nuggets team.

With Carmelo Anthony and Nene back, Denver cruised to victory. Five Nuggets scored in double figures led by Chauncey Billups' 22 points.

Jason Thompson led the Kings with 17 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 16.

The Kings can look at a couple of areas as to why they lost. The made six of 15 free throws (40 percent) and were outrebounded 58-35.

The free throws don't look like a big deal in the final score, but the Kings might have been ahead or tied in the third with some more made free throws.

The Nuggets (19-13) had three players with double-digit rebounds while the Kings had none. Nene pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the Nuggets. DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with eight rebounds.

The Kings (6-24) will host Phoenix tomorrow, a game in which they should dominate the glass.

THIRD QUARTERNuggets 69, Kings 60

DENVER - The Kings started the third on a 12-4 run to make the score 55-51.

But the Kings couldn't sustain the momentum as the Nuggets managed to regain control of the game.

The Nuggets are doing what they can to keep the Kings in the game with 18 turnovers. But the Kings don't have the offense to take advantage tonight. They are shooting 37.1 percent.

Even though he's still struggling (3-of-18) Carmelo Anthony had six timely points that allowed the Nuggets to get going in the third. He now has eight points.

DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and seven rebounds for the Kings. But he also has four fouls.

Nene has 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets. Chauncey Billups leads all scorers with 17 points.

HALFTIMENuggets 51, Kings 39

DENVER - Even with Carmelo Anthony looking rusty after leaving the Nuggets for eight days following the death of his sister, the Nuggets have had plenty to deal with the Kings.

Nene returned from injury tonight and has 16 points and six rebounds to lead Denver. Chauncey Billums has 12 points. Anthony has missed 10 of 11 to start the game and has just two points.

The Kings haven't been able to slow Nene or capitalize on Denver's 13 turnovers. That's because the Kings are shooting 38.6 percent and Beno Udrhi his having one of his off nights (1-for-5).

DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry each have 11 points and three rebounds for the Kings.

FIRST QUARTERKings 23, Nuggets 23

DENVER - The Kings looked like a team about to get run out of the arena after falling behind by seven (14-7) to start the game.

But they managed to get back in the game thanks to DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Carl Landry.

Cousins scored eight of the Kings first nine points. He was still outscored by Nuggets center Nene (11 points) but Cousins' start kept the Kings close enough for Evans (six points) and Landry (six points) to be able to chip away at the lead.

Denver looks sloppy right now. They have seven turnovers and weren't able to convert twice on 2-on-1 fast breaks.

Carmelo Anthony missed six of his seven shots, which helps the Kings. But Chauncey Billups had eight points in the quarter.

--Jason Jones

Craziest part of this for me is thinking for a second Tyreke Evans would slip and land on me, well my laptop. I had stand and protect The Bee's property. So for those wondering, I wasn't trying to give Evans a high five.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 100, Grizzlies 98

Tyreke Evans hit a three pointer from beyond halfcourt to give the Kings the win.

O.J. Mayo had given the Grizzlies the lead with 1.5 seconds left in the game. The Kings then inbounded to Evans how got the shot off before the buzzer.

Evans jumped on the scorers table (and thankfully didn't fall on my laptop) to celebrate. DeMarcus Cousins then laid on the table knocking over some cups.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 24 points. Evans and Cousins each scored 21 points. Cousins' points were a season high. His 16 rebounds tied a season high.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 35 points and 17 rebounds.

THIRD QUARTERGrizzlies 74, Kings 70

The Kings continue to just enough to stay in the game.

They fell behind by nine in the third but thanks to a quick six points from Beno Udrih, that nine-point deficit was cut to three.

The bench continues to play a big part, led by DeMarcus Cousins. He has 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Kings, however are still struggling to contain Zach Randolph. He has 27 points and 12 rebounds. Rudy Gay has 16 points, but it's Randolph doing most of the damage. The Grizzlies have 42 points in the paint.

The fourth quarter is where the Kings have struggled there most so it will be interesting to see how they respond against a talented Memphis squad.

The Kings already have 18 turnovers. If they stay at that pace, it will be hard to win.

HALFTIMEGrizzlies 51, Kings 50

It looked like the Kings were about to be blown out before their bench provided a big boost.

The Kings trailed by 11 before solid play from DeMarcus Cousins, Pooh Jeter and Carl Landry helped get the Kings back in the game.

Cousins has nine points and eight rebounds. Jeter has four points and Landry has five points.

Beno Udrih leads the Kings with 12 points. Tyreke Evans has nine points and four assists.

*Zach Randolph is still a problem for the Kings. He has 18 points and six rebounds to lead Memphis. Rudy Gay has 11 points.

*The Kings already have 11 turnovers.

FIRST QUARTERGrizzlies 27, Kings 24

The Kings get no respect from the referees.

When calling a quick technical foul on coach Paul Westphal, the official said it was on "Westhead" instead of Westphal.

You would think if you're going call a tech, they could at least get the name right.

But on to the game...

*The Kings already have five turnovers against Memphis, which is the best team at getting steals in the NBA.

*Beno Udrih already has eight points. Tyreke Evans has six points and four assists.

*The Kings haven't been able to contain Zach Randolph, ho has 14 points and five rebounds already.

*Jason Thompson returned to the starting lineup tonight for the Kings.

--Jason Jones

December 28, 2010
Yao not in the Kings plans

Do the Kings want Yao Ming and his expiring contract?

No, they don't.

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Rockets are looking for a team willing to take on Yao, who is out for the season with a stress fracture, and expiring contract in exchange for young talent and draft picks. The Rockets have an insurance policy to cover most of Yao's salary ($17.7 million) and a trade exception worth $6.33 million to entice teams.

The Kings, however, won't be the Rockets trade partner in this case. The Rockets would like DeMarcus Cousins but the Kings have no intention of dealing the rookie. Another part of a deal would have included Samuel Dalembert in exchange for Yao.

Cousins, for all his issues with "professionalism" is still a big part of the Kings future. Dalembert's $12.2 million salary comes off the book next season so the Kings aren't exactly in dire need of another expiring contract.

The Kings would be interested in a deal that would land them a star player, just not one that can't play for them.

--Jason Jones

Following what might have been his best game of the season, Kings guard Tyreke Evans said he is considering a procedure on his left foot that would keep him out three to four months.

Evans has been bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot most of the season.

He said he didn't know when he'd get it but was considering sometime around the All-Star break.

"If I keep playing that way I still might get it," Evans said. "....I'm just going to see what happens."

Evans scored a season-high 32 points in the Kings 100-99 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers tonight.

Evans has said previously he didn't want to sit out games because of his foot. He's missed only one game, Dec. 14 at Houston, because of his foot.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Clippers 100, Kings 99

The Kings nearly forced overtime and then had a chance to win on a last-ditch shot by Tyreke Evans, but in the end lost their eighth game in a rwo.

Evans scored a season-high 32 points. He was fouled on a three pointer with 1.9 seconds left by Ryan Gomes.

Evans made the first two free throws. He missed the third and hsi putback attempt didn't stay down as the clock expired.

Eric Gordon led the Clippers (10-22) with 31 points. Blake Griffin had 24 points and 14 rebounds.

The Kings (5-23) have lost 22 of 24.

THIRD QUARTERKings 76, Clippers 76

Tyreke Evans hasn't faded in the second half and he gave the Kings a chance to end their seven-game skid.

Evans has 21 points, 10 coming in the third.

It will be up to the Kings to try to contain Eric Gordon (22 points), Blake Griffin (17 points, 12 rebounds) and not have another fourth-quarter dry spell.

The Kings have scored well tonight and will probably need to score more than 90 points to win this game.

If the Clippers keep up the sloppy play (20 turnovers) the Kings have a good chance of pulling this one out.

The Kings have only seven turnovers.

HALFTIMEClippers 58, Kings 49

Defense is a concern tonight, to say the least.

The Clippers have four players that have already scored in double figures. The Clippers are shooting 63.9 percent. They've made six of 10 from three-point range. The shooting is so good, their 14 turnovers haven't been an issure.

The Kings are shooting well from beyond the arc (seven of 13) to stay in the game. They've also scored 12 points off Clipper turnovers.

The good news for the Kings is Tyreke Evans is playing well (11 points). So is Beno Udrih (12 points, five assists).

They just need to slow down Blake Griffin (12 points, seven rebounds), Eric Gordon (11 points), Baron Davis (11 points, five assists) or Al-Farouq Aminu (11 points).

If the Kings mix in a few stops and keep taking advantage of the turnovers by Los Angeles, the Kings should be able to keep this game competitive.

FIRST QUARTERClippers 28, Kings 21

Beno Udrih figured to have a good game as he usually does against the Clippers. He has four points and three assists.

But his counterpart, Baron Davis already has eight points. And Clippers star rookie Blake Griffin already has seven points and four rebounds.

Athletic guards have given the Kings problems, but I'm not sure anyone expected Davis to look this good early. It's usually Eric Gordon who hurts them.

*The Clippers might be leading by more if not for seven turnovers. They're shooting 63.2 percent thus far.

*So far Tyreke Evans looks like healthy Tyreke (seven points). Francisco Garcia has six points for the Kings.

--Jason Jones

December 26, 2010
The new starters

Barring someone getting sick overnight the new Kings starting lineup is:

G Tyreke Evans
G Beno Udrih
F Francisco Garcia
F Carl Landry
C Samuel Dalembert

"I'm trying to get our most experienced players out there as much possible," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "It's time for that."

The Kings have the NBA's worst record (5-22) and have lost seven in a row. With new lineup the least-experienced starter is Evans (second season). Landry is in his fourth season. Garcia is in his sixth season, Udrih in his seventh and Dalembert in his ninth.

Also, Jason Thompson (cut on right finger) practiced today is expected to be active for tomorrow's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

He's missed the last three games.

--Jason Jones

Kings ownership said that despite the woeful play and losing streaks, they're sticking with their plan.

The Kings have lost seven in a row and 21 of their last 23 games. But there are no plans to make in-season changes involving coach Paul Westphal or basketball president Geoff Petrie.

"Paul is going to be our coach through the end of the season and Geoff will remain with us, no doubt about it," said Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof.

The plan includes developing the young players on the current roster and using the salary cap space the team will have in the offseaosn to bolster the talent and speed up the rebuilding process.

The Kings are 5-22, the worst record in the NBA.

Maloof denied reports there were plans to fire Westphal and Petrie and bring in former Sacramento Monarchs coach and general manager John Whisenant to replace Petrie. The Monarchs won the WNBA Championship in 2006 with Whisenant.

Reports also mentioned assistant coach Jim Eyen as a possible replacement for Westphal in the interim.

--Jason Jones

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof responded with "No" via text message when asked if ownership was about to fire basketball president Geoff Petrie and head coach Paul Westphal.

That was the latest in a series of messages I've exchanged tonight regarding the job status of Petrie and Westphal following the Kings' seventh consecutive loss and 21st in 23 games dropped them to an NBA-worst 5-22.

Westphal is probably up watching the replay of the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks from Thursday night. He replied that he'd probably have a "long night" so to please not call him too early in the morning.

I haven't heard anything from Petrie.The idea of firing Petrie now wouldn't be a simple undertaking.

The staff consists of Petrie's longtime friend and general manager Wayne Cooper and Petrie's son, Mike, who is the assistant general manager. Shareef Abdur-Rahim is also an assistant general manager.

It would be hard to imagine the move being made with Petrie's entire staff still in place for the rest of the season. An interim coach is one thing, but an interim executive in charge of the team's future is another issue to sort out.

Well there will be more on this throughout the day.

--Jason Jones

December 23, 2010
In-game blog (Kings vs. Bucks)

FINALBucks 84, Kings 79

Once again, the Kings couldn't put together enough offense in the fourth quarter.

After taking a 75-69 lead with 8:24 to go, the Kings were outscored 15-4.

The Kings (5-22) have lost seven in a row and 21 of 23.

The Bucks (12-16) were led by Earl Boykins with 19 points off the bench. Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Milwaukee.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 17 points but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. Samuel Dalembert had 13 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.

It was another bad shooting night for Tyreke Evans. He was 2-of-13 and didn't score until there was 2:30 left in the game.

The Kings committed 25 turnovers that led to 30 points for the Bucks.

The Kings have blown leads in the fourth quarter in five of their last six games.

THIRD QUARTERKings 64, Bucks 62

Beno Udrih is doing his scoring in the odd quarters tonight. After nine points in the first, he had eight in the third and leads the Kings with 17.

Samuel Dalembert is having his best game in a while with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Carl Landry has nine points and 10 rebounds.

*DeMarcus Cousins and Tyrke Evans are still scoreless. Evans has missed all eight of his shots. Cousins has missed both of his shots.

*Keyon Dooling leads Milwaukee with 13 points. Earl Boykins has 10 points off the bench. The Bucks trail even though they have 19 points off 19 Kings' turnovers.

The Bucks have only nine turnovers

HALFTIMEBucks 43, Kings 39

The Kings are off to a sloppy start with 13 turnovers that have led to 15 points for Milwaukee.

Sacramento is also shooting poorly (34.9 percent) so that explains the lack of offense.

*Samuel Dalembert leads the Kings with 11 points. Beno Udrih is still stuck on nine points. Tyreke Evans missed all six of his shots in the first half and is scoreless. DeMarcus Cousins is also scoreless in four minutes of play.

Cousins didn't look comfortable in his brief time on the floor in the first half.

*Every Buck that played scored, led by John Salmons with 10 points. The Bucks are shooting just 40.5 percent but have benefited from Kings turnovers.

The Bucks also have six blocked shots in the half.

FIRST QUARTERKings 25, Bucks 24

Beno Udrih is on pace to top the career-high 34 points he scored Tuesday against Golden State. Udrih has nine points.

* If you thought the Kings were struggling, even KINGSTV and the in-house scoreboard had the wrong score at the beginning of the game, giving the Bucks the first two points on the ticker at the bottom of the screen after Beno Udrih opened the scoring. It was quickly corrected.

*Coming off the bench didn't start off so well for DeMarcus Cousins tonigher.

He picked up two fouls in 1:14 on the floor, both charges drawn by former Kings Jon Brockman.

*Not a good start for Tyreke Evans coming off his 4-of-18 shooting Tuesday. He missed all three of his shots in the quarter.

*Former King John Salmons is on his way to being the latest wing player to exploit the Kings' problems defending the perimeter. He already has eight points.

--Jason Jones

In the midst of Tuesday's meltdown I missed the DeMarcus Cousins choke gesture, taunt....whatever you want to call it.

For those who also missed it, here's some video of what Cousins did that drew the ire of coach Paul Westphal:

In writing the story for tomorrow's newspaper some valid points were raised for and against Cousins being fined and taken out of the starting lineup.

*When I spoke to Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, he raised a valid point: What if Cousins would have been called for a technical foul? A close game gets even closer. Petrie supports Westphal's decision.

*Cousins made the point that had the Kings won the reaction would not have been as harsh:

"It was a bad move on my part. But if I would have did it and we won it probably wouldn't have had the same consequences afterward. But I did it, I was wrong and I'm taking the consequences."

I'm not sure that would matter with the organization, but it would with public opinion.

*There are plenty in the "Westphal came down too hard on Cuz Camp." There are also plenty saying he's getting what he deserves.

*There's also the opinion Cousins is an easy target for discipline on a team that needs a lot more discipline from others in running the offense and helping prevent meltdowns like the one that happened Tuesday.

What I do expect is for Cousins to play well Thursday night. The last Cousins was in the middle of disciplinary action that was made public was last month when Westphal kicked him out of practice.

In the game following that incident, Cousins had 20 points and eight rebounds Nov. 30 against Indiana.

And until Cousins exhibits "professionalism" he'll be having all his good games off the bench.

--Jason Jones

OK, I thought last week in New Orleans was bad. And yes, it was. But what the Kings pulled off Tuesday night was amazing in the manner it fell apart.

Against the Hornets, the Kings were on the road and playing the second game of a back-to-back.

This time it was the warriors that played a night earlier and were on the road.

The Warriors were without two starters (Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins) while the Hornets had a healthy Chris Paul and David West, their two best players.

Of the Kings' 21 losses, this might be the hardest to deal with. The Kings did everything they could to lose this game. The fundamental mistakes were glaring. Fouling three-point shooters, fouling late and putting the Warriors back on the free throw line to set up the last shot. Failing to rebound against a team without a true center and turnovers are just among the few issues last night.

Then there was the failure to execute line that popped up again.

A 16-point lead with 9:20 left in the game disappeared and the Kings went cold in overtime of their 117-109 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Here's what some of the players and coach Paul Westphal had to say about what happened against the Warriors.

Carl Landry on how to fix the problems:

"I've got my ideas. I'm sure everybody has their ideas in this locker room. But it's up to the coaches to make sure we run what they want to run and we have to go with their ideas, not ours."

Landry on how basic mistakes cost the team the game:

"It's not all one person's fault. It's not all our fault or the coaches' fault. You can't pont the finger at one person. It goes both ways. But because we were unable to execute the outcome of the game is like it was (Tuesday). We took a loss and we'll continue to take L's if we don't do a good job in the fourth quarter."

Landry on Vladimir Radmanovic's game-tying three at the end of regulation:

"That was one play. He hit a three but that was one play. We gotta finish out games. That's just one play. The play before that I fouled right on the three and I think somebody fouled somebody else on the three before that. We just have to finish out games. That's just one play. It really didn't affect the game at all so to me we lost because we didn't play 48 minutes. We didn't execute and if we don't feel like it's a problem then it will be the same outcome everyday."

Darnell Jackson on the rebound the Kings didn't get with two seconds left that set up Radmanovic's three:

"Coach kept yelling over there to let guys know that we have to box out. Letting guys know that were in the game at the time that they were missing their free throws to get the rebounds and it just wasn't turning out that way. They were getting tips and they were getting the ball back. We just have to be smart as a team. We can't go for the pump fakes at the three-point line and that's what happened. They came down and they won the game."

DeMarcus Cousins on not getting the rebound with two seconds left:

"I should have had the rebound. I couldn't grab it. It was us tonight. We messed up tonight."
Westphal on players acting like the game was already won late:

"999 times out of a 1,000 the game is put away. You've just got to take care of business till the end. There are crazy endings in the NBA and we were the victim of one tonight."Westphal on the fourth quarter collapse:

"We were going inside, got ourselves the lead and then for some reason we stopped executing the same wahy. We started turing it over and didn't even give our defense a chance because (the Warriors) were running out and getting layups whenever that happened. The amazing turn of events, even down to the last minute, when we would keep fouling three-point shooters, giving up offensive rebounds on missed free throws, three-point step backs with two seconds. It's just amazing things happen. How do you explain those?"

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Warriors 117, Kings 109

Monta Ellis led the charge in overtime and finished with 36 point as the Warriors rallied for a win.

The Kings (5-21) have lost 20 of 22 and six in a row.

Beno Udrih had a career-high 34 points.

More on this one later.

FOURTH QUARTERKings 102, Warriors 102

The Kings did all they could to help the Warriors get to overtime. They twice fouled three-point shooters late.

They couldn't rebound when they needed too.

And the Kings committed nine turnovers in the fourth.

Vladimir Radmanovic's three as time expired forced the extra period. That came after Reggie Williams missed a free throw on purpose and DeMarcus Cousins couldn't control the rebound and lost it out of bounds.

Beno Udrih has a career-high 31 points for the Kings. Monta Ellis leads the Kings with 27 points.

THIRD QUARTERKings 84, Warriors 70

The Kings haven't looked this good in the second half of a game since beating the shorthanded Washington Wizards a couple of weeks ago. Right now they're beating up on the shorthanded Warriors.

Carl Landry has led the way with 20 points in what has to be his best game in someo time. Beno Udrih has 19 points.

Reggie Williams has 19 points for the Warriors. Monta Ellis has 18 points. Stephen Curry isn't playing because of a sprained right ankle.

The Warriors are a team that can get hot, especially from behind the three point line, so this game isn't over.

Lou Amundson fouled out in the third for the Warriors so three-point specialist Vladimar Radmanovic should get a lot of playing time. That means the Kings need their bigs to not lose track of Radmanovic.

HALFTIMEWarriors 49, Kings 48

A much better showing by the Kings in the second quarter.

Carl Landry was a spark off the bench wiht 13 points in the quarter. He made six of eight shots and looked like the player the Kings traded for back in February. Landry alsohas a game-high seven rebounds.

The Kings seemed to play faster in the second which helped them score. They had 10 fastbreak points.

Tyreke Evans continues to struggle. He's missed nine of 10 shots and has just two pints. He does have four assists. But the Kings will struggle to beat the Warriors getting little production for Evans.

Beno Udirh has 12 points to pick up some of the scoring slack.

Monta Ellis missed all six of his shots in the second and has 11 point for Golden State. Dorell Wright and Reggie Williams also have 11 points for the Warriors.


FIRST QUARTERWarriors 26, Kings 18

Unless your name is Beno Udrih, there's not much to brag about to start this game.

The Kings are shooting seven for 24 (29.2 percent). Udrih has made four of those shots for 12 points. Darnell Jackson has four points. Omri Casspi has the other two for the Kings.

Monta Ellis is outplaying Tyreke Evans. The Warriors are shooting 64.7 percent, led by Ellis with nine points.

The Kings have looked confused on offense already. And the defensive numbers speak for themselves.

The Warriors aren't great defensively so the Kings should have plenty of chances to make a run. But the way things have started aren't promising.

--Jason Jones

For those that have asked "What are the Kings trying to do on offense?" here is what coach Paul Westphal said during the postgame press conference:

"Our identity is if we can get out in the open floor and get an early shot, a quick shot, off a miss or off a turnover we want to do that. We want to push the ball up the floor, we want to swing it from side-to-side. If there's a low post man we want to throw him the ball and run splits. We want to swing the ball from side to side if there's not a low post man. We want to give Tyreke (Evans) chances to slice and cut into the post more, come off pick and rolls. We want to space the floor. We want to hit the first open man and then run our sets. We have basic things that we can run depending on the way that our players are positioned. We have different keys. We need to read each other and read those keys. If the defense takes away one thing you go backdoor and try to go to the next option. That's the short answer."

The Kings show that at times. But it seems to always disappear at some point after halftime. I've asked scouts and coaches around the league what they see and a few things come up consistently:

1. The Kings rely on too much one-on-one play. It's hard to see what the Kings are trying to set up when everyone that gets the ball seems to be looking for their own shot. Too many possessions end with someone trying to make a play on their own with the shot clock running down.

2. Some of the problems are byproducts of youth. Young players tend to not trust the system and revert to what's worked in their past. For players that still have more high school experience than NBA years, that often means trying to beat your man off the dribble and not running plays. Also in the Kings' case, they're depending on a second-year player (Evans) and a rookie (DeMarcus Cousins) to do a lot. That comes with some mistakes.The Kings have said poor exectution is a problem. Maybe that explains why some have no idea what the Kings are even trying to do.

3. That Evans not being 100 percent is making the offense even tougher to run. He's a big part of the offense and when he's not right the offense isn't right.

That's the short take on the offense. So now you know what to look for Tuesday against the Warriors and see if the Kings can actually carry it out for an entire game.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Rockets 102, Kings 93

The Kings have lost five in a row. Once again, the Kings managed to not do what was working well on offense. They ignored DeMarcus Cousins on the block late and settled for jumpers.

Cousins finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.

The Kings got little from the starting backcourt. Tyreke Evans was 6-of-21 shooting. Beno Udrih missed all seven of his shots.

Kevin Martin led Houston (12-15) with 23 points. Luis Scola had 17 points and nine rebouns.

The Kings (5-20) have lost 19 of their last 21 games. In what was another poor fourth-quarter showing, the Kings scored just 12 points in the final period.

THIRD QUARTERKings 81, Rockets 79

It's time to see if the Kings have learned about executing and making shots under pressure.

It's not that I'm expecting the Kings to look as smooth as the Utah Jazz, Lakers or Celtics at their best. But the Kings have some good things working and in order to win they need to stick with them.

DeMarcus Cousins has 15 points. The Kings need to make sure he touches the ball on offense and not settle for contested jumpers.

Francisco Garcia is going well (14 points) so the Kings need to see if he'll be able to keep this up by looking for him when he works to get open.

The Rockets have made 10 three pointers, which has helped them overcome committing 17 turnovers. The Kings have scored 25 points off Houston turnovers.

HALFTIMEKings 57, Rockets 52

Can the Kings maintain this style and pace?

That's the usual question with the Kings these days. The Kings are shooting bad (38.9 percent) but have converted 12 Houston turnovers into 18 points.

DeMarcus Cousins is on his way to another good game with nine points, three rebounds and four blocked shots. Darnell Jackson chipped in eight points as did Tyreke Evans. But Evans is shooting 3-of-11.

I'm surprised the Evans isn't attacking Kevin Martin's defense more. He's never been noted for holding a player down defensively, but Evans is taking a lot of jumper. He's already taken four threes, making two.

Martin has 12 points after not scoring in the second quarter. Undersized center Chuck Hayes has 10 rebounds for the Rockets.

Now comes in the important third quarter, where many of the Kings' good starts have gone to waste.

FIRST QUARTERKings 31, Rockets 26

The Kings aren't shooting well but have managed to get off to a good start with some hustle.

The Kings have 11 points off six turnovers by the Rockets. It's helped them overcome shooting 35.7 percent (10-of-28) to start the game.

*DeMarcus Cousins is especially active on defense with three blocked shots already. I haven't checked but I'm pretty sure that's his season high. He also has four points.

Defending Chuck Hayes probably gives Cousins a lot more freedom to roam.

Kevin Martin leads Houston with 12 points. He was greeted with cheers during pregame introductions but there were some loud boos too.

--Jason Jones

Kings forward Jason Thompson will miss the next three games because of the cut on his right ring finger. Thompson was injured when his hand hit the rim and backboard trying block a shot Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Thompson received seven stitches and will be re-evaluated after sitting out the next three contests.

DeMarcus Cousins did not practice today because of a sore right ankle and sore wrists. He's listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Houston.

Kings coach Paul Westphal said if Cousins plays, he will start Darnell Jackson in place of Thompson.

If Cousins can't play Samuel Dalembert will start at center with Carl Landry at power forward.

Both options give the Kings a defensive-minded player (Jackson or Dalembert) along with an offensive option (Landry or Cousins).

--Jason Jones

December 18, 2010
The droughts continue

OKLAHOMA CITY - No one seems to have an answer to why the Kings continue to have stretches after halftime where they can't seem to figure out how to do what they did well early in games again.

It happened again tonight in their 102-87 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It's like teams have more energy than us," said Tyreke Evans. "They killed us on the boards, got second-chance shots and that's pretty much it."

The Kings were outscored 30-20 in the fourth. The Kings shot 35.3 percent (6-of-17) while the Thunder shot 55 percent (11-of-20). The Kings committed five turnovers in the fourth that led to 10 points for Oklahoma City.

The Kings actually came out strong early in the third, trailing 53-50 before the Thunder created some space.

"Our droughts rose up again and got us right there," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "Three-point game, a couple turnovers, a couple fouls, we're chasing again."

Once again, focus was mentioned as a reason for the drought. The Thunder opened the fourth on an 11-1 run to put the Kings away.

"That was the turning point right there," Westphal said. "I don't know if it was energy, focus, or if they turned up their defense or inexperience or all of the above. Take your pick."

It's likely a combination of them all that continues to be problematic. It shows in how the Kings struggle to get back to what works early in games when teams make adjustments.

Their movement away from the ball gave the Thunder problems, but the droughts continue to keep the Kings from winning.

"They definitely bring more energy in the second half," said Beno Udrih of opponents.

Udrih said the Kings are still trying to figure out why that happens so much. Until they figure it out, they'll continue to get worked in the second half.

It's still baffling that a team so young with so many players that should play with energy somehow doesn't have enough to sustain focus and effort for 48 minutes.

Some other notes:

*Westphal thought Donte' Greene did a good job trying to slow down Kevin Durant. During had 24 points, but not the kind of night other small forwards have had against the Kings.

*The Kings do have spurts where in the offense is ineffective, but they still need to defend better.

The Kings allowed two 30-point quarters. With the offense struggling, they can't afford try to keep up with most teams.

Udrih is averaging 16.8 points in his last five games while shooting 61.1 percent (33 for 54). Udrih had 19 points Friday.

--Jason Jones

FINALThunder 102, Kings 87

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings have lost four in a row and 18 of 20.

The Kings were down 83-70 before using a 7-0 run to get back in the game.

From there the Thunder (19-8) went back to their stars and took control.

Kevin Durant (24 points, five assists) and Russell Westbrook (21 points, six assists) led Oklahoma City.

DeMarcus Cousins fouled out of what had the makings of his most complete game. He left with 19 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 22 points, but for the second consecutive game managed only six points after halftime. Beno Udrih also had 19 points for the Kings (5-19).

THIRD QUARTERThunder 72, Kings 67

OKLAHOMA CITY - There was no third-quarter meltdown tonight.

So the Kings enter the fourth quarter still in the game even though at least one troubling trend continued.

After scoring 16 points in the first half, Tyreke Evans didn't score in the third, missing all four of his shots.

Nights like this are why Evans' conditioning has been a concern. Evans didn't look as aggressive in the third and settled for jump shots late in the quarter.

Kings hung around because DeMarcus Cousins is playing one of his best games of the season.

Cousins has 15 points, 15 rebound and three assists.

Kevin Durant (18 points) and Russell Westbrook (19 points) lead Oklahoma City. And the Kings managed to hold Serge Ibaka (12 points) to only two points in the third.

Beno Udrih (16 points) had only two in the third.

HALFTIMEThunder 53, Kings 46

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Kings couldn't hold the Thunder down long. Oklahoma City scored 32 in the second quarter to take the lead. Russell Westbrook got going and now had 12 points. Kevin Durant had 13.

Now we wait to see if the Kings can come out in the third and not get pushed around as is usually the case.

Pay attention to Tyreke Evans. He has 16 points but has a tendency to not be a factor in the second half this season when he starts off well.

Beno Udrih has 14 points while DeMarcus Cousins has eight points and nine rebounds. And he has just one foul.

Westbrook and Durant hurting the Kings isn't a surprise. But they better get a handle on center Serge Ibaka (10 points, eight rebounds) if they want to have a chance of winning tonight.

FIRST QUARTERKings 22, Thunder 21

OKLAHOMA CITY - So far, so good.

The ball is moving on offense for the Kings. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't hot yet and the Kings.

The Kings began the game running the offense through DeMarcus Cosins. He has two assists to go with six points.

Cousins gets in trouble with turnovers when he tries to drive to the basket. But when he sets and reads the defense he is good at finding cutters in the lane.

Durant has only seven points and Westbrook has for on 2-of-7 shooting for Oklahoma City.

Jermaine Taylor is with the Kings tonight but he is inactive. He joined the team yesterday and hasn't had a chance to practice with the Kings.

--Jason Jones

FINALHornets 94, Kings 91

NEW ORLEANS - The Kings lost again, this time in embarrassing fashion.

They couldn't hold on to a 23-pointlead midway through the third quarter and in the fourth the execution on offense broke down and they couldn't make shots.

Chris Paul (22 points, 11 assists) and Marcus Thornton off the bench (19 points) proved to be too much late as the Kings wilted down the stretch.

Tyreke Evans finished with 22 points, but only six in the second half. Beno Udrih added 20 points. Evans also had a team-high seven assists.

The Kings (5-18) have lost 17 or 19. The Hornets (15-10) started 11-1 and have struggled lately.

The Kings inability to finish tonight allowed New Orleans leave feeling good tonight.

The Kings were outscored 53-34 in the second half.

THIRD QUARTERKings 77, Hornets 69

NEW ORLEANS - The Kings led by 23points in the third and looked ready to coast. But the Hornets rallied, led by reserve guard Marcus Thornton's 13 points in the third.

New Orleans used a 20-4 run to make the score 72-65 in favor of Sacramento. That's as close as the Hornets got, but now this is going to be a tight game.

Tyreke Evans has 22 points to lead all scorers. Beno Udrih has 18 points.

Thornton leads New Orleans with 15 points. Chris Paul has 14 points and 10 assists. He had seven assists in the third.

The Kings are still shooting 52.4 percent. The Hornets are up to 40.3 percent.


HALFTIMEKings 57, Hornets 41

NEW ORLEANS - So far, so good.

Now it's time to see if the Kings can keep this up for another 24 minutes. The Kings have played arguably their most complete first half this season.

Sacramento is shooting 57.8 percent. The Hornets are shooting 31.7 percent. Tyreke Evans looks like himself (16 points, five assists), Carl Landry is playing how the Kings want him to off the bench (11 points) and DeMarcus Cousins has 11 points.

Cousins might have more if he didn't have three fouls in the first half.

But the Kings have done this before. So the test will be if the Kings can sustain this.

The Hornet look nothing like the 11-1 team that was in Sacramento last month. The Kings have had their way against the New Orleans defense.

The Hornets' stars - Chris Paul and David West - haven't made an impact yet. Paul has eight points, all on free throws and three assists. West has two points and has missed five of his six shots.

FIRST QUARTERKings 29, Hornets 23

NEW ORLEANS - Tyreke Evans is back and looking a little like himself in his return.

Evans sat out last night's loss in Houston but already has seven points and four assists. He didn't appear bothered by the plantar fasciitis that has nagged him most of the season.

The Kings shot 65 percent in the quarter and led by as many as nine points. That was also the case last night in the first before things fell apart in the second quarter.

The Hornets shot 40 percent in the first.

--Jason Jones

December 15, 2010
Postgame Jermaine Taylor talk

HOUSTON - A moment from tonight's postgame press conference:

Reporter: "Will Jermaine Taylor travel with the team to New Orleans?"

Kings coach Paul Westphal: "Why do you ask me that question?"

Reporter: "Because there are reports he's been traded to the Kings."

Westphal: "I've just been coaching the game. I don't know about any trades."

What was Westphal supposed to say? He can't go around commenting on trades that aren't official.

I'm told by a league source Taylor will be a King sometime tomorrow.

He's obviously someone the Rockets thought very highly of at one point. The Rockets paid $2.4 million last year for a second-round pick to draft Taylor, who was an elite scorer at Central Florida.

Taylor was the 32nd overall pick in 2009. Now the Rockets will send cash and Taylor to the Kings for a conditional second-round pick.

Taylor wasn't dealt tonight because the Rockets are waiting for their three-team deal with the Lakers and Nets to go through.

So Taylor's last game as a Rocket was spent sitting on the bench against the team he could join in New Orleans.

Taylor isn't the guard many Kings fans were hoping for. That would be Aaron Brooks and he's not on his way.

Taylor averaged 26.2 points as a senior at Central Florida in the 2008-09 season. Taylor was named to the 2010 NBA Summer League All Tournament team after averaging 18.4 points.

*As for the loss to the Rockets, Westphal said the Kings have to figure out how to make some breaks and overcome the bad breaks.

"Whether it's a couple of calls we think should go our way or a couple of turnovers by us, a couple of made threes. Hustle plays where we deflect the ball and it goes to the other team. It just seems like even though we were playing well the next thing you know we were down 10. Now we're in a catch up mode the start of the third quarter and we need to come out and get the first couple of buckets, they came out and got the first couple of buckets. It changes the whole game when that happens. We turned it over too many times (18). The Rockets puts us in situations that we didn't defend very well and they kept going over and over. Did a really good job of executing and they made threes. That's what happens."

*For those wondering why in one of his best games as a pro why DeMarcus Cousins didn't play more against the Rockets.

Cousins shot about 50 percent (8-of-15) in scoring 17 points to with seven rebounds, a blocked shot, no turnovers and only two fouls in 26 minutes.

Westphal said he tries to get Cousins out of games when he sees he looks tired to prevent him from picking up fouls because of fatigue.

Westphal said he was impressed with Cousins' play against the Rockets. Cousins was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter, but overall Westphal has said he's been impressed with how Cousins has handled himself.

"I thought he did very well," Westphal said. "I thought he held his composure pretty well. A couple of plays right in a row I thought he got a good block and went right down on the other end and there seemed to be a lot of contact. That can be a volatile situation when both of those calls go against you but he reacted OK."

--Jason Jones

FINALRockets 118, Kings 105

HOUSTON - After a quick glance at the offensive stats, it's hard to believe the Kings were down by as many as 22 points.

The Kings shot 52.5 percent and weren't horrible from the foul line (77.3 percent).

But they committed18 turnovers that led to 23 points for the Rockets (10-14) in losing for the 16th time in 18 games.

The Kings never overcame their shaky stretch of the second quarter. Luis Scola led Houston with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins each scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Kings. Jason Thompson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings (5-17) play at New Orleans tomorrow night.

THIRD QUARTERRockets 91, Kings 72

HOUSTON - It was more of the same in the third as the Rockets posted another 30-plus quarter. Houston shot 63.6 percent in the third.

Omri Casspi scored eight in the third, but there's not much else to celebrate if you're a Kings fan.

After a slow start, Houston is shooting 50.7 percent. The Kings are shooting 48.3 percent, which is respectable. But that's not good enough with the way the Rockets are playing.

HALFTIMERockets 58, Kings 48

HOUSTON - The Kings hit their usual offensive drought in the second quarter.

The Rockets closed the quarter on a 14-4. The Kings led by nine in the first quarter but couldn't maintain and were outscored 31-18 in the second.

After shooting 14 for 24 in the first (58.3 percent) the Kings shot seven for 19 (36.8 percent) I the second.

*The Rockets are getting help from everyone. Every Rocket that has played has scored, led by Kevin Martin with 12 points.

Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins each have 11 points for the Kings.

*In a break from the basketball I grew up watching Martin hugged Tyreke Evans on the bench during the game.

Such pleasantries are usually done before and after the game, right?

FIRST QUARTERKings 30, Rockets 27

HOUSTON - The Kings are without Tyreke Evans but scoring hasn't been a problem yet.

The Kings are shooting 58.3 percent, led by Jason Thompson's nine points. Four of the five starters have at least five points except Donte Greene, who hasn't scored.

The Rockets are shooing just 38.5 percent, but have seven second-chance points.

*Carl Landry received a nice ovation when he checked into the game. The love he still gets in Houston makes you wonder if Landry will pull a Cliff Lee in the offseason and end up back here.

*Kevin Martin has nine pints to lead the rockets.

--Jason Jones

HOUSTON - The Kings are set to acquire Rockets guard Jermaine Taylor as part of a four-team trade involving the Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and the New Jersey Nets.

The Rockets would receive swingman Terrence Williams, who was a first-round pick last season. The Nets would get a lottery-protected first-round pick from Houston and send forward/center Joe Smith to the Lakers in exchange for guard Sasha Vujacic.

The Rockets would send Taylor to the Kings to create a roster spot for Williams. The Kings will also receive cash in the deal and send a conditional second-round pick to the Rockets.

The trade cannot be made official until tomorrow, when Smith is eligible to be traded.

Taylor (6-4, 210) is a second-year guard from Central Florida. He has appeared in eight games for the Rockets this season averaging 4.9 points.

Taylor is suited up for the Rockets tonight. The Kings play in New Orleans tomorrow night.

He averaged 3.1 points as a rookie in 31 games with Houston, including four starts.

When contacted, a Kings spokesman declined to comment.

--Jason Jones

December 14, 2010
Evans out tonight

HOUSTON - Tyreke Evans will sit out tonight's game against the Houston Rockets because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Luther Head will start in place of Evans.

"(Evans is) going to keep getting treatment and resting," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We're going to try to get him back to full strength or get him to full strength. I don't know that he's ever been full strength this year. We're going to try to get him there."

This will be the first game Evans misses because of injury this season. He missed the season opener because of a league suspsension.

The foot has bothered Evans much of the season and it's shown in his play. Evans is shooting 39.1 percent this season after shooting 45.8 percent last season. He averaged 20.1 points as a rookie but is down to 16.4 points this season.

Evans is also down in rebounding (5.3 to 4.5) and assists (5.8 to 5.2).

Head has started 18 games for the Kings this season. He's averaging 6.3 points and will draw the job of defending Kevin Martin to start the game.

--Jason Jones

December 13, 2010
What to do with Reke's foot?

HOUSTON - Everyone I encounter these days seem to have an opinion as to what Tyreke Evans should do with his injured foot.

Writers that cover other teams, fantasy basketball players and local media around the Kings - it doesn't matter. We all have our opinion as to what Evans should do.

(I think fantasy owners are the most distraught right now. 20-5-5 has given way to 16-4-5).

Evans has been advised some close to him to rest his left foot that's bothered by plantar fasciitis.

The message from the team in the last couple of days has been consistent. If Evans feels he's in too much pain to play, he should say so, and he won't play.

But based on the opinions the Kings medical staff and a second opinion Evans' agent Arn Tellem sought, Evans can play as long as he sticks with the walking boot off the court, sleeping with a splint along with medicine and exercises to keep his foot from getting tight.

"His diagnosis is still a minor case of plantar faciitiis," said Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie earlier today. "He's closer to not having it at all than having it."

Evans is in Houston with the Kings, which from what I'm told would have been the case even if he weren't playing.

Petrie said the training staff needs to monitor Evans rehab so he wouldn't have been left in Sacramento. And if Evans can't play, it would be up to him to say so when consulting with the team.

"It's that and being honest with your own body," Petrie said.

Evans said he was told he might have to take time off if the pain becomes too much.

We won't know until later today here if Evans decides to sit out.

But until then, here's a brief recap of the travails of Evans' left foot:

Oct. 13: Tyreke turns both ankles in an exhibiton loss to the Lakers in Las Vegas. Hurts the left ankle after coming down on Theo Ratliff's foot and says that one hurts more.

Nov. 25: Kings are blown out on Thanksgiving. Evans says it's not a sprained ankle, but plantar fasciitis that has slowed him during the season. Adds the foot is "no excuse" for his play.

Nov. 26: Evans says he has no intention of sitting out games because of plantar fasciitis. Adds he played through it in college.


Dec. 7: Evans stays in Los Angeles after Kings lose to the Clippers to visit Dr. Richard Ferkel for a second opinion on his foot.

Dec. 8: Evans tells me he has a stress fracture before the Kings play the Wizards. Says he doesn't have one after the game.

Dec. 9: Evans has an MRI that confirms plantar fasciitis. He's still cleared play and continue treatment.

Dec. 11: Evans goes two for 10 in loss to Miami. Westphal says Evans play is a concern.

Dec. 12: Evans' brother, Julius, tweets Tyreke is going to sit to let his foot heal. Team says Tyreke hasn't told them he will sit.

Dec. 13: Tyreke travels with team to Houston and is listed as day-to-day.

--Jason Jones

Kings guard Tyreke Evans will travel with the Kings to Houston today and is officially listed as day-to-day with mild plantar fasciitis of his left foot.

Evans' brother, Julius, said Tyreke would be "out for a while" after struggling with the injury in his last three games.

Coach Paul Westphal said after Evans shot two for 10 for five points in Saturday's loss to Miami the team needed to get Evans "playing like he can play or do something else."

The injury has affected Evans off-and-on all season.

Evans is shooting 10 of 38 (26.3 percent) in his last three games. He's averaging 16.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists - all below his figures when he was Rookie of the Year last season.

Predictably, with so much of the offense dependent on Evans, the Kings have struggled on offense most of the season.

--Jason Jones

Tyreke Evans isn't going with the Kings to Houston because of his bad left foot. That's the word from his brother, Julius.

The Kings say they don't know what the case is because Tyreke hasn't told them he's not going.

Here's what Kings president Geoff Petrie said:

"Whatever needs to be done needs to be done in the best fashion possible. We'll see what (Monday) morning brings. It really comes down to if the player says he can't go."

The team says it will see how their star guard feels Monday morning and for him to say he can't play.

This is what Julius tweeted earlier today:

"Just got done having a talk wit my brother @thetyrekeevans. It's done! He's out for a while."

Team doctors and the doctor Evans visited at the request of his agent said Evans could play with the injury. But Evans said his doctor also told him if the pain became too much he should sit out.

--Jason Jones

I spoke with coach Paul Westphal this evening. He said the team has not decided if guard Tyreke Evans will sit out games because of mild plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

I checked with people close to Evans and left him a message to see how he's feeling. Some close to Evans want him to sit and try to heal. Evans has been advised by some not to play.

The rationale in sitting Evans makes sense. This isn't Kobe Bryant playing with a broken finger to get his team the top-seed in the Western Conference. This isn't Kevin Garnett gutting it out on a knee that's not 100 percent to earn a trip to the finals.

The Kings have lost 15 of 17 with Evans playing through the injury. His play has been inconsistent and with Evans not at his best, the Kings will continue to struggle to win.

With a hobbled Evans the Kings are 5-16 with the second-worst record in the Western Conference. The only team below the Kings -- the Los Angeles Clippers -- have beaten the Kings twice.

The Kings practice tomorrow before flying to Houston. If Evans isn't going to play, I'd expect he would stay in California for extensive treatment on his foot.

But the official word for now is wait-and-see.


--Jason Jones

December 11, 2010
In-game blog (Kings vs. Heat)

FINALHeat 104, Kings 83

Dwayne Wade's 36 points and LeBron James' 25 points and 10 rebounds were too much for the Kings to overcome.

The Kings were outrebouded 57-36 and shot just 36.7 percent.

Miami (17-8) shot 51.9 percent in routing the Kings. Miami has won eight in a row, all by double digits.

The Kings (5-16) lost for the 15th time in 17 games. Omri Casspi led the Kings with 20 points.

Tyreke Evans had just five points on two for 10 shooting.

THIRD QUARTERHeat 78, Kings 62

The Heat scored the first 12 points of the third and is in control of the game.

The Kings missed 12 of 13 to start the quarter and are now shooting 36.4 percent.

LeBron James joined scored 14 of his 21 in the third.

Dwayne Wade has 23 while Chris Bosh has 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Kings have been able to do little on offense. Tyreke Evans (five points) s two for 10. DeMarcus Cousins (two points0 is one for eight.

Omri Casspi has been a bright spot off the bench with 17 points. Jason Thomson has 13 points.

By time Casspi has been aggressive in his defense against James. He's physically overmatched, but hasn't backed down.

Unfortunately for the Kings, that energy hasn't paid off more, particularly on offense.


HALFTIMEHeat 47, Kings 42

The second quarter belonged to Dwyane Wade.

The Heat star scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second. He also had five of his six assists in the second.

Behind Wade, the Heat led by as many as eight. Miami used a 15-0 run to take a 37-29 lead before the Kings rallied to get back in the game. The Heat used another a 6-0 run to close the quarter to lead at halftime.

*The Heat shot 52.2 percent in the second while the Kings slumped and shot 30.4 percent. Miami also dominated the glass with an 18-8 rebounding edge in the quarter.

One reason for that is DeMarcus Cousins can't stay on the floor. He's played 8:37 in the half because he has three fouls. Samuel Dalembert came off the bench and grabbed six rebounds for the Kings.

*At the end of the half, Kings coach Paul Westphal wanted to talk to referee Dick Bavetta, who ignored Westphal and walked away.

Westphal was especially upset about Jason Thompson not getting a foul call late when he tried to shoot around Joel Anthony late in the second.

Miami has been called for seven fouls while the Kings have been hit with 11. Miami has made six of 10 free throws. The Kings have made three of six.


FIRST QUARTERKings 24, Heat 17

The Kings have been extremely active defensively. When I spoke to Omri Casspi before tonight's game he said the last thing you want to do against Miami is settle into a halfcourt game and the Kings haven't. They've remained aggressive.

The Kings have scored 16 of their points in the paint. Sacramento shot 55 percent and were led by Jason Thompson with nine points.

LeBron James led Miami with five points. The Heat is shooting 36.8 percent.

*Downside for the Kings is DeMarcus Cousins already has two fouls. The first came when Dwyane Wade jumped into him and got the call. The second came while Cousins set a screen.

The Kings were called for six fouls in the quarter. Miami was called for two.

--Jason Jones

December 10, 2010
How long can Evans play?

In case you missed my Tweet earlier today (I was out working on a story) here is the latest on Tyreke Evans' foot from the Kings:

"Sacramento Kings' guard Tyreke Evans underwent a precautionary MRI yesterday in Sacramento which confirmed the diagnosis of mild plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The MRI also revealed that the plantar fascia is intact and there is no stress fracture.

Evans will continue his prescribed treatments of the combination of medication, sleeping in a night splint and walking in a boot when not playing or practicing. He has been cleared to practice and play."

We know Evans can play. How he plays is something else.

We've seen Evans play well in the first half of games only to fade (think Nov. 27 against Chicago). Evans has said his foot feels worse after long periods of rest (like halftime).

Evans said there are plans for the training staff to find ways to keep his foot loose during rest.

Evans also said if the pain increases he will sit out games to rest his foot.

Now we all will wait to see if Evans will start looking like himself consistently.

--Jason Jones

Tyreke Evans underwent an MRI late this afternoon at UC Davis Medical Center. Because the MRI was performed late in the afternoon, results aren't expected to be in until Friday morning.

Evans visited Dr. Richard Ferkel, a foot specialist in Los Angeles, Tuesday. The MRI is a precautionary follow-up to the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis in Evans' left foot.

Evans has been bothered most of the season by the injury. His play has been inconsistent and the foot hurts more after extended periods of rest.

Evans has been cleared to practice and play in games, but will wear a walking boot when not on the court. Exercises, rehab, stretches and medication are among the planned treatment strategies.

Evans said Wednesday if the pain becomes too much he would sit out games.

FINALKings 116, Wizards 91

The Kings found a team down on its luck and took advantage.

Some interesting notes on the blowout:

*The Wizards were the sixth team to play the Kings in a second game of a back-to-back. The Wizards were the first team to lose to the Kings in that situation.

*The Kings shot a season-high 54.2 percent.

*Not sure how much you put into the plus/minus stat, but Jason Thompson was a +45 tonight. He had 22 points and 14 rebounds.

*Beno Udrih was one for 10 in his last game, but he was six for nine with 23 points tonight.

*Tyreke Evans will have an MRI on his left foot tomorrow at UC Davis. Evans was three for nine tonight and eight for 28 over his last two games.

Evans told me earlier in the night he had plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture. He later said he didn't have a stress fracture, but he does have plantar fasciitis.

Evans will be treated with medicine, exercises and will wear a walking boot when he's not playing or practicing.

*The game story is bascially about Pooh Jeter and the impact he's made lately. He had 13 points and nine assists and got the team going when the Wizards were way too close in the second quarter.

*The Wizards are now 0-12 on the road. Ouch.

THIRD QUARTERKings 92, Wizards 70

The Kings are in position to be on the right side of a blowout headed into the fourth quarter.

Jason Thompson is having his best game of the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Beno Udirh I sup to 22 points.

The Wizards have four players that have scored in double figures but their turnovers (20) and defense (Kings are shooting 58.1 percent) have been problematic.

HALFTIMEKings 59, Wizards 45

Lately Pooh Jeter in the game means something good is going to happen. That was the case in the second quarter.

Jeter had six points and three assists in the second and helped the Kings take control against the depleted Wizards.

Beno Udrih has 19 points for the Kings. Jason Thompson is playing well with 12 points, eight rebounds and only one foul.

The Wizards have 15 turnovers in the first half and are shooting 41 percent. Without John Wall and Andray Blatche, the Kings really shouldn't lose this game.

Of course by typing that, I probably guaranteed something bad.

FIRST QUARTERWizards 27, Kings 26

Amazingly, this game is close.

The Kings jumped on the shorthanded Wizards, 12-2 and led by as many as 11 points. But the Wizards - who are without John Wall and Andray Blatche -rallied behind the play of Wall's replacement Kirk Hinrich.

Hinrich led the Wizards with 10 points.

Beno Udrih leads the Kings with 13 points. He looks much better than if one for 10 showing Monday in Los Angeles.

*Wall is sitting out because of a sore left foot. He hurt himself during Tuesday's loss to the Lakers. Blatche was out last night with a sore him.

Needless to say the Kings need to win this game for some kind of confidence. If you can't beat the Wizards - who haven't won a road game this season - without two starters then who can you beat?

*Samuel Dalembert isn't playing tonight. He attended the funeral for Philadelphia sports writer Phil Jasner, who had covered the NBA since 1981.

Dalembert played for the 76ers his first eight seasons in the NBA.

--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - With last night's game ending so close to my deadline, I'm not sure how many fans have seen the late print editions of The Bee with my story that actually has quotes.

So here's something to fill in those blanks:

*DeMarcus Cousins cares deeply about basketball. He said he was "taking the blame for that L" because he had a layup spin out right before Eric Gordon's three pointer gave the Clippers a 94-91 lead.

"I know I'm supposed to move on to the next play but I believe that was the play of the game," Cousins said. "I messed up."

Cousins on another tough loss:

"The effort's there. Each quarter we've got to finish out strong. Every game there's a quarter that we let get away and that's where we get beat and then we have to fight back at the end. If we ever get to a point where we just play the game in the first three quarters and then just seal the deal in the fourth we'll win games."

One of the things coaches on the Kings have wanted to see from their young team is greater sense of professionalism.

Cousins, in another sign that he cares a lot, explained how he was able to help keep Blake Griffin to 13 points:

"I actually saw the game where they played Portland (Sunday) night. And I saw some of his habits and I brought it into this game and didn't let him get a running start."

Cousins declined to reveal all he picked up about Griffin's game because the Kings play the Clippers two more times this season.

*Pooh Jeter has a new nickname. Well new to a lot of us.

"When I get in the game they call me Spark or Spark Plug, I just have to continue to bring that energy. That's my job. Bring that energy and get it going because we're ready to run. We're young, so we're ready run."

The Kings rallied in the fourth because of their Spark. Jeter scored 11 of the Kings' 28 points in the fourth.

Coach Paul Westphal called the Pooh the "Juice" that gave the Kings a chance to win.

"We just had to loosen up," Jeter said. "Once we did that we started having fun and then we started getting stops."

For all the talk of where the Kings could find some help at point guard, it looks as if some of that help had been on the bench all a long with Jeter.

Omri Casspi had his best game of the season and looked very comfortable playing with Jeter.

Casspi said Jeter has played like the way he did against the Clippers in practice all season.

"That's Pooh," Casspi said. "That's what he needs to do. He needs to press the point guard, full court press and push the ball. And he's doing great. He's doing a great job."

The fast game clearly suits the Kings best. When the fast break isn't there, they can always give the ball to Cousins and let the offense run through him like it did last night in the fourth quarter.

"We have a lot of guys that run the floor," Casspi said. "I love to run the floor and we had Pooh pushing the ball like that so we can get a lot of easy ones and put some pressure on the offense for them to make plays. Because if we're running like that we punish them for every mistake they make."

For Westphal's take on the game, click here.

--Jason Jones

December 6, 2010
Can Evans keep his promise?

LOS ANGELES - Tyreke Evans kept his word Saturday night.

He promised to be aggressive and attack instead if coming out to set up his teammates first.

The key will be Evans keeping his word consistently.

Consider this quote from Paul Westphal:

"We had a talk before the game. I just said stop trying to get assists. Just play. I think if he prethinks a play sometimes he loses his aggressiveness."

That wasn't in regards to the Dallas game. That was after the Kings beat the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 1.

That talk came after a 6-for-20 shooting night in Cleveland. Evans promised to be aggressive after losing by 33 to the Lakers after he shot 5-for-15.

For the Kings' sake, they hope it doesn't getting beat by 30-plus or Evans shooting in the 30 percent-range to remind him who he is.

Evans responded to Westphal's talk last month with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Evans absorbed the beating by the Lakers and came back with 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Having Beno Udrih in the starting lineup to initiate the offense clearly helped Evans. With Udrih initiating the offense, Evans was able to get the ball and attack.

Evans played his best with Udrih in the backcourt last season. If Udrih stays in the lineup, Evans figures to keep his promise more consistently the rest of the season.

--Jason Jones

FINALMavericks 105, Kings 103

The Mavericks closed the game on a 15-4 run to escape with a win over the Kings.

Jason Terry stole a Carl Landry pass intended for Francisco Garcia with 2.9 seconds left to seal the game when the Kings had a chance to tie or win the game.

Two missed free throws by JJ Barea gave the Kings (4-14) a chance with 11.6 seconds left, but their 11th turnover over the game sent the Kings to their 13th loss in 14 games.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 25 points and eight assists. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Donte' Greene had 19 and Beno Udrih had 16 points and six assists.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas (16-4) with 25 points. Terry added 23 points off the bench.

THIRD QUARTERKings 80, Mavericks 80

The third quarter wasn't the Kings undoing as it's been recently. Sacramento hasn't backed down after the Mavericks rallied as expected.

Tyreke Evans leads all scorers with 23 points. He's doing as promised and playing aggressively.

Both teams are shooting 49.2 percent. The Mavs took the lead, 80-78 on a jumper from Caron Butler with 1:24 left in the quarter. Carl Landry's dunk with 29.4 seconds left in the third tied the game.

*Dirk Nowitzki is still stuck on 19 points, but Jason Terry has 15 points to pick up some of the scoring slack.

*DeMarcus Cousins left the game early in the third and was holding his hand on the bench. He eventually returned to the game.


HALFTIMEKings 55, Mavericks 54

The Kings cooled off a bit from the field, but they're still shooting decently (48.9 percent) to lead one of the best teams in the NBA.

Donte Greene has 19 points to lead the Kings. Tyreke Evans has 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and eight rebounds.

Greene has already scored his season high.

The Kings have played the first half with more enthusiasm than they did the entire game against the Lakers. With Cousins and Beno Udrih starting, the offense looks much better.

*Dirk Nowitzki is doing what he does. The Kings can't matchup with him and he's exploiting that with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

*The game has been good to watch because it hasn't been sloppy. The Kings have only three turnovers. The Mavericks have five turnovers.

*This is the second time the Kings have led at halftime this season.

FIRST QUARTERKings 37, Mavericks 28

The Kings have been bad on offense much of this season. And after last night's no-show against the Lakers, the Kings have come out aggressive and put up their best scoring quarter of the season.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 14 ponts. DeMarcus Cousins returned ot the starting lineup with 11 points. Donte Greene has 10 points.

The Kings are shooting 62.5 percent to start and already have 18 points in the paint.

Jason Terry led the Mavericks with eight points off the bench. Dallas shot 57.9 percent in the quarter.

--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - The question becomes when do the Kings get mad?

Sure it was a bad night to catch the Lakers. They'd lost four in a row for the first time since Pau Gasol was acquired during the 2007-08 season. But the Kings have lost 12 of 13 and six consecutive games.

So what do the Kings have to do to take out their frustrations on an opponent?

"If we knew the answer we'd probably be doing it," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. "Keep searching, keep working. That's all we really can do."

Looks like lineup changes are on the way, for one.

Kings coach Paul Westphal said "it's enough of this lineup" when it comes to the Tyreke Evans, Luther Head, Jason Thompson, Donte Greene and Samuel Dalembert as starters.

Beno Udrih started the second half for Head and Dalembert was replaced by Cousins. Westphal said the team will look at how to tinker with the lineup to improve the offense, which remains hard to watch.

When the Kings were scoring a lot of points (remember way back to the first four games of the season and the 3-1 record) Cousins and Udrih were starters.

Cousins and Udrih might be the Kings two-best facilitators, too. Having both on the floor might force the offense to have some continuity.

As for what the Kings can do with Dallas at Arco Arena tomorrow night, Evans doesn't have the answer either.

"I don't really know," Evans said. "Just go out there and play. There's a lot going on right now. Players frustrated, we keep losing and nobody in here wants to lose on purpose. We've just got to go out there and find a way. They coaches, they coach but we're the ones on the floor."

Evans plans to take on more responsibility to turn things around after being too passive.

"I think when I'm more aggressive that's the only way we'll have a chance," Evans said. "I was coming in thinking pass first but now I'm going to look to be more aggressive and try to take over the game and be aggressive."

We'll see how that works out against the Mavericks, who are one of the best teams in the NBA.

*The Kings didn't score 20 points in the quarter until the fourth during garbage time.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson stated the obvious:

"There is almost no team in this league that can survive if they don't score.Scoring is such an important part, when teams don't get 20 points in a quarter, it kind of dents their effort. It takes the heart out of it."

The Kings have had their hearts taken out repeatedly lately.
--Jason Jones

FINALLakers 113, Kings 80

LOS ANGELES - The Lakers had lost four in a row but got going against a Kings team that was never in this game.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 22 points. He sat out the fourth quarter as did Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. They each scored 16 for the Lakers (14-6).

Tyreke Evans had 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Jason Thompson led the Kings with 19 points.

It was the worst loss of the season for Kings (4-13). Sacramento has lost 12 of 13.


THIRD QUARTERLakers 82, Kings 52

LOS ANGELES - The Kings have been dominated, and that's a nice way of putting it:

*The Kings are shooting 34.5 percent, compared to 54.1 percent for the Lakers.

*The Kings have been outscored 52-14 in the paint.

*The Kings have 15 turnovers. The Lakers have just eight.

*Three Lakers are in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant's 22. Only one King is - Tyreke Evans with 15.

HALFTIMELakers 52, Kings 35

LOS ANGELES - This one got ugly fast.

The Lakers led by as many as 18 in the second while the Kings struggled to keep pace The Kings are shooting just 33.3 percent and have been outscored 34-4 in the paint.

Yes, the Kings have one more point than the Lakers have in the paint.

The Kings also committed 11 turnovers.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 10 points. Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 16 points.


FIRST QUARTERLakers 21, Kings 16

LOS ANGELES - The Kings are struggling from the field (36.8 percent) but are still in the game.

The Kings shot 7-of-19 in a game that featured a visit to the locker room for Tyreke Evans after briefly having his knee looked at on the sidelines. Evans returned to the game and has three points and two assists.

Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom each have six points to lead the Lakers.

*The Kings already have five turnovers. They've only given up two points off the turnovers, but the Kings need to be more careful or they could fall behind by a lot quickly.

*The Lakers outscored the Kings 16-0 in the paint.

*Samuel Dalembert (right knee tendinitis) started the game.

--Jason Jones

If DeMarcus Cousins starts Friday night against the Lakers, it would be his sixth start. A look at how Cousins and the Kings did with Cousins as a starter.

*The Kings were 3-2 with DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup. The offense was especially good the first four games. The Kings averaged 108.8 points. The defense wasn't good (107.8 points allowed per game), but it looked like the Kings would be a high-scoring bunch that would be fun to watch.

*Since starting 3-1, the Kings are allowing 98.3 points per game. Cousins last start was against the Lakers on Nov. 3 and the Kings gave up 112.

But the offense has gotten much worse. The Kings are averaging 89.5 points in their last 12 games.

*Cousins averages 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists as a starter. He is shooting 43.1 percent as a starter. That's still well below par for a center, but much better than the 38.8 percent Cousins shoots off the bench. Cousins rebounds slightly better as a reserve (6.9 per game) and averages 9.7 points.

*Should Cousins start and play well, Paul Westphal will have another difficult decision to make with the lineup. The offense has been hard to watch at times and that end of the court is largely at fault for the Kings losing 11 of 12.

When the Kings started well Westphal ran the offense through Cousins at times late in games. And when the Kings rallied against Indiana on Wednesday, Cousins was on the floor.

Provided he isn't horrible on defense, a solid game against the Lakers could get Cousins back in the starting lineup.

--Jason Jones

Kings center Samuel Dalembert missed Wednesday's practice because of right knee tendinitis. Kings coach Paul Westphal called Dalembert "doubtful" for the next couple of games.

That leaves the Kings with Jason Thompson as the logical backup center to DeMarcus Cousins. Problem is the Kings have no centers left on the bench with Carl Landry and Darnell Jackson as the only remaining post players.

Landry and Jackson are better suited to play power forward. Westphal said if Dalembert misses a lot of time, Whiteside could be recalled from the NBA Development League.

Whiteside would be needed because the Kings would need size and Cousins and Thompson are foul prone.

Whiteside made his D-League debut with the Reno Bighorns.

Whiteside had six points and four blocked shots in his debut. Whiteside also picked up five fouls in 13 minutes.

--Jason Jones

For the first time I can recall, Tyreke Evans expressed some displeasure with coach Paul Westphal publicly when the Kings lost to the Bulls on Saturday.

The Kings lost their lead with Evans on the bench. When Evans returned the Bulls had taken a two-point lead, but more importantly, had taken control of the game.

There would be no such issues during Tuesday's loss to the Indiana Pacers. Even with his hottest shooter on the bench and the Pacers opening up a big lead in the third quarter, Westphal stuck with Evans and left Beno Udrih waiting.

Udrih had 15 points in the first half, but didn't check in for Evan, who missed all three of his shots in the third, until the Kings trailed 78-60 with 2:57 left in the third.

When asked why Udrih sat so long, Westphal said Luther Head was playing and defending well and that he was giving Evans a chance to play and that Udrih checked in when it was time for Evans to rest.

"He's our guy," Westphal said of Evans. "And how are you going to know if he's going to produce unless you let him play the minutes...I'm not going to take Tyreke out if he has a couple bad shots just to ice him into thinking he's no good because I think he's very good. I think we stick with out guy."

Udrih finished with 24 points, shooting 9-for-12. He was part of the group of reserves (DeMarcus Cousins, Omri Casspi, Francisco Garcia and Carl Landry were the others) that got that lead down to six with 7:30 left in the game.

Evans had 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting with nine assists.

*There was plenty written and said about DeMarcus Cousins before the game. He responded to being kicked out of practice with a season-high 20 points.

Cousins cares a lot about the game and it shows. He got frustrated and got a little to mouthy with his coach and was kicked out of Monday's practice.

"It's been very hard," Cousins said of the frustration. "It's frustrating because of the losing and all of the negativity. Going into practice it's like there's a black cloud. It's tough but you just have to keep pushing."

Cousins, however, managed to find some good in what happened Monday.

"It was a good lesson for me," Cousins said. "I was being selfish. I'm frustrated about losing. It was being selfish. It was a good lesson to learn and I learned from it."

*If you're a perimeter defender, you can't like hearing this from Pacers coach Jim O'Brien when asked about the play of Danny Granger.

"We knew they were going to have a difficult time with him," O'Brien said. "They don't have a stopper defender at the wing spot. So we knew he was going to get his good looks. He took advantage of them and we got the ball in his hands."

Granger had 37 points, 22 in the second half.

*You can read how the Kings feel about the latest loss that was attributed to lack of focus here and more on Cousins here.I focused on the mental mistakes because they come up after every loss. It's hard to imagine how the players could be so unprepared and not know their plays.

It's one thing if schemes are bad and just not working. But it's hard to know for sure if players don't even know the schemes.

The media doesn't see all of practice, but players and coaches assure us the Kings are executing fine in practice.

"In practice we're doing good," Evans said. "When it comes down to the game it's a different story. We just kind of lose focus. We just have to stay focus and working on our concentration."

I'm not sure there are concentration and focus drills the Kings can do to help. And how a player doesn't focus while on the court is baffling. Basketball isn't like baseball where there are long stretches where a player might not be involved.

"I think after a while guys have to take accountability," said Jason Thompson. "If they want to play they've got to know it. That's unacceptable. And if it's one or two people it's hurting the team and we're not the kind of team that can go through stretches where guys don't know where they're going that we can bounce back from it."

--Jason Jones

FINALPacers 107, Kings 98

The Kings pulled within six with about a minute to go, but couldn't overcome their poor third quarter and lost their fifth consecutive game. The Kings have dropped 11 of 12.

Fans booed as the final seconds ticked off the clock as the loss dropped the Kings to 2-8 at home.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 24 points. DeMarcus Cousins scored a career-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds. Tyreke Evans had 16 pints, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Danny Granger led the Paces with 37 points. Darren Collsion had 17 points. Roy Hibbert added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Kings center Samuel Dalembert left the game in the second half with right patellar tendinitis and did not return.

THIRD QUARTERPacers 80, Kings 69

Not exactly sure what the Kings are doing at halftime lately, but it's not working.

This is the third consecutive game the Kings have come out after halftime and looked lost. Indiana opened the third on a 19-4 run to take control of this game.

The Kings committed six turnovers in the third after none in the second quarter.

*Beno Udrih still hasn't missed from the field and has 20 points to lead the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins has 10 points.

The only starter in double figures for the Kings is Tyreke Evans with 13 points. But he has missed seven of his 10 shots.

*Danny Granger is up to 25 points and had a four-point play in the third.

--Jason Jones


HALFTIMEKings 52, Pacers 52

The Kings put together their second game in a row of sound offense in the first half. They are shooting 52.5 percent and have only four turnovers. All four turnovers were in the first quarter.

Beno Udrih has made all six of his field goals and leads the Kings with 15 points. Tyreke Evans has 11 points and eight assists.

DeMarcus Cousins has been good off the bench. He has six points and four rebounds.

Carl Landry's debut as the sixth man hasn't gone well. He's played three minutes, made one of three from the floor, and has three fouls, one that was called flagrant.

*The Kings main problem (or should I say Donte Greene's since he's defending him) is how to slow down Danny Granger. Granger has 15 points to lead Indiana.

*The Kings only have two fast break points. Indiana has 12. Indiana also has 10 second-chance points. That's what's keeping the Pacers in the game.

FIRST QUARTERKings 23, Pacers 22

Tyreke Evans is off to a good start again. He has seven points and two assists. If you want to nitpick, he was 3 of 5 on free throws and has two turnovers. Donte Greene has six points.

The Kings were down 6-0 quickly before running off nine unanswered to take the lead. The Kings are shooting 50 percent.

*The slow start had some of the fans here booing. There were cheers when DeMarcus Cousins checked in.

*Center Roy Hibbert leads Indiana with six points. Danny Granger added five points.

--Jason Jones

While it's not time to panic, whatever DeMarcus Cousins did to get kicked out of practice isn't the kind of stuff the Kings want to see from their prized rookie.

Kings coach Paul Westphal wouldn't say if Cousins mouthed off or what action led to the move. He said it was a decision to help Cousins continue to "develop."

It's very possible Cousins might have tested his boundaries with the coaching staff and the staff pushed back. Kings coach Paul Westphal has spoken about Cousins' being vocal when he doesn't know why he's being told to do something before going along with it. Until I get in touch with Cousins, I'm just making an educated guess.

The Kings still like Cousins and have every intention of helping him improve his shooting (a team-worst 38.4 percent), fouls (league-leading 4.2 per game) and turnovers (2.4 per game).

Cousins is still one of four rookies averaging double figures in scoring (10.3 points) and is third among rookies in rebounding (6.7)

And the Kings don't want Cousins to play without emotion. But even he knows he has control it.

Now onto other news:

*Is Tyreke Evans a point guard?

No.

Evans isn't Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, etc.

But Westphal said he isn't asking Evans to be a point guard.

"We don't technically have a point guard in our system," Westphal said. We have two guards who handle the ball and Tyreke's capable of guarding the point guard. He's capable of guarding the off guard and sometimes the three man. So I don't even get into the discussion of whether Tyreke's a point or not. It's pretty much irrelevant to me."

Westphal said the staff is working with Evans on how to make quicker and better decisions with the ball. That includes initiating the offense faster when he has the ball and what to do if the offense starts late. They also want to see Evans use a jump stop more and not pick up offensive fouls running over opponents after passing.

The way Evans moved the ball and made quick decisons Saturday against Chicago is how the Kings envision using Evans as a playmaker.

*Hassan Whiteside has been assigned to the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League. Westphal said Whiteside was disappointed, but told him he isn't being demoted in a negative way. Whiteside is raw and needs to play.

He's not going to get playing time anytime soon on the Kings behind Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Darnell Jackson or Cousins at power forward or center.

Whiteside will now play for former Kings coach Eric Musselman.

*The Kings waived Antoine Wright. The move was surprising considering Wright's one-year deal was guaranteed for $992,680.

But Wright wasn't happy with his role. He played in only seven games, totaling two points and three rebounds. Rather than have someone at the end of the bench unhappy, the Kings chose to let Wright walk.

Simply, it was a situation that wasn't going to work for either party.

*Jason Thompson will stay in the starting lineup with Carl Landry coming off the bench.

*Evans was sick and didn't practice today. Francisco Garcia practiced today after missing two games because he was sick. Westphal said Garcia still isn't 100 percent.

--Jason Jones

Leadership comes in many forms. The Kings are still looking for someone to emerge as a leader, someone that can calm the team on the court and get things organized.

Francisco Garcia has done this in the past. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Garcia missed the last two games due to illness and the Kings have fallen apart in the second half of each game.

Beno Udrih has filled the role at times, too. Garcia and Udrih are the two players Tyreke Evans usually names as leaders on the team.

But it would help if a "leader" were someone that would be almost certain to be on the court in late-game situations. Udrih's role has changed with Luther Head's emergence. Garcia is one of three possibilities at small forward late in games.

One thing is certain - don't expect Evans to change his personality to make the Kings "his" team.

Evans admits he's not the leader the Kings need at this stage of his career.

"I don't think I'm there yet," Evans said. "I'm not too much into talking and cursing teammates out pointing the finger at somebody. I'd rather tell them in the locker room or just show them and lead by example on the court."

Carl Landry sees the leadership void, but he's cautious to step into it.

He's been a Kings for 43 games, not exactly long enough to assert his opinion in the locker room or on the court.

But Landry is likely to be on the court in crucial situations. Paul Westphal is a huge fan of Landry's game and likes to use him in the fourth quarter.

Landry was careful not to say too much last season even though he was clearly one of the top-2 options in the offense. But he also said he with an entire coaching staff already correcting players, he doesn't see the need to chime in during games. It's something he didn't like as a young player in Houston.

But Landry acknowledged someone might need to speak up more on the court, maybe even himself.

"There might come a time where I might have to be a more vocal leader on the court," Landry said. "Not necessarily saying I've got to have the ball but just being more vocal."

The sooner someone fills the role, the better for the Kings.

*The Kings probably would have had today off if not for their loss to Chicago.

A review of the film showed the Kings didn't respond to the aggressive defense played by Chicago.

"You have to answer their aggressiveness with some finesse and we answered it with frustration and we stopped moving," Westphal said. "We stopped going backdoor, setting screens and we bogged down. It's something that is obvious but we have to face head on."

Westphal said there's no reason for the Kings not to know to do against pressure and how to make defenses pay.

The Kings might not run the Princeton offense, but they do have the man that made it a staple in basketball lingo.

"When a team overpressures you, Pete Carril in the Hall of Fame because he taught guys how to go backdoor when that happens," Westphal said. "And we've got a resource on our staff and it's not like we haven't taught that. We're not living it enough yet. I'm not trying to point the finger at the players and say these guys are hopeless because they aren't but that's the next step."

After today's practice, Carril and assistant coach Otis Hughley worked with Evans, Landry and Pooh Jeter on some offensive principles.

It's something Carril does often with various players, from the guards to the bigs.

*Westphal also addressed the perception that all the problems with the offense start and end with Evans.

Evans is getting heat for not passing enough and dribbling too long. Add to that he doesn't push the tempo enough and dribbles into defenders and picks up too many fouls.

I'm sure I've missed some things that Evans has done wrong.

Here's what Westphal said:

"One thing that the film was real clear on is our offensive bogging down is not pointed directly at Tyreke all the time. There were a lot of players that broke down offensively and his are a little bit more out there and it's easy to put a target on his back and say 'See where he messed up on that play where he charged that guy.' Certainly he needs to jump stop better and not run somebody over after a pass. But his mistakes are no worse than some of the mistakes other players are making who don't know the offense or are turning down open shots or taking ill-advised quick shots or not setting a good screen. It all goes hand-in-hand. And because he has the ball in his hands and if nobody breaks open and he tries to make a play and charges somebody that does make it a good play but it doesn't mean it was the only bad play that happened. We're trying to correct all of that."

*Westphal said he liked how Jason Thompson looked in the starting lineup and didn't rule out bringing Landry off the bench in the future.

Westphal said he hadn't spoken with either players so he didn't want to go into too much detail about the situation.

Thompson started against the Bulls after Landry overslept and missed shootaround.

"It's tough knowing my team counts me as a leader," Landry said. "For me to oversleep, that's not a good a look at all."

Landry said he's fine with starting or coming off the bench.

Landry missed a practice last week with a sore back, too. He said his back is still sore, but it's getting better.

Garcia didn't finish practice after feeling dizzy. He's been sick since the Thanksgiving game.

--Jason Jones

November 27, 2010
In-game blog (Kings vs. Bulls)

FINALBulls 96, Kings 85

The frustration is becoming evident on the court. Players are yelling at each other and it's understandable.

The Kings scored nine points in the fourth and lost thanks to their inability to run sound offense and their ability to commit turnovers.

Derrick Rose was good with 30 points, seven rebound and seven assists. But the Kings were awful in the fourth and helped the Bulls win this one.

Chicago opened the third on a 9-0 run to take a 78-76 lead. The Kings rallied to take an 81-78 lead but the Bulls eventually pulled away, outscoring the Kings 27-9 in the fourth.

Luol Deng added 22 points for the Bulls. Jason Thompson led the Kings with 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Kings had 16 turnovers in the second half.


THIRD QUARTERKings 76, Bulls 69

So much for all that praise for taking care of the ball.

After just two turnovers in the first half, the Kings committed eight in the third. Those mistakes led to eight points for the Bulls and helped cut into the Kings' lead.

The Kings are getting offense from some different players tonight.

Jason Thompson leads the Kings with 18 points and seven rebounds. Thompson has shown the ability to get hot in the past so that's nothing new.

What has been a surprise is Samuel Dalembert. He's made six of seven for 12 points and six rebounds.

Derrick Rose leads the Bulls with 22 points.


HALFTIMEKings 57, Bulls 44

In a somewhat monumental moment, the Kings lead at halftime for the first time this season.

Tyreke Evans is being aggressive and making quick decisions. He has 13 points and six assists.

Jason Thompson is making a case that he should play more, as a starter or off the bench. He has 12 points and five rebounds and has brought energy the Kings have lacked a lot in losing nine of 10.

*The Kings have only two turnovers and the Bulls didn't score of either mistake. The Kings have converted six Chicago turnovers into 10 points.

*The have been led by the spectacular play of Derrick Rose. He has 16 points and four assists.


FIRST QUARTERKings 28, Bulls 21

The real Tyreke Evans showed up in the first quarter. You know, the guy that attacks the basket and is aggressive.

Evans has 11 points, two rebounds and two assists to get the Kings started out. And after a second half against the Clippers in which the Kings looked sluggish, they have come out with energy on both ends of the floor.

Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 12 points. He scored the first eight points for Chicago after missing last night's loss at Denver with a sore neck.

Jason Thompson started for the Kings at power forward in place of Carl Landry. Landry overslept and missed this morning's shootaround.

The Bulls are in the last game of their two-week "circus" road trip.
--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - First, sorry about not posting an update from the fourth quarter from the Clipper game. Deadlines are really tight for games that start at 7:30 p.m. and my priority was getting something in for the paper.

Plus, I doubt there were many Kings fans that watched beyond the third quarter. Things only got worse in the fourth so you didn't miss much.

Now on to some notes and observations from the game:

*Something is not right with Tyreke Evans. He doesn't resemble the player from last season. He's missing way too many layups and the offense is looking out of sync with him running it.

Kings coach Paul Westphal and pulled Evans during the third quarter to try to shake him out of the malaise he's been in lately.

I think Evans isn't healthy. After the game, Evans said he's bothered by plantar fasciitis, but that's no excuse for how he played against the Clippers. Evans missed 11 of 13 from the floor. He was four of seven on free throws and totaled eight points.

Evans' ankle has been the injury noted this season. Plantar fasciitis is a more severe worry (don't quote me, I'm not a doctor) than a sprained ankle. But Evans is right, it can't be an excuse if he's on the floor.

Evans recent slump could be affecting him mentally. Evans is shooting 35.6 percent in his last six games.

"Tyreke Evans is not used to this prolonged lack of production," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "I'm sure that it bothers him. He's too good of a player to shoot 2-for-13 from the field. We know that he's had ankle problems but he seemed to feel pretty good at practice (Wednesday) and he moved very well. He says he's OK but he's not finishing plays. He's not making the decisions that he needs to make. He's struggling."

So it's no coincidence that with Evans counted on to do so much for the offense that the Kings looked so bad on offense again.

Westphal decried the ball movement that disappeared by the second half. Carl Landry was hot in the first half (7-of-9, 15 points) but got only two shots in the second half as the Kings fell behind by as many as 20 points.

Evans had no answer as to why the Kings offense became stagnant again.

Here's how bad it got:

*The Kings made 29 shots, tying the season low, which they've set two other times. The most recent had been Monday in Utah.

*The Kings had their worst scoring quarter of the season with 13 in the fourth against the Clippers.

*This didn't come against a juggernaut. Keep in mind, the Clippers started three rookies against the Kings and were just 2-13.

"We run the play sometimes and then we break the play sometimes," Evans said. "I don't know. I couldn't even tell you. It's frustrating now."

--Jason Jones

THIRD QUARTERClippers 84, Kings 69

LOS ANGELES - The Clippers are making it look easy.

Eric Gordon has 26 points. Blake Griffin has 24 points and 13 rebounds. The Kings have one more quarter to try to make a better showing on national television.

The Clippers are shooting 56.9 percent. This is without All-Star center Chris Kaman, out with an ankle injury.

The Kings, meanwhile, are looking outclassed by the 2-13 Clippers.

Carl Landry has 18 points and six rebounds. Luther Head has 11 points and seven assists. Besides that there's not much nice to be said.

Tyreke Evans doesn't look like himself at all. He's 2 of 11 with six points and five assists. He looked to be trying to loosen up his left ankle at one point in the third.

Evans has said he has bone spurs that bother him, but they're nothing that hurt his game too much unless he sits too long and his ankle gets stiff.


HALFTIMEClippers 54, Kings 50

LOS ANGELES - In another oddity to the Kings' season, they still have not led at halftime.

The duel between Carl Landry and Blake Griffin is a draw with each scoring 15 points. Griffin has nine rebounds while Landry has six.

The problem for the King sis they are getting little from the backcourt. Tyreke Evans has one point and has missed all six of his shots. Luther Head has eight points and six assists, but the Kings have little chance of winning with no production from Evans.

Meanwhile Eric Gordon has 14 points for the Clippers and rookie Eric Bledsoe has six points and three assists.


FIRST QUARTERClippers 30, Kings 25

LOS ANGELES - This started out well for the Kings. They led 11-4 with 8:10 left in the quarter.

The Clippers called a timeout and then took over the rest of the way.

There were dunks by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Al-Farouq Aminu that got the Clippers going as they'd eventually take a seven-point lead. The Clippers shot 57.1 percent.

The Kings shot 52.4 percent, led by Carl Landry with nine points. Donte' Greee has five points while Luther Head has four points and five assists.

Griffin looks like he'll be a match up problem for whoever defends him.

--Jason Jones

Luther Head didn't miss a shot against the New Orleans, the team that almost his team this offseason.

Head made all four of his shots (three of from three-point range) for his 11 points.

In case you forgot Head's offseason drama. He'd agreed to a two-year contract worth a reported $2.3 million with the Hornets. Then general manager Jeff Bower was fired and the offer was pulled with the Hornets claiming Head failed his physical because of a bad knee.

Head said there was nothing wrong with his knee.

Head ended up signing a one-year deal that becomes guaranteed next month if he's still on the team. There's no reason to believe Head won't be around, especially if he continues to be lead the Kings' improving perimeter defense.

Head did a good job checking New Jersey's Devin Harris and followed that up with an admirable job on New Orleans superstar Chris Paul.

Paul had nine points and 14 assists, but he shot 2 of 12 from the floor. Head was the primary defender on Paul and forced a miss late with the Kings down 73-71. The Kings didn't get the rebound, so they didn't get a chance to tie or take the lead late.

After 29 different starting lineups last season and five already this season, it's fair to be skeptical when Paul Westphal says the starting lineup that includes Head and Donte' Greene will be what the Kings use for the "foreseeable future." After all, how far in the future can we really see when it comes to the lineup?

I'm inclined to believe Westphal on this one, as long as the Kings keep defending well. Who knows, they might even start making shots, too.

*Through two games of Westphal's tighter rotations, Omri Casspi, Darnell Jackson and Jason Thompson appear to be the players who will see their minutes dip the most.

Casspi hasn't played at all in the last two games. Jackson didn't play against the Hornets. Thompson's minutes appear limited to use as a third center and as a backup power forward.

With Donte' Greene and Francisco Garcia playing the bulk of time at small forward, there hasn't been a lot of time for the Thompson at small forward experiment. And with Westphal using DeMarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert together at times, there's even less time for Thompson.

Thompson played 7 minutes, 21 seconds against the Hornets.

*Speaking of Cousins, he said he didn't feel like he gave the team anything against the Hornets. He was 3 of 11 shooting with only five rebounds. Cousins fouled out after fouling late to put New Orleans on the foul line.

I think the shooting will come for Cousins. But he had four turnovers, including being stripped in the post again.

Cousins has had at least four turnovers in six games this season. If the Kings are going to go to Cousins in critical situations, they have to know Cousins will take care of the ball better.

Cousins took the blame not long ago for some of the ball he loses to guards in the post. He said he needs to give players more time to clear before making his move.

Then again, if he gets the ball with the shot clock winding down, it's hard to be patient. But I touch on the whole slow-starting offense issue in the game story that will be on the web site sometime around midnight.

*How rare is it for the Kings to lose when holding an opponent to 75 points or less? According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time it happened to the franchise was when the Kings weren't even the Kings.

They were still the Rochester Royals when they lost to Milwauke, 75-74, on Feb. 9, 1955.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Hornets 75, Kings 71

The Kings couldn't over their poor free throw percentage or turnovers in losing to New Orleans.

The Kings were 9 of 15 (60 percent) from the foul lilne. They also committed 22 turnovers that led to 23 New Orleans points.

Chris Paul didn't shoot well (2 of 12), but finished with nine points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. David West hit back-to-back jumpers to give New Orleans a late 73-68 lead.

DeMarcus Cousins converted a three-point play to make it 73-71. After forcing a miss by Paul, the Kings couldn't grab the rebound.

That led to the Kings fouling and Marco Belinelli made two free throws to put the game away.

Donte Greene led the Kings with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Neither team shot well. The Hornets (11-1) shot 32.2 percent. The Kings shot 38.7 percent.

After this one, the Kings (4-8) will have their own mistakes to blame for the loss.

THIRD QUARTER Hornets 59, Kings 56

The Hornets used a 13-5 run to take the lead after three.

Carl Landy scored seven points in the third. Looks like getting him the ball was a big part of the halftime speech for the Kings.

Chris Paul is running the show for the hornets with nine points and 11 assists. David West and Trevor Ariza each have 13 points for the Hornets.

Donte' Greene leads the Kings with 15 points and nine rebounds. Tyreke Evans has seven points, seven rebounds and five assists.


HALFTIME Kings 39, Hornets 39

Trevor Ariza's three pointer at the buzzer tied the game and kept the Kings from taking their first halftime lead of the season.

The Hornets have been horrible shooting the ball (14 of 46, 30.4 percent). But the Kings haven't taken full advantage by letting the Hornets climb back from 10 down in the quarter.

*Amazingly the Kings' hottest player, Carl Landry, has taken two shots the entire half.

Donte' Greene leads the Kings with nine points. Luther Head hasn't missed a shot and has eight points. Every Kings that has played has scored except Landry.

*Chris Paul quietly had seven points and six assists for New Orleans. Ariza led the Hornets with nine points.

*It's early but free throws could be the difference in the end. The Hornets have made all nine of their free throws. The Kings have shot eight, missing four.

FIRST QUARTER Kings 16, Hornets 14

If you don't miss the days of New York and Miami playing games that ended with the winner scoring in the 70s, don't pay attention to this one.

The Kings are shooting 36.8 percent, which is actually good compared to New Orleans. The Hornets are shooting 6 of 24 (25 percent). The Hornets have missed some good looks. But I'll also give the Kings some credit too. They are more focused on defense.

*Somehow Carl Landry has just one shot attempt even though he's averaging 18.8 points coming into this game. Landry was visibly frustrated at one point when he fought for position in the post and didn't receive the ball.

*The player with the most shots is New Orleans center Emeka Okafor. He took seven shots and made one. The Kings would probably be happy if Okafor continues to get a lot of shots at that rate.

*Tyreke Evans led all scorers with six points. Luther Head and Donte Greene each had five points for the Kings.

Trevor Ariza, David West and Jason Smith each had four points for the Hornets.

--Jason Jones

November 20, 2010
The Landry Factor

Carl Landry touching the ball is a good thing.

Maybe it's a part of being young, the Kings had to be reminded to find their hottest player early in their win over the New Jersey Nets Friday night.

Coach Paul Westphal called a timeout about 4 ½ minutes into the game to tell the team to find Landry.

Just before the timeout, Westphal had called for Landry to go into the post, which he did. But Tyreke Evans drove by Landry and missed a layup.

In the timeout Westphal told the team to find Landry. Landry hit his next two shots and the Kings' offense started to take some form.

"Coach mentioned it a lot," said Kings guard Tyreke Evans. "Other teams throw the ball in the post and go to work on us. So he said let's give Carl some touches. Carl gets aggressive once he starts making shots and can get to the basket."

The offense is by no means rolling along yet. The Kings are still struggling to find their shooting touch. But when Landry is involved, good things tend to happen for the Kings.

:Landry hit a rough stretch earlier this month. He averaged just 19.5 minutes in losses to Minnesota in Memphis. He made only 2 of 10 shots and had one game with no rebounds.

But he's bounced back with four straight solid efforts. Landry is averaging 18.8 points and 8.5 rebounds since the two bad games. He's shooting 55.8 percent in those games and could probably stand to get more shot attempts. Landry has taken no more than 14 shots over the last four games.

If the Kings ballhandlers learned anything Friday night it should be not to ignore Landry early. Because lately, Landry being involved is good for the Kings.

--Jason Jones

November 19, 2010
In-game blog (Kings vs. Nets)

FINAL
Kings 86, Nets 81

The Kings losing steak ended at six with tonight's win.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 20 points while Carl Landry added 15. Kris Humphries led the Nets with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings last won when scoring less than 90 points last season. Sacramento pulled out an 84-81 win March 3, 2010 at Houston.

The last time the Kings pulled off a win with less than 90 points at home was Feb. 8, 2007, when the Kings beat the Chicago Bulls 86-77.

The Kings worked the ball to Landry and DeMarcus Cousins in the fourth to get some good looks. Beno Udrih's three with 3.4 seconds left put the game away.

Udrih finished with 12 points off the bench.

THIRD QUARTERKings 64, Nets 63

The Kings have crept ahead on the strength of Tyreke Evans, who scored nine of his 18 points in the third.

Not sure I would have believed the Nets would only be down a point with bad games from Brook Lopez (2 of 7, 4 points) and Devin Harris (2 of 9, 6 points). But the Kings' shooting 41 percent coupled with New Jersey's penchant to struggle scoring have made this a close game.

Now onto the fourth quarter ...


HALFTIMENets 46, Kings 43

The Kings have yet to lead at halftime all season. And they trail tonight because one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA is shooting 50 percent (17 of 34).

The Kings aren't exactly a stellar bunch on offense this season. And that trend is continuing as they are shooting 37.8 percent.

*The Kings aren't being hurt by the Nets best players. Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are a combined 3 of 12 with four points each. It's been Kris Humphries and Anthony Morrow with 12 points apiece that have done the damage.

*The Kings have one player in double figures - Carl Landry with 10 points. He also has 10 rebounds. Tyreke Evans has nine points, but is shooting 3 of 10. Beno Udrih has nine points off the bench.

*Even though the Nets are shooting well, they have the lowest first half total the Kings have allowed this season.


FIRST QUARTER Kings 21, Nets 19

*It the Kings a few possessions, then a timeout, to remember who their hottest player has been of late.

It was as if Carl Landry was a role player.

After the timeout, Landry made back-to-back shots on his way to eight points and four rebounds in the first quarter.

Landry is averaging 20 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last three games. So getting him the ball would be a good idea.

*The Kings are shooting just 34.8 percent (8 of 23), but have seven second-chance points.

The Nets are shooting 43.8 percent (7 of 16). Center Brook Lopez dominated the Kings in their meeting last month. He was scoreless in the first, missing all three of his shots.

The Nets are one of the worst offensive teams in the league, so it will be interesting to see if the Kings can keep the Nets from doing what the Knicks did Wednesday by going on a tear in the second.

--Jason Jones

November 18, 2010
Lack of focus, lack of defense

There wasn't nearly enough time for me to cover the "sub-sixth grade" play that Kings coach Paul Westphal described following the Kings sixth consecutive loss.

For every good thing the Kings did, there seemed to be two bad things. The Kings have been bad on defense this season, but to give up 99 points and 66.7 percent shooting after the first quarter is horrifically bad.

Players and Westphal mentioned focus as an issue.

"There are some players who tend to be consistent and there are some players who tend to have their focus wander," Westphal said. "And I'm not going to point individual players tonight. We need some work on our focus."

Really no need to call out any individual because as bad as the Kings defended after the first quarter, it would be hard for any player to say they had a good game defensively.

The issues with the defense are many. It's obvious players are in the wrong position or in some cases, just don't know where to be. Rotations aren't solid. Those all point to a lack of preparation.

And when all else fails, the Kings foul.

It's hard to understand how focus wanders during a game, but it's happened a lot in 10 games this season. And like it's gone a lot this season, the Kings focus seemed to pick up once they were down double digits.

"It's been like that the whole year," said forward Carl Landry. "Teams are averaging 100-plus points on us so it's nothing new. So we've just got to continue to get better on defense."

Landry's frustration was obvious. After their best defensive quarter of the season (14 points in the first) the Kings had their worst quarter (40 points in the second).

"That's unacceptable, to let a team come into your home and let them score 40 points in a quarter," Landry said. "That's unacceptable. Some teams don't score 40 points in a half so we can't have that if we want to win games."

*Not only was Wednesday's loss the sixth in a row for the Kings. It came against a struggling Knicks team.

But the Kings have looked so out of sync, they're hardly in position to look at a team's record and assume anything.

"It is disappointing," said DeMarcus Cousins. "I'm not going to sit here and bash the teams - this is the NBA. It's tough competition every night no matter what their record is so I'm not going to sit here and bash the teams just because of their records. We're a good team - we have a losing record - but we still are a good team. We've got the talent to beat the Lakers; we've got the talent to beat the Detroit Pistons. No matter who it is, we've just got to keep going out and playing."

*Westphal when asked if the rotation might be too deep right now:

"I sure do. I think that we had to find some things out and the only way you can really them out is in the heat of battle. It would be nice to say you could find out in practice....the team that was the second unit tonight, they abused the first unit so badly that you felt sorry for the first team. And then tonight the reverse happened when the lights came on. Unfortunately in this business for some people you have to learn the lesson when the lights are on."

Westphal on Landry's play lately. He's averaging 20 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last three games.

"We're doing a better job of consistently getting him the ball. He's doing a phenomenal job on the offensive boards and he's being aggressive. He's playing like his skill and age, he's right in his prime, say he can play."

Westphal on Cousins performance (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 of 15 shooting) and his struggles (at least four turnovers in five games, including five against the Knicks):

"I think DeMarcus is coming quickly. He needs to learn more about the NBA. He did a good job of staying out of foul trouble and made some nice defensive plays tonight. I think he needs to shoot a higher percentage and he will as he learns what shots are possible for him to get off in what situations. And he's got to cut down on some of these turnovers that seem to happen to him. Whether it's a cheap travel call or something that he's involved in that caused the turnover he's just got to tighten it up a little bit and he will."

*Donte' Greene is usually one of the players around for post-game interviews. He was gone fast this time, so there was no chance to ask about his contribution. Here's what Westphal said about Greene:

"I was really pleased with Donte (Greene) tonight. Donte has had it rough these last two weeks, and he's stayed ready. I had a talk with him today and I said look, Donte, I know it's not easy what you're going through and I've made some tough choices. Coaches, when they make tough choices, are always evaluating them and things don't always stay the same as the choices get evaluated. The only thing you can do is stay ready, because if you're not ready when you get your chance - and you will get your chance - when you get it and you're not ready, then you can only blame yourself. Even if you're upset - and anybody would understand if you are - the only thing you can do is be ready, and he was ready. I thought he played an excellent game."

*The starting lineup of Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Landry, Jason Thompson and Samuel Dalembert got the Kings off to the decent defensive start Westphal hoped for. It just didn't last the entire game.

*Perhaps this from Westphal sums up the problems the Kings had against the Knicks and all season:

"The bottom line is in the NBA, you have to play 48 minutes of precise basketball and then live with the results, and we didn't do that. Our focus was all over the place and a person that wanted to be charitable could say that we're young and we're trying to get it together but at the same time, we expect more. I expect more from our players in term of focus. This is a time that I appreciate the fact that nobody in our locker room or our fans, nobody likes to see us lose, what is it? - five home games in a row now? They think that we're under achieving, and I they're right. We expect to do better and I don't mind that people expect us to do better. And it's time for us to take stock and do better. We're going to find guys that are going to play defense, that are going to play together and stop making the same mistakes over and over. And then, if we win or lose, we'll say we played an NBA game tonight."

--Jason Jones

FINALKnicks 113, Kings 106

The Kings rallied to cut the deficit to two pints, but in the end lost their sixth consecutive game.

Amar'e Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari each scored 27 points. Stoudemire also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 23 points. Carl Landry had another solid game with 21 points and nine rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Beno Udrih had 18 points off the bench.

The Knicks recovered from a bad start to shoot 52.1 percent for the game. The Knicks (4-8) ended a six-game losing streak with the win.

The Kings (3-7) host New Jersey on Friday.


THIRD QUARTERKnicks 83, Kings 74

Apparently Paul Westphal is willing to try anything to pull this one out.

Westphal turned to the forgotten Donte' Greene in the third. He had two points, a rebound, an assist and a steal. And for the Kings who looked listless at times, Greene was a much-needed spark.

But the Kings still couldn't regain the lead against the Knicks, who are shooting 26 of 35 since their sluggish first quarter.

*Amar'e Stoudemire scored 10 of his 21 points in the third. He made all four of his field goals. The Knicks shot 12 of 17 in the third. Luther Head scored eight of his 13 points in the third.

Carl Landry leads the Kings with 17 points.


HALFTIMEKnicks 54, Kings 49

Instead of falling behind big early, the Kings have gone the opposite direction.

The 15-point lead the Kings enjoyed is long gone.

The Knicks opened the second quarter on a 24-8 run to take a 38-35 lead. After throwing up bricks in the first quarter, the Knicks shot 13 of 17 in the second. Meanwhile the Kings poor shooting to start didn't pick up as the Kings shot 39.1 percent in the first half.

*The Kings' primary post players are doing their part. DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and six rebounds. Carl Landry has 13 points and five rebounds. Both need to be involved heavily in the second half.

*Danilo Gallinari leads all scorers with 16 points. Amar'e Stoudemire got going with two putback dunks where he wasn't boxed out and has 11 points. Wilson Chandler has 11 points off the bench for the Knicks.

*The Kings have missed all five of their three pointers. New York is 4 of 10.

FIRST QUARTERKings 27, Knicks 14

The new starting lineup didn't fall behind early, but it was the play of a bench player that stood out in the first quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins was active around the basket and leads all scorers with 10 points off the bench for the Kings.

The Knicks are the kind of team the Kings should dominate in the paint. If Cousins focuses on scoring on the block there's no reason he can't score at least 20 points for the first time in his NBA career.

*Meanwhile the Knicks look really bad. They made 5 of 23 from the floor. They also might be the first team the Kings have played that a guard hasn't gotten off early.

Raymond Felton and Landry Fields had just six points in the first quarter combined.

*The Kings aren't shooting well (40.7 percent) but it hasn't mattered as they are ahead 18-13 in rebounds.

--Jason Jones

FIRST QUARTERKings 27, Knicks 14

The new starting lineup didn't fall behind early, but it was the play of a bench player that stood out in the first quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins was active around the basket and leads all scorers with 10 points off the bench for the Kings.

The Knicks are the kind of team the Kings should dominate in the paint. If Cousins focuses on scoring on the block there's no reason he can't score at least 20 points for the first time in his NBA career.

*Meanwhile the Knicks look really bad. They made 5 of 23 from the floor. They also might be the first team the Kings have played that a guard hasn't gotten off early.

Raymond Felton and Landry Fields had just six points in the first quarter combined.

*The Kings aren't shooting well (40.7 percent) but it hasn't mattered as they are ahead 18-13 in rebounds.

--Jason Jones

Paul Westphal is still being coy, only agreeing to speak about the new starting lineup hypothetically during his pregame media time.

That (hypothetical) lineup is:

G Tyreke Evans
G Luther Head
C Samuel Dalembert
F Jason Thompson
F Carl Landry

The reason Westphal is turning to Head is defense. In case you've missed it, the Kings have been torched by smaller guards all season.

Westphal said this lineup could be one he uses for a while, well if he would admit it's the lineup he's using.

--Jason Jones

November 16, 2010
Evans practices Tuesday

Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle) practiced today and "looked good" according to coach Paul Westphal. He's probable for tomorrow's game against the New York Knicks.

Evans had braces on both ankles today.

*Westphal hinted that there could be some lineup changes tomorrow. When asked if the lineup was different, Westphal said, "We'll announce it when it's time."

He offered no hint as to what possible changes might be ahead.

--Jason Jones

November 15, 2010
Evans sits with ankle sprain

Kings guard Tyreke Evans sat out today's practice with a sprained left ankle.

He said he sprained it when he came down on Piston guard Rodney Stuckey's foot during Sunday's loss to Detroit. Both ankles have given Evans problems at some time during his two NBA seasons. He hopes the new ankle brace he has will help with the left ankle.

Evans is probable for Wednesday's game against the New York Knicks.

--Jason Jones

November 14, 2010
The three debate

Are 18 three pointers too many?

That was the question from Marty McNeal after the Kings took 18 threes and made only two today against the Detroit Pistons and lost, 100-94.

Here was Paul Westphal's response:

"If they don't go in. It's always easy to look at the stat sheet after the game and say we took too many threes if they're not going in. But what we tell our shooters, guys like Cisco, guys like Omri, Luther head, whoever they are. If you are a good three-point shooter and you are open, you have to take it with confidence."

The Kings average 17.3 three point attempts. The Kings season-high for three attempts is 22 against the Lakers on Nov. 3.

The problem is the Kings aren't proving to be a good shooting team from long range. They've made 29.5 percent this season.

The most surprising player struggling on threes is Beno Udrih. He's shooting 17.4 percent behind the arc (4 of 23).

So are the Kings taking too many threes?

The gameplan isn't to launch threes at will. Not at all.

Ideally the Kings would be dominating with an inside-outside attack led by Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins in the post.

That's still a work in progress after nine games. The perimeter players are taking the bulk of the shots.

Tyreke Evans leads the Kings with 136 shot attempts in eight games. That's a 17 shot per game average.

Landry averages 11.8 shots, just ahead of the 11.7 shots Udrih averages. But Cousins averages 8.3 shots, trailing Omri Casspi (9.1) and Francisco Garcia (9.3).

There are obviously mitigating factors. Cousins doesn't play as many minutes. Cousins and Landry also have to compete with more players for playing time. Cousins splits time with Samuel Dalembert and sometimes is on the bench because of foul trouble.

Landry has to fight with Jason Thompson and Darnell Jackson for time.

But with the three not falling consistently, perhaps the ball could go inside even more and create even better opportunities.

Another option is using Evans in the post, which the Kings did with some success against the Pistons.

And I must admit, if the Kings had made a few more threes, there wouldn't be much debate about are the Kings going inside more, especially after scoring 58 of their 94 points in the paint against the Pistons.

And if the Kings hadn't lost five straight to go with more makes, the discussion would be how the inside play is opening things up on the perimeter.

A couple of players mentioned that some Kings are hesitant to shoot. But if they're open, some players (Casspi, Garcia, Head and Udrih) have the green light to shoot.

Westphal said he's not unhappy with the shots the Kings have gotten the last two games and the overall effort tonight.

"We had open threes for really good shooters and went 2 for 18," Westphal said. "Sometimes that's the difference in a game in the NBA."

--Jason Jones

PHOENIX - I was able to ask DeMarcus Cousins about being fined by the team after separate reports from ESPN and AOL and possible tension in the Kings locker room.

From what I've gathered there really is no issue with Cousins that threatens to endanger the locker room. The incident that Cousins was fined for happened a month ago. Some in the organization point to the fact that Cousins isn't the only player that's been fined. But the "red flags" about Cousins' temper make any incident involving him more seem even worse.

Cousins is fiery and emotional on the court. But that's not bad. Cousins hasn't hurt the Kings on the court with anger issues. And quite frankly, the Kings need players with the fire that Cousins adds.

Cousins and Paul Westphal said there are no issues. Westphal has been upfront all season when asked about Cousins' demeanor and attitude, but said it's his policy not to discuss matters handled in private.

*As of today, the Kings have more pressing issues than Cousins. The team has lost four straight games. The offense is struggling to break 90 points in the last three outings. And for any issues the Kings had last season, scoring usually wasn't one of them.

Jason Thompson was understandably down after the loss to the Phoenix. For the first time in his NBA career, he received a DNP-CD next to his name. Minutes were going to be hard to come by for Thompson but I never imagined he wouldn't play at all in a game.

The usually talkative Thompson had no comment about not playing. Now he's seeing his name mentioned in trade rumors.

Westphal said he likes Thompson a lot and told me that again before the game. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff keeps Thompson engaged should he not play again.

While Donte' Greene drew ire for showing to training camp overweight, Thompson has been praised from the outset. So it's probably harder for Thompson to accept just not playing.

I have no reason to believe Thompson won't try hard. But there might be no way to get Thompson more time.

With all this going on, I never got to transcribing and going through my Bill Walton interview. Perhaps I can do that before practice today.

--Jason Jones

FINALTimberwolves 98, Kings 89

Minnesota ended a six-game losing streak, led by a career-high 42 points form Michael Beasley.

The Kings played most of the fourth quarter without Tyreke Evans, who fouled out with 9:02 left in the. He'd picked up his fifth foul with 10:35 left, but Kings coach Paul Westphal left him in the game.

There were some boos as the Kings (3-4) left the court with their third-straight loss. All three losses have come at home.

Omri Casspi led the Kings wiht 17 points. Beno Udrih had 16 points and nine assists. Evans also had nine assists to go with a season-low five points.

Sebastian Telfair added 16 points for Minnesota (2-7). Rookie Wesley Johnson had 12 points.

THIRD QUARTERTimberwolves 74, Kings 72

The Kings had only two turnovers in the quarters, hence they were competitive and even had the lead.

Omri Casspi got off to a good start and scored nine of his 11 points in the third. Beno Udrih had seven in the quarter and is up to 14 points

*Tyreke Evans finally made a basket with 5:02 left in the quarter.. But he stepped on a photographer and turned his right ankle after the layup. Evans, however, stayed in the game. He has five points and eight assists.

*The Timberwolves shot just 39 percent in the third. Michael Beasley is still a problem for the Kings with 35 points on 15 of 27 shooting. He also has a game-high eight rebounds.

*The Kings are shooting 65.2 percent from the free throw lines (15 of 23).

HALFTIMETimberwolves 51, Kings 45

The Kings continue to excel at hurting themselves. They have 13 turnovers that have led to 15 points for the Timberwolves.

The Kings have made just 14 of 21 from the free throw line, a subpar 66.7 percent. Turnovers hadn't been a problem until last Saturday's loss to Memphis. Free throw shooting has been an issue off-and-on this season.

*Minnesota forward Michael Beasley is no loner on a 72-point pace. But he does have 27 points, three short of tying the franchise record for points in a half.

Beasley made 12 of 20 shots in the half, one make short of tying the franchise mark for field goals in a half.

*The bench is why the Kings are still in the game. Darnell Jackson provided a huge boost with nine points. Francisco Garcia has 10 points. DeMarcus Cousins has seven points and five rebounds.

The only starter with more than three points is Beno Udrih with seven points. Udrih and Tyreke Evans each have four assists. Evans two points came on two free throws.

FIRST QUARTERTimberwolves 27, Kings 22

Once again, an opponent has opened the game shooting well. Minnesota shot 60 percent, led by Michael Beasley. He made 8 of 11 for 18 points. The Kings didn't give him a lot that wasn't contested, but it didn't matter.

The Timberwolves shot 12 of 20 as a team.

*The Kings shot just 42.1 percent with no one scoring more than five points. Both of those players were reserves - DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia. Tyreke Evans hasn't scored, missing both of his shots.

*This is a chance for the Kings to face a team coming off a loss the night before. The last time the Kings lost to Memphis after the Grizzlies played double overtime in Phoenix. Minnesota lost at the Lakers last night.

But as evidenced by Beasley's hot start, the Timberwolves don't look tired right now.

*The Kings already have five turnovers. So do the Timberwolves.

--Jason Jones

When the Kings opened the regular season at Minnesota on Oct. 27, they were outrebounded 35-31.

The Kings didn't have Samuel Dalembert that night, which was a game away from being cleared. They also were without Tyreke Evans, who was serving his league-mandated suspension.

Heading into tonight's games, the Timberwolves lead the NBA averaging 48.7 rebounds.

There will be no special gameplan for that part of the Wolves' game, who play the Kings tomorrow night.

"You do what you always do," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "You try to have the right people and play your fundamentals. Box out and go get the ball. No matter who you're playing against answer is the same."

It should also be noted that going into tonight's games, Minnesota also gives up a league-worst 114.4 points per game. They're being outscored by an average of 17.1 points per game.

All of those statistics could be worse by time Minnesota arrives at Arco Arena because they play the Lakers tonight.

Minnesota has only scored more than 100 points twice this season with their season high (116) coming in their loss to the Kings back in October.

The Kings haven't been suffocating on defense (107.7 allowed on average). But with Dalembert back, the Kings could be in position to hold their first opponent under 100 points this season.

Minnesota is shooting just 38.7 percent from the field this season, making them the worst shooting team in the league.

The Kings better hope they aren't the team that fixes that. After all, Minnesota shot 47.3 percent against the Kings last month.

*Luther Head practiced today. Westphal said no decision had been made on who will be active for tomorrow's game.

*And finally, some words from Westphal on Evans and what his improved jump shot could do for him in the future:

"He'll be illegal. When they're worried about his jump shot there will be absolutely no way to guard him. Right now teams would still rather give it to him than give him a drive to the basket. When he gets to the point where he shoots the ball at high percentage from the outside he'll be one of the toughest matchups in the league."

--Jason Jones

November 8, 2010
Back to work

After a day off, the Kings practiced today with coach Paul Westphal again focusing on details.

"Focus, concentration and execution because right now that's the thing that's hurting us the most," Westphal said after practice.

That continues to be one of the biggest concerns for a young team that has blown assignments on both ends of the floor early in the season.

Focus has been a problem on defense. Players have been out of position and picking up fouls because instead of being in postition, they end up reaching to defend or box out.

Besides giving up too many free throws, being out of position has led to easy shots for opponents.

"Defense starts with having an idea what the other team is trying to do," Westphal said. "And being in a stance and being alert and having your team on the same page and then making them make tough shots."

*Luther Head is expected back in town tomorrow. He has been in Chicago for his great-grandmother's funeral and missed last Saturday's loss to Memphis.

--Jason Jones

FINALGrizzlies, 100, Kings 91

The Kings scored a season-low and failed to reach 100-points for the first time this season.

The Kings have themselves to blame for that with 21 turnovers that led to 22 points for Memphis.

Tyreke Evans' 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists weren't enough to overcome a spectacular performance by Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay. Gay had 32 points and nine rebounds.

Zach Randolph had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies (3-4).

Four of five starters scored in double figures for the Grizzlies. After having good balance in their first five games, only Francisco Garcia (21 points) and Omri Casspi (10 points) scored in double figures for the Kings.

Samuel Dalembert had eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in his first start of the season for the Kings.

The Kings (3-3) have lost two straight against tougher competition after going 3-1 against some of the weaker teams in the league.


THIRD QUARTERGrizzlies 80, Kings 67

The Kings are up to 18 turnovers that have led to 20 points for the Grizzlies. The three-point shot hasn't been there for the Kings (2 of 13) as the Grizzlies are cruising.

Rudy Gay has 23 points to lead all scorers. The Kings don't have anyone that can slow him down. He leads four Memphis starters in double figures.

*Tyreke Evans has 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. Darnell Jackson has been good off the bench helping to slow down Zach Randolph. But the turnovers are preventing the Kings from making this a game.


HALFTIME Grizzlies 53, Kings 49

One thing that hadn't been a problem until tonight is turnovers. The Kings have 13 that have led to 14 points for the Grizzlies.

So even though the Kings are shooting 51.3 percent, they trail. Kings turnovers are a big reason the Grizzlies are shooting 51.1 percent.

*Even though O.J. Mayo is doing a good job of challenging Tyreke Evans, Evans has 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Samuel Dalembert has eight points and six rebounds. Every King that has played has scored.

*Rudy Gay continues to play like a player worthy of the big contract he signed in the offseason. He has 15 points. Zach Randolph has 11 points for Memphis.

FIRST QUARTERGrizzlies 30, Kings 24

It would be easy to call out the Kings' defense for allowing the Grizzlies to shoot 54.2 percent. But this deficit is more a function of the Kings and their carelessness.

The Kings have seven turnovers that have led to eight points for Memphis. The Kings defense didn't look too bad in the halfcourt, except that no one could handle Zach Randolph (nine points).

*Samuel Dalembert blocked two shots in the first quarter. The Grizzlies had three blocks as a team.

*Omri Casspi led the Kings with eight points while Dalembert and Tyreke Evans added six points apiece. Casspi made a three from near midcourt at the buzzer.

--Jason Jones

Kings coach Paul Westphal sees the Memphis Grizzlies as a good team for the Kings to measure themselves against at this point of the season.

Westphal said any of the five starters for the Grizzlies are of "going for 30" any night.

Those starters wiill include Zach Randolph, how returned to the lineup last night in Phoenix after missing four games with a lower back contusion.

Mike Conley, who was recently rewarded with a large contract extension, will look to join Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Devin Harris and Jordan Farmar as point guards that have been effective against the Kings defense.

Rudy Gay is off to a blazing start, averaging 26.3 points. Coming off his experience with Team USA, Gay appears to be living up to the potential that's been talked about since he was drafted in 2006.

The other starters for the Grizzlies are Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo. Gasol had 26 points last night in Phoenix. Mayo has scored 23 points in back-to-back games.

--Jason Jones

I touch on the Kings' ongoing struggles to hold teams under 60 points in the first half and where they stack up next to the Lakers in the game story from Wednesday night's game.

But there's plenty to go over that didn't make it into the story, with the game ending about 10 minutes before my first deadline.

*Kings coach Paul Westphal said in the postgame press conference there were things the Kings did well. That's true. They outscored the Lakers 52-46 in the paint and outrebounded the Lakers, 49-43. The Kings committed just eight turnovers.

But none of that was good enough, especially when the defense continues to be so bad to start games. Giving up 60-plus points in the first half is not the way to play.

*The Kings might have been in position to come all the way back in the fourth quarter if not for their poor free throw shooting. The Kings were 14 of 23 (60.9 percent).

*This was DeMarcus Cousins first regular season game against an All Star in Lakers center/forward Pau Gasol.

Cousins came out early aggressively attacking Gasol. But unlike previous games, Cousins wasn't a factor in the fourth quarter. He missed both his shots and one of two free throws in the fourth, and had just a point in the fourth.

Cousins was 3 of 13 for the game with 11 points and five rebounds. He attempted four threes, making one.

"He's a strong player," Gasol said of Cousins. "He has talent. He also has a lot of room for improvement. He has a good post-up game but I don't really know him. It's only my second time playing him. I like what I see so far. He's got to try to stay out of foul trouble to stay on the floor a little longer to work on some things."

*Carl Landry was also unable to get going in the fourth. The Kings like to run plays for Landry in the fourth, but he had just two points, missing two of his three shots. Landry also missed both of his free throws, and made just 3 of 7 for the game.

*Playing against a set Lakers defense constantly isn't ideal for a Kings team that's still working to figure out how to run their offense effectively.

The Kings were at their best against the Lakers when they were in transition in the fourth, especially Tyreke Evans.

"We just need to push the ball against a team like that," Evans said. "Once we get down there, they pack the paint and are really good at helping so we need to try to push the ball and try to get an easy bucket on a fastbreak."

*Westphal was vague when asked if starting Samuel Dalembert at center would be an option to help prevent slow starts on defense.

When the Kings go with Cousins and Landry in the starting lineup, that's probably the best offensive duo they have at power forward and center.

Dalembert and Jason Thompson each had 10 rebounds off the bench. Starting either would give the Kings more size to start out games. Dalembert would seem to be the likeliest option.

Now to the quick review and the whats:

Lakers (5-0) 112
Kings (3-2) 100

Scoring leadersSAC: Tyreke Evans, 21
LAL: Kobe Bryant 30

Rebounding leadersSAC: Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson, 1-
LAL: Pau Gasol, 10

Assist leadersSAC: Beno Udrih, 8
LAL: Bryant, 12

What went right?

The bench accounted for 28 of the Kings 49 rebounds.

What went wrong?

Another bad first half on defense set the tone and the Kings never overcame the deficit after leading briefly in the second quarter.

What has to get better?

Obviously defense is a major concern. But the free throws are also a big issue.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Lakers 112, Kings 100

Kobe Bryant's 17th career triple double and a big deficit were too much for the Kings to overcome tonight.

Bryant had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Lakers (5-0). The Kings (3-2) were led by Tyreke Evans with 21 points.

Evans was limited tonight by foul trouble, playing just a little more tha five minutes of the fourth quarter after picking up his fifth foul late in the third.

The Kings had five players score in double figures, but another slow start defensively was too much to overcome.

Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia and Carl Landry each had 17 points for the Kings.
Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers.

\THIRD QUARTERLakers 92, Kings 78

The big post-halftime rally that we've seen from the Kings in four games didn't happen in the third, but the Kings find themselves still within range for a comeback.

The Kings fell behind by 20, 82-62, but were able to get within 11 late in the third. The Kings will probably have to play a good portion of the fourth without Tyreke Evans, who has five fouls.

The Kings have five players that have scored in double figures, led by Francisco Garcia's 17 points. Carl Landry has 15 points and Beno Udrih has 13 points and seven assists.

*That perimeter defense is still a problem. The Lakers are 10 of 16 on threes. Kobe Bryant has 25 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

*The Kings still hold the rebounding edge, 37-31, and have 12 second-chance points.


HALFTIMELakers 62, Kings 53

Defense in the first half continues to be problematic for the Kings. But their offense has been good enough and the rebounding even better to keep the Kings in the game.

For the fourth time in five games, the Kings have allowed at least 60 points in the first half. The Lakers are shooting 56.1 percent while the Kings are at 40.8 percent.


*The Kings are outrebounding the Lakers, 25-19. Jason Thompson already has nine rebounds.

*Carl Landry leads the Kings with 12 points. Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia each have 10 points. DeMarcus Cousins is being aggressive, but has missed 5 of 7 for six points and two rebounds. Seems like Cousins had more rebounds.

*The Kings have had trouble containing guards in their first four games and that hasn't changed. Kobe Bryant is on pace for a triple double with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds.


FIRST QUARTERLakers 35, Kings 33

The Kings still aren't playing good defense, but they're close because they're shooting well.

The Lakers are shooting 66.7 percent while the Kings are shooting 58.3 percent.

Tyreke Evans and Carl Landry each have eight points to lead the Kings. But Evans turned his right ankle in a collision with Lakers forward Lamar Odom with 0.8 seconds left in the quarter and limped off the floor.

Evans went to have his right ankle re-taped and will return to the game.

*Kobe Bryant was sharp early with 10 points, four rebounds and six assists. Pau Gasol has eight points for the Lakers.

*The Kings are still slow on the rotations defensively on the perimeter. The Lakers made 5 of 7 from three. The Kings made 3 of 6 behind the arc.

*It was a cleanly played first quarter. The Kings had just one turnover. The Lakers had two.

--Jason Jones

Trying Jason Thompson at small forward is the latest experiment the Kings are trying during the regular season. They couldn't experiement with their lineups during training camp because of injuries.

"Now that we're getting players back it's time to give it a good look," said Kings coach Paul Westphal.

Because of the injuries, the Kings have scaled back their gameplans. Some of the problems with execution late in games have come because of the unfamiliarity with some of the plays called.

It's something that Westphal has had to adjust to.
"I said at the time we're behind," Westphal said, referring to late in training camp. "But we're trying to keep it simple and add things as we can."

*No lineup changes for the Kings. Beno Udrih and Tyreke Evans at guard, DeMarcus Cousins at center and Carl Landry and Omri Casspi will start at forward.

--Jason Jones

Attention to details. That's the big thing I took from Paul Westphal's media time after today's practice when it comes to some of the defensive issues because he mentioned the scouting report more than once.

Here's one take on the Kings' slow starts:

"You have to play with 48 minutes of intensity. I think that maybe we're a little afraid of fouling, maybe we're easing into the flow of the game, whatever it is. Maybe it just takes us a while to figure out or believe the scouting report that says certain guys like to do certain things or have tendencies."

Then here's Westphal on if there is anything in particular teams were doing to exploit the defense:

"I don't think it's any one thing other than they're doing what the scouting report says they're going to do."

It's not as if the Kings don't know what to do defensively. It's just they haven't done it for an entire game yet this season. Their first-half defense has been problematic in all four games.

There's no reason not to know Andrea Bargnani or Linas Kleiza are shooters. Nor will there be an excuse tomorrow if someone doesn't realize Lamar Odom likes to go to his left.

So win or lose tomorrow, it will interesting to see if the Kings can be more consistent defensively for the entire game.

One Kings that figures to be prepared is Samuel Dalembert. He left practice today with DVDs of the Lakers, one labeled "Gasol."

And before you get all worked up about who didn't do the same thing, I just happened to speak with Dalembert while he was holding his DVDs. Not implying the rest of the team isn't putting in extra work.

But if Westphal mentions players not "believing" the scouting report again, it wouldn't be unfair to assume some Kings aren't taking their study time seriously.

*By the way, there are about 2,000 tickets left for tomorrow's game against the Lakers and www.kings.com/tickets is the site.

--Jason Jones

The Kings keep winning, but they don't make it easy. A quick recap of the win and what needs to be fixed going forward.

Kings (3-1) 111
Raptors (1-2) 108

Scoring leadersSAC: Tyreke Evans, 23
TOR: Andrea Bargnani, 28

Rebounding leadersSAC: Samuel Dalembert, 14
TOR: Reggie Evans, 19

Assist leadersSAC: Evans, 5
TOR: Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon, 5

What went right?
Tyreke Evans looked like himself again. Sometimes it looked as if he was trying too hard to show he could make jump shots and not attacking. Evans was assertive and put pressure on the Toronto defense.

Evans appears to have developed great chemistry with Omri Casspi, who had another solid outing. Same goes for DeMarcus Cousins and Beno Udrih. Evans orchestrated the offense well and everyone was involved. No starter took fewer than 10 shots.

What went wrong?

Reggie Evans outrebounded the Kings, 10-9, in the first quarter. The Kings were once again lacking energy in the first half, and what Evans did was the prime example.

Why the Kings come out so slow is confusing. It's early in the season so fatigue shouldn't be an issue. The Kings have overcome the slow starts by seemingly flipping a switch at halftime. It also doesn't hurt that they were playing two teams that last their best players in free agency (Cleveland, Toronto) and another rebuilding team in Minnesota.

If not for Dalembert's efforts on the glass, who knows how many rebounds Evans might have grabbed?

What has to get better?

It would be interesting to see how the Kings look if they defended well for 48 minutes. They've allowed 58 points or more in the first half in all four games. Opposing guards have gotten off against them starting with Luke Ridnour and Sebastian Telfair in Minnesota.

Then it was Devin Harris and Jordan Farmar in New Jersey.

Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker were hot in Cleveland.

Last night, DeMar DeRozan burned the Kings for 24 points.

Improving the perimeter defense isn't just about the guards. The bigs have to provide the right amount of help. Rotations have to be quick and not leave guards or jump shooting bigs like Bargnani open for threes.

--Jason Jones

FINAL Kings 111, Raptors 108

The Kings like to make it interesting.

The Kings rallied to win their home opener, 111-108 at Arco Arena. In each of their wins, the Kings have trailed by double digits.

The Kings (3-1) trailed by 17 before storming back to take control in the fourth and hold off the Raptors (1-2).

After pulling ahead 107-99, the Kings appeared to be in control. That's when the Raptors went on a 9-2 run capped by a dunk by DeMar DeRozan with 13.3 seconds left that made the score 109-108.

Beno Udrih would make two free throws after being fouled and the Raptors were unable to convert to tie the game.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Udrih had 17 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points. Omri Casspi had 14 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter.

Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 28 points. DeRozan had 24 for the Raptors. Reggie Evans had 19 rebounds for the Raptors.

THIRD QUARTER Raptors 86, Kings 78

Tyreke Evans returned his bout with an upset stomach and helped the Kings cut into what had been a 17-point lead.

The Raptors finally had a bad shooting quarter, going 9 of 25, which helped the Kings get back in the game.

Evans (21 points) and Beno Udrih (15 points) are carrying the offense.

Reggie Evans has been a problem. He has 18 rebounds for the Raptors. Toronto has 35 as a team. At one point, Evans was laughing at the Kings bench after grabbing an offensive rebound.

The Kings went with Samuel Dalembert to help keep Evans off the glass. Dalembert has 10 rebounds.


HALFTIME Raptors 62, Kings 51

For the third straight game the Kings have allowed 60 or more points in the first half. In the other game, they gave up 58.

Needless to say defense needs to be addressed. The Raptors are shooting 57.9 percent. Only one Raptor that has played didn't score.

The Kings shot 41.7 percent and will start the third quarter without Tyreke Evans, who went back to the locker room with an upset stomach. His return is questionable.

Evans has 16 points to lead the Kings.


FIRST QUARTER Raptors 33, Kings 16

Instead of falling behind in the second quarter, which has been the case in their first three games, the Kings have already dug themselves a big deficit.

The Kings are shooting 33.3 percent (8 of 24) and have more fouls (10) than rebounds (9). DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and Samuel Dalembert all have two fouls for the Kings.

Toronto forward Reggie Evans has more rebounds than the Kings with 10 of the Raptors' 15 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each have 10 points for Toronto, which is shooting 52.6 percent.

The Kings have shown the ability to rally in each of their games this season. But they need to defend better and stop fouling.

--Jason Jones

The Kings are showing the World Series on the big screen right now. I wonder if any of the fans will be upset when the game starts and it's no longer on the big screen.

There's also the concern that many fans that bought tickets will opt to stay home and watch the game and celebrate if the Giants win.

Right now, the game is expected to be close to sold out.

As for the Kings, there are no changes to the starting lineup. Beno Udrih and Tyreke Evans at guard, Omri Casspi and Carl Landry at forward and DeMarcus Cousins at center.

*The Kings have won their last four home openers and 11 of 12. Overall the Kings are 19-6 in home openers at Arco Arena.

--Jason Jones

CLEVELAND - The Kings will return home 2-1. They trailed in every game and easily could be limping back to Arco Arena 0-3. But they already have two road wins, so there is some progress being made.

A look back at last night's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kings (2-1) 107
Cavs (1-2) 104

Scoring leadersSAC: Tyreke Evans, 21
CLE: Ramon Sessions, 21

Rebounding leadersSAC: DeMarcus Cousins, 10
CLE: Anderson Varejao, 9

Assists leadersSAC: Beno Udrih,11
CLE: Daniel Gibson, 7

What went right?
There's a lot to choose from here. Samuel Dalembert stepped up defensively and led the comeback. The bench was productive again. Five Kings scored in double figures. But I'll focus on a certain second-year player.

Omri Casspi made a career-high six three pointers. He made plays on defense, too. Casspi played the passing lanes and dove for loose balls. He did the dirty work and also made an impact on offense. I can't see him relinquishing his spot in the starting lineup anytime soon.

What went wrong?
When the Kings begin playing more talented teams (the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies are coming in the near future) this habit of falling behind big and rallying isn't going to work. Again, it was a bad second quarter that put the Kings in a hole. The Kings were outscored 33-19 in the second by the Cavs. Sacramento overcame that because of another strong third quarter.

In three games, the Kings have been outscored 100-77 in the third. But the Kings own the third quarter with an 89-55 advantage through three games.

This is Carl Landry's assessment of how the Kings have fallen behind in their first three games:

"We've got a good team. It's just sometimes we just don't stay aggressive and we have breakdowns on the defensive end and let teams get on runs. That's something we've got to learn. A lot of people say we're a young team but we're growing right now. We can say that about last year, that we're a young team. We've got veteran players now.

Perhaps playing at home will help the Kings overcome their second quarter problems.

What has to get better?

Tyreke Evans didn't look like himself at times. He missed a lot of layups in shooting 6 of 20.

It's just his second game and I don't expect Evans to shoot 30 percent all season. It's just not a good sign when you consider he struggled in preseason, too.

Evans was effective in the pivotal third quarter with 12 points and three assists.He drove to the basket and set up his teammates. Evans said coach Paul Westphal encouraged him to stay aggressive in the third and it paid off.

Like the slow starts, it would be hard for the Kings to overcome too many bad shooting nights from Evans against better teams.

--Jason Jones

CLEVELAND -- Kings forward Darnell Jackson got his NBA start here. Seems like he was was well liked until he was waived March 23.

It was hard for Jackson to find playing time in his time with the Cavs. Those teams were playoff contenders. But a lot has changed around Cleveland.

No LeBron James means everyone on the Cavs has an altered role. Jackson seems to have finally gotten the opportunity to show he's a solid NBA player with the Kings.

Not bad for a player the Kings might have been inclined to cut at the start of training camp.

"He's going to have a good role on our team I think," said Kings coach Paul Westphal.

*No changes for the Kings in the starting lineup: Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi and DeMarcus Cousins.

The Cavs will start Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moom, J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao.

Inactive for the Kings are Pooh Jeter and Hassan Whiteside. Mo Williams, Christian Eyenga and Samardo Samuels are inactive for the Cavs.

I would have liked to have seen Samuels because he was the player that gave Cousins the most problems during summer league.

--Jason Jones

NEWARK, N.J. - Here's a quick look at the "Whats" from tonight's game against the New Jersey Nets, which the Kings lost 106-100.

Nets (2-0) 106, Kings (1-1) 100

Scoring leadersSAC: Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia, 18
NJN: Brook Lopez, 29

Rebounding leadersSAC: Darnell Jackson, 6
NJN: Kris Humphries, 8

Assist leadersSAC: Tyreke Evans, 7
NJN: Devin Harris, 10

What went right?

The Kings bench was productive again. The reserves produced 35 points, led by Garcia's 18 points. Garcia made four threes - the Kings made five the entire game. Jackson scored 12 points off the bench.

I wrote about Jackson's contribution for tomorrow's paper, but there's more to say about him. I don't think he's caught on as a fan favorite like Jon Brockman did last year, but Jackson is able to contribute more than Brockman did as a rookie. Jackson can score, rebound and has enough size to defend centers effectively.

Even when Jason Thompson can stay out of foul trouble and when Samuel Dalembert is healthy, Jackson figures to stay in the rotation.

For now, Omri Casspi isn't a reserve after starting tonight. Paul Westphal said the emergence of Luther Head as a scoring threat off the bench and Casspi's improved defense made him a starter.

That buries Donte' Greene behind Casspi and Garcia for playing time.

What went wrong?
A lot to choose from here, but I'll go with free throws. No way will the Kings ever start to win close games when they shoot 65.4 percent from the free throw line.

What has to get better?

Samuel Dalembert's contribution. It's not that he played horribly. He managed to block two shots. But the sooner he's fully acclimated with the Kings, the better. He played a little more than six minutes tonight and his time should go up assuming there are no injury setbacks.

If the Kings bigs are going to stay in foul trouble, a healthy Dalembert would help a lot.

--Jason Jones

NEWARK, N.J. - Kings center Samuel Dalembert will make his debut tonight off the bench in limited minutes against the New Jersey Nets.

Dalembert had been slowed by a strained left adductor, a leg injury that kept him out for almost all of training camp.

*Paul Westphal is already tweaking the starting lineup. Omri Casspi will start at small forward in place of Donte' Greene.

Tonight's inactives for the Kings are Hassan Whiteside and Pooh Jeter.

--Jason Jones

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Kings finished up practice tonight at the Nets practice facility with an entire team.

That includes center Samuel Dalembert.

"He did very well," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "He completed the whole practice and it was encouraging. He says he feels good. We hope when he wakes up tomorrow he still feels good. Sometimes stiffness comes with a workout like that."

As for if Dalembert might play against the Nets?

"We won't know anything until tomorrow," Westphal said.

Dalembert said his timing is still off, but he wants to play after seeing his streak of 354 games end on Wednesday.

"It was tough to digest because I felt I could have gone out there," Dalembert said. "But hey, better to be safe than sorry."

*Tyreke Evans likes the idea of Dalembert being in practice. Evans went against Dalembert and Hassan Whiteside in practice and said having to go against both will help him finish around the basket better.

"They blocked a couple of my shots," Evans said. "It's going to only help me in the long run."

*Here's Westphal on DeMarcus Cousins passing:

"I don't even look at it as the assists so much, it's just the awareness. He's very good when things get tough he seems to be able to find the right option and passing is one of them. He's a willing passer."

And a little more:

"Not very many big guys can see the floor like he can and it's one of the reasons that people think so highly of him as a player and the potential he has."
--Jason Jones

MINNEAPOLIS - Here's a quick look at the Kings season-opening win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Game summaryKings (1-0) 117, Timberwolves (0-1) 116

Scoring leadersSAC: Carl Landry and Francisco Garcia, 22 points
MIN: Luke Ridnour 20 points

Rebound leadersSAC: Landry, 11 rebounds
MIN: Kevin Love, 10 rebounds

Assist leadersSAC: Beno Udrih, six assists
MIN: Ridnour, Sebastian Telfair, six assists

What went right?
*The veterans took the lead. Landry, Garcia and Udrih all played well tonight. Landry wasn't happy with his shooting percentage (44.4) but he did grab seven offensive rebounds. Garcia scored, facilitated and was a pest on defense (three steals, one block). Udrih was steady.

This group should also include Luther Head. He came off the bench for 14 points.

"There will be some games where he doesn't play very much," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "If we had Tyreke (Evans) he might not have played too much tonight. But it's nice to know you can have someone on your bench with that kind of poise and experience."

*The Kings did a good job of sharing the ball. Ten of 11 players took a shot. Eight Kings had an assist

What went wrong?
Rebounding when Cousins was out was a problem. The Kings were just too small up front without him. The Timberwolves were able to get to offensive rebounds by taking the ball even though they were being boxed out.

Jason Thompson had six rebounds in 19 minutes. Cousins finished with eight. But the size issue won't be improved until Samuel Dalembert is deemed healthy. That could happen soon, depending on how he practices on Thursday.

Asking Hassan Whiteside to have an impact at center already just isn't fair considering his lack of experience and that he's coming off an injury.

What has to get better?
Free throw shooting almost cost the Kings this game. They ended up shooting 74.5 percent for the game, but were at just 64.7 percent at halftime.

The Kings got to the line 47 times, which is outstanding, especially without Evans. But making only 35 almost wasn't enough.

Udrih made four straight in the fourth to seal the win. But if the Kings had made more free throws earlier, it would have made for a less nervous ending.

--Jason Jones

MINNEAPOLIS - Here's a quick look at the Kings season-opening win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Game summaryKings (1-0) 117, Timberwolves (0-1) 116

Scoring leadersSAC: Carl Landry and Francisco Garcia, 22 points
MIN: Luke Ridnour 20 points

Rebound leadersSAC: Landry, 11 rebounds
MIN: Kevin Love, 10 rebounds

Assist leadersSAC: Beno Udrih, six assists
MIN: Ridnour, Sebastian Telfair, six assists

What went right?
*The veterans took the lead. Landry, Garcia and Udrih all played well tonight. Landry wasn't happy with his shooting percentage (44.4) but he did grab seven offensive rebounds. Garcia scored, facilitated and was a pest on defense (three steals, one block). Udrih was steady.

This group should also include Luther Head. He came off the bench for 14 points.

"There will be some games where he doesn't play very much," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "If we had Tyreke (Evans) he might not have played too much tonight. But it's nice to know you can have someone on your bench with that kind of poise and experience."

*The Kings did a good job of sharing the ball. Ten of 11 players took a shot. Eight Kings had an assist

What went wrong?
Rebounding when Cousins was out was a problem. The Kings were just too small up front without him. The Timberwolves were able to get to offensive rebounds by taking the ball even though they were being boxed out.

Jason Thompson had six rebounds in 19 minutes. Cousins finished with eight. But the size issue won't be improved until Samuel Dalembert is deemed healthy. That could happen soon, depending on how he practices on Thursday.

Asking Hassan Whiteside to have an impact at center already just isn't fair considering his lack of experience and that he's coming off an injury.

What has to get better?
Free throw shooting almost cost the Kings this game. They ended up shooting 74.5 percent for the game, but were at just 64.7 percent at halftime.

The Kings got to the line 47 times, which is outstanding, especially without Evans. But making only 35 almost wasn't enough.

Udrih made four straight in the fourth to seal the win. But if the Kings had made more free throws earlier, it would have made for a less nervous ending.

--Jason Jones

FINALKings 117, Timberwolves 116

Led by 22 points apiece from Carl Landry and Francisco Garica, the Kings ended their six-game losing streak in season openers.

It was also the first time the Kings won an opener on the road since 2000.

What might be a bigger revelation from tonight's game is what the Kings did to get back in the game when it was slipping away.

They went to DeMarcus Cousins, who scored, made free throws and settled things down until Landry, could get back into a flow.

Cousins finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in his NBA debut. Beno Udrih had 18 points. Landry had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Luke Ridnour had 20 points to lead Minnesota. Check back later for more on the game.


THIRD QUARTERKings 87, Timberwolves 83

The Kings seem to play a lot better in the odd quarters tonight. They jumped on the Timberwolves to start the quarter, leading by as many as nine points.

The catalysts continue to be Francisco Garcia, Beno Udrih and Carl Landry.

Garcia has a game-high 21 points. Udrih has 14 points and Landry has 13 and eight rebounds.

Luther Head has led the bench scoring for the Kings with 12 points. DeMarcus Cousins began to find his way a bit in the third and now has nine points and six rebounds. But he also has four fouls.

The bench has helped to keep Minnesota in the game. Wesley Johnson and Sebastian Telfair each have 11 points off the bench.


HALFTIMETimberwolves 58, Kings 53

The Timberwolves are shooting better and the Kings haven't kept pace.

After holding the home team to 23 points in the first quarter, the Kings gave up 35 to Minnesota, eventually falling behind by nine late in the second.

One player Paul Westphal mentioned more than once as a potential problem was Michael Beasley. He proved to be one with eight points in the second.

The Kings haven't gone to their big lineup with Carl Landry at small forward to deal with Beasley yet. Perhaps even though Beasley is more like an undersized power forward, he might be too quick for Landry.

One problem that's carried over from the preseason is the Kings' poor free throw shooting. They've missed six of 17 to shoot 64.7 percent in the first half.

Francisco Garcia ledthe Kings with 12 points. Beno Udrih has 10 points and Carl Landry has seven points and six rebounds.


FIRST QUARTERKings 27, Timberwolves 23

The Kings played good defense, limiting Minnesota to 38.5 percent shooting. The best part of that is centers DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each had just one foul.

Another encouraging sign is Carl Landry who continues to look more like the player the Kings traded for back in February.

He has seven points, three rebounds and two assists. The downside of his game thus far is that Landry has missed three of his four free throws.

Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia each had six points. They combined for 12 points and five assists with no Tyreke Evans tonight.

Luke Ridnour gave the Kings problems, scoring nine points.

Tonight's inactives are Samuel Dalembert and Antoine Wright. Even though he's suspended, Evans counts as one of the Kings 12 active players.

--Jason Jones

Checking in from the airport on my way to Minnesota with the news the Kings announced this morning that the team has picked up contract options on Jason Thompson, Donte' Greene, Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi.

That will extend each of the players' contracts through the 2011-12 seasons.

The only surprise would have been if the team had not picked up the options. With the uncertain labor future, there was no way the Kings would go into next season without four core players under contract.

I'll add more later in the day. My flight is here and it's time for me to board the plane.

--Jason Jones

The injury update continues to be more positive these days.

Samuel Dalembert took part in halfcourt scrimmaging during today's practice.

"He looked rusty but he looked healthy so it was good to have him out there," said Kings coach Paul Westphal.

It looked as if Dalembert's left adductor strain would keep him out the first month of the season. But he's made progress the last couple of days.

"My lateral movement was much better today," Dalembert said. "I didn't feel no pain, nothing like that. I felt a little awkward, my timing was off but other than that I feel good."

Dalembert said yesterday that he'd like to play as soon as Friday at New Jersey. Westphal said with his trademark humor he wouldn't stop Dalembert from taking the court this week.

"Maybe in pregame workouts he can get on the court," Westphal said. "We won't ban him. It's going to be hard for him to get much scrimmage. I hope he's feeling well enough to play. We'll do whatever the doctors say but he's still got to get some basketball timing so we'll see."

*Tyreke Evans joined Francisco Garcia, Beno Udrih, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Donte' Greene as players that have purchased season tickets to be donated during the season.

Evans purchased 13 season tickets in the Arco Arena Premium Balcony Section for local children and special groups in the Sacramento area.

Among the groups are the Kiwanis Family House, American Diabetes Association, Lupus Foundation of America and Ronald McDonald House.

The donations are part of the "Kings in the Community" program.

*The NBA rosters are set and the Kings list Dalembert and Antoine Wright as their inactive players heading into the season opener Wednesday.

Wright missed today's practice for personal reasons, but should be in uniform at Minnesota because Evans is suspended for the first game.

--Jason Jones

October 24, 2010
Dalembert eyes early return

Samuel Dalembert's prognosis a couple of weeks ago was that he could miss four-to-six weeks with his strained left adductor.

Though the Kings emphasized the possibility, there was little reason to believe recovery would be shorter than expected considering how limited Dalembert had been.

But after working out after practice, Dalembert was on the court doing some shooting work and going against rookie Hassan Whiteside in the post.

He spoke with the media as he headed to the treadmill to see how much better he really feels.

"That's the real test," Dalembert said. "And then tomorrow if I feel good I'll try to do more. And then hopefully I'll be out there in New Jersey."

That would put Dalembert back on the floor on Friday. Dalembert spoke after Paul Westphal so we'll have to wait a day to see what the coach thinks the chances are of having Dalembert available on the road trip.

Dalembert is the only King not practicing with the team right now.

--Jason Jones

October 22, 2010
In-game blog: Kings at Utah

FINALJazz 82, Kings 71

One thing we know for certain is the Kings need to shot better soon.

The Kings finished the preseason 3-4 with tongiht's loss. And the squad's shooting woes continued.

The team shot 36.1 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. The Kings aren't good enough to overcome bad shooting in both areas when the games count.

Kings coach Paul Westpahl said before the game that the Kings aren't where he wants them to be but hopes some time before next Wendesday's opener gives the team some time to work some things out.

Beno Udrih led the Kings with 17 points. Carl Ladnry had 13 points off the bench. Hassan Whiteside had six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in his debut.

THIRD QUARTERJazz 64, Kings 58

One thing that's been consistent lately is the Kings' poor shooting.

Sacramento is shoting 36.7 percent for the game. But when you do the Greene-Cousins subtraction (they're a combined 1-for-13) the Kings are shooting 44.7 percent so the bad shooting is spreading.

Tyreke Evans is 3-of-9 rom the floor, which he's offset some with seven assists. With Evans set to miss the season opener because of his suspension, it would be good for him to have a good shooting game,

He's struggled from the field in his last two games, too.

SECOND QUARTERJazz 44, Kings

Pooh Jeter looked better and more confident running the Kings offense than he had lately. Jeter had four points in the second. Hassan Whiteside also made two baskets, each bringing his teammates to their feet.

Carl Landry finished the half with nine points and three rebounds as a small forward. Meanwhile DeMarcus Cousins best asset tonight has been his passing. He's missed all five of his shots and has just two rebounds. He has two assists.

Overall the Kings are still struggling from the floor, shooting 38.5 percent. Take away Cousinsand Donte' Green, who also has missed all five of his shots, the Kings are shooting 51.7 percent.

Omri Casspi, the star off the Kings bench the last two games, hasn't played yet. Neither has Francisco Garcia or Luther Head.

Westphal has opted toget a look at Antoine Wright off the bench. And Landry is taking minutes at small forward, too.

FIRST QUARTERJazz 25, Kings 23

The Kings are already experiencing the Hassan Whiteside effect.

Having the rookie cleared to play tonight led Kings coach Paul Westphal to try some different lineups to toy with the depth up front he hasn't had because of injuries.

The Kings started Darnell Jackson at power forward so that Westphal could play Jason Thompson and Carl Landry together. It's a lineup WEstphal has wanted to try but couldn't because of all the injuries up front.

Landry, Thompson and Whiteside all checked in at the 5:56 mark. Using Landry as a small forward is something the Kings have wanted to try since the end of last season.

Landry had five points and a rebound at small forward. Considering Landry is as big - or in some cases smaller - than a lot of small forwards, it's a look the Kings needed to see.

Whiteside is playing with a brace on the left knee that cost him the entire preseason before tonight.

Before the game Westphal said he didn't expect Whiteside to know what to do after one practice yesterday, but he wanted Whiteside to get on the floor.

He played four minutes and had a rebound and a blocked shot.

--Jason Jones

Checking in from my layover on the way to Utah with some good injury news for the Kings.

Rookie center Hassan Whiteside has been cleared to play in tonight's preseason finale against the Jazz. He's missed the first six games with a strained left patellar tendon.

It's probably a little too late to expect a lot from Whiteside as far as an early impact. He just began on-court work Tuesday and his conditioning could be an issue. But at this point, any experience is a positive for Whiteside.

--Jason Jones

LOS ANGELES - Is Tyreke Evans' injury worse than we think?

In his last two preseason games Evans has made 9-of-31 shots (29 percent). He managed to get off the winning shot in Tuesday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers with a layup with 1.9 seconds to go.

But questions continue to come to me as to whether Evans is truly healthy after being listed with a sprained left ankle and hurting both last Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Here's what he said after the game:

"The ankle's fine. Just a little bit of plantar fasciitis on the bottom of my foot but that's just basketball and I play through it."

No one likes to see plantar fasciitis diagnosed as it can be a nagging injury. It will be interesting to see how Evans plays through it.

*Darnell Jackson made a three pointer in the third quarter against the Clippers that was a desperation make at the end of the shot clock.

But the Kings apparently have more faith in Jackson's jumper than they've let on.

"We were working on our last second shots today in practice and we put him in the corner for a three pointer and he made it," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "He was kind of laughing, so yeah, we worked on that one as a matter of fact."

Jackson has taken six threes in his NBA career. He's made one.

"I was like 'what?'" Jackson said of the play in practice. "I was kind of shocked because I was like 'You want me to go in the corner and shoot the three?' I was like OK."

*Westphal said he doesn't think he will play Evans any less in Friday's preseason finale in Utah even though he's suspended by the NBA for the season opener.

"I think we want to get him ready for the regular season," Westphal said. "He'll be out one game and then he'll be back. I think we're not going to play for the one game so much."

Westphal added if the team had more veterans and was "clicking" that might change his thinking.

The Kings certainly haven't clicked on offense lately. The Kings looked better in the second half against the Clippers, but still shot just 38.3 percent and 66.7 percent from the free throw line.

Shooting from the field and the free throw line have been issues the entire preseason.

"There was a lot of good and bad out there," Westphal said after the game. "We're still not shooting the ball well. We're not shooting free throws well. We cut our turnovers way down. I thought we picked up our offensive execution a lot in the second half. We were just horrible in the first quarter and then came out just like that at the start of the third quarter. After a wakeup call I felt we played well down the stretch."

More from Westphal on the offense:

"Maybe we're thinking too much and trying to get into the offense. We're supposed to be moving the ball and I thought it was our most stagnant time. I just think we need to put it in another gear. I know guys are wanting to look good but like Jason (Thomspon) said we just looked flat."

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Kings 96, Clippers 94

Tyreke Evans made a layup with 1.9 seconds left in the game to give the Kings the win.

Check back later for more on the game. I'm on deadline and have to go to the locker room now.

THIRD QUARTER
Cliippers 79, Kings 75

The Kings are lookign a lot better on offense. The highlight was a three pointer from power forward Darnell Jackson with the shot clock running down. Tyreke Evans is having a bad shooting night (3-of-11) but scored seven of his 12 points in the third.

Omri Casspi leads the Kings with 13 points. Evans and DeMarcus Cousins each have 12 points.

It also helps that the Clippers are without Eric Gordon the rest of the night with a sprained right ankle.That's one less explosive scorer for the Kings to worry about.

SECOND QUARTER
Clippers 53, Kings 47

After shooting miserably in the first quarter, the Kings shot 50 percent in the second quarter to go up to 38.5 percent in the first half.

The two best Kings have been Omri Casspi and Darnell Jackson, who have formed a nice tandem off the bench tonight.

Casspi has 10 points and three rebounds. Jackson has six points and two rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins leads the starters with eight points, but also has three fouls.


FIRST QUARTER
Clippers 34, Kings 22

Only injuries could have made the first quarter any worse for the Kings. They trailed 10-0 and eventually fell behind 27-8.

The Kings shot 26.3 percent while the Clippers shot 62.5 percent. The Kings were dominated inside by Craig Smith and Chris Kaman, who cominged for 16 pints and eight rebounds. Eric Gordon added seven points for the Clippers.

Beno Udrih returned to the lineup for the Kings tonight, so I'd expect things should get better on offense.

And odds are the Clippers won't shoot better than 60 percent all night.

--Jason Jones

October 17, 2010
As another ankle turns

Today's scrimmage ended abruptly when Omri Casspi limped off the court and sat on the side clutching his left ankle.

That left the Kings without enough healthy bodies to finish 5-on-5 play.

Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle) and DeMarcus Cousins (strained right ankle) were sittting out with ankle injuries. Both are listed as day-to-day.

Centers Samuel Dalembert (left adductor strain) and Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) have been out for some time.

Without Casspi, the Kings were down to nine players.

Casspi said he was "all right."

"It's just an ankle" he said.

Darnell Jackson and Francisco Garcia have also had ankle injuries during training camp.

--Jason Jones

DeMarcus Cousins joined the list of Kings with ankle problems this week. he sat out most of today's practice with a strained right ankle. He's listed as day-to-day.

That meant the only center the Kings had for most of practice was Jason Thompson.

On the bright side, the rest of the Kings with sprained ankles were able to practice.

Tyreke Evans (left ankle), Francisco Garcia (right ankle) and Darnell Jackson (right ankle) all practiced. Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder) also practiced.

--Jason Jones

In case you couldn't figure out the hint coach Paul Westphal dropped on Wednesday, Donte' Greene will begin the season as the starting small forward.

He'll be backed up by Omri Casspi, but don't be surprised to see Francisco Garcia and Antoine Wright play small forward in addition to some time at guard.

Greene has looked more like his enthusiastic self of late, which Westphal likes. He said Greene's at his best when he plays that way.

"He has a good understanding of what we want," Westphal said of Greene. "I think that he's going out there and playing aggressively and with passion and I think that's good to see."

Training camp started off badly for Greene, but has gotten better. He surprised the coaching staff by showing up weighing 260 pounds last month. Then he wasn't playing well in practice.

He's down to 242 pounds and playing a lot like he did last season. Greene said he doesn't want to get complacent and lose the starting job like he did last season. Greene admitted he came to camp not in as good of shape as he did last season after a summer at home.

He had to do a lot of extra work to get closer to the weight he needed to be at.

"I was comfortable but I had to lose that weight I put on," Greene said. "Coach didn't like it. Going through that extra treadmill work, extra running, maybe I didn't have as much energy. But I'm back in it now and I'm good."

At times, Casspi said it didn't matter if he started, but he wanted to win the job. Concerns over Casspi's ability to hold up over the season and his defense remain heading into the season.

There's also the thinking that Casspi plays better off the bench. It's almost as if he's so mad that he's not starting, he comes into the game with more fire.

Greene also seems to have taken to the idea that he's not a primary offensive option better. Whereas Casspi has said one of the positives of being a reserve is that he can have more opportunities on offense.

"I think he can give us a lot off the bench," Westphal said of Casspi. "I think at this stage of his career it's a really good and important role for him and he understands it and he's embracing it."

*Here's some more lineup news:

With Tyreke Evans suspended for the season opener for his reckless driving plea, Beno Udrih and Garcia will start at guard with Greene, Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins up front. Evans will replace Garcia in the second game.

Westphal added that this is all contingent upon health. And the medical reports haven't been kind to the Kings during camp.

Evans (sprained left ankle), Garcia (sprained right ankle), Udrih (sprained right shoulder) and Darnell Jackson (sprained right ankle) are all day-to-day.

Centers Samuel Dalembert (strained left adductor) and Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) are still out.

There was no contact in today's practice - one of the mental reps days.

*The Kings roster is set after the team waived Connor Atchley, Joe Crawford and Marcus Landry.

The most notable name of the group is Marcus Landry. Not only is he the younger brother of Carl Landry, but he also was a standout early in camp.

But with Greene finding his game and Casspi, Garcia and Wright already on the roster, the odds were against Marcus.

Also, the injuries upfront meant the Kings needed to keep another post player and Darnell Jackson showed he could be a contributor.

The Kings now have 14 players, leaving a spot in case a player they like becomes available or even a trade.

With their salary cap room, the Kings can trade for a player and don't have to send a player back in return.

*Should have gotten this out earlier, but here are the list of appearances for the Kings "Paint the Town" events around the area. Fans are encouraged to come out and meet the players.

Saturday, Oct. 16

2-3 p.m.
Carl's Jr.
2241 Del Paso Rd., Sacramento
Player: Tyreke Evans

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Elk Grove Library
8900 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove
Players: Carl Landry, Francisco Garcia

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Old Sacramento
Players: Donte' Greene, Beno Udrih, Luther Head

5-6 p.m.
Fountains at Roseville
1162 Roseville Parkway, Roseville
Players: DeMarcus Cousins, Pooh Jeter

Sunday, Oct. 17

10:30-11:30 a.m.
Folsom Lake Ford and Kia (with the Kings Karavan)
12755 Folsom Blvd., Folsom
Players: Samuel Dalembert, Antoine Wright

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Arden Fair Mall
1689 Arden Way, Sacramento
Players: Jason Thompson, Darnell Jackson

6-7 p.m.
Sacramento International Airport, Terminal A
Players: Omri Casspi, Hassan Whiteside.

--Jason Jones

October 14, 2010
Your Tyreke Evans update

Kings guard Tyreke Evans received treatment on his ankles today. He might not practice tomorrow, but he's not expected to miss much time.

Evans injured both ankles in Wednesday night's exhibition loss to the Lakers when he landed on Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff on separate plays.

The Kings are already without centers Samuel Dalembert (groin), Hassan Whiteside (knee) and guards Beno Udrih (shoulder) and Francisco Garcia (ankle).

Udrih is expected to practice Friday.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Lakers 98, Kings 95

Tyreke Evans left the game in the fourth quarter after turning his left ankle and did not return. He left with 14 points (4 of 14) with six rebounds and eight assists.

No word on his status. The Kings won't practice tomorrow so there should be some time for Evans and the rest of the banged up players to heal.

Darnell Jackson returned after hurting his right ankle in the first half, but ended up watching the fourth quarter with ice on his ankle.

As for the game, the Kings managed to rally in the fourth, primarily againt Pau Gasol and Laker reserves.

The Kings cut the lead down to 98-95 with13.3 seconds left and narrowly missed a steal to give themselves a chance to get the ball back.

Derrick Caracter missed two free throws to give the Kings the ball back with 5.5 seconds left.

A late three by DeMarcus Cousins was off and Luther Head was called for traveling on his final three attempt.

Carl Landry led the Kings with 23 points. Ron Artest had 18 points for the Lakers.

THIRD QUARTER
Lakers 74, Kings 59

The Kings have a 2-to-1 ratio working in the wrong way. They have 16 turnovers and just eight assists. Meanwhile the Lakers have 19 assists and nine turnovers.

The Lakers have the rebounding edge, barely, at 38-37. But the Kings are shooting 34 percent. That coupled with the turnovers have made it tough for the Kings to do much on offense.

Tyreke Evans is 4 of 14 from the floor. DeMarcus Cousins has taken just four shots, making one. Carl Landry is 3 of 8.


SECOND QUARTER
Kings 47, Lakers 46

Even though the Kings have a lead, they still have issues on offense. They aren't taking care of the ball.

The Kings have 11 turnovers at halftime. But they managed to compete thanks largely to Tyreke Evans, who has 12 points.

The turnovers led to 15 points for the Lakers, who shot jsut 39.1 percent in the first half. The Lakers also have 12 second-chance points becasue they've taken advantage of the Kings smaller front line.

Center DeMarcus Cousins has played just seven minutes because he ahs three fouls. That's left Darnell Jackson and Jason Thompson doing a lot of the banging against Pau Gasol.

FIRST QUARTER
Lakers 23, Kings 20

Each team's marquee player has been anything but the star.

Tyreke Evans is 1-of-6 shooting. Kobe Bryant is 1-of-7. The Kings are shooting 27.8 percent and have had trouble scoring whenever they've gotten into the paint against the length of the Lakers.

The best player tonight has been Ron Artest. He's been a pest on defense and has a game-high 11 points.

Artest started the game defending Evans.

The Lakers chose to put Derek Fisher on Antoine Wright and dare him to make shots.

Wright ended up being the Kings leading scorer with six points, making both of his three pointers.

Kings forward Darnell Jackson went to the locker room to have his ankle re-taped. He'll see how it feels and try to return to the game.

In non-game related news, Mike Tyson is sitting across from the Kings bench with Jim Gray, George, Gavin and Joe Maloof.

--Jason Jones

Kings coach Paul Westphal didn't seem to concerned about Francisco Garcia's sprained right ankle.

Garcia didn't appear to be walking with too much discomfort after the game.

**UPDATE** Garcia is not traveling with the Kings tonight to Las Vegas for tomorrow's game against the Lakers.

I ran into Samuel Dalembert briefly. He said he'd be fine even with the news he could miss four to six weeks.

*Westphal was really impressed with the play of Darnell Jackson. The forward might have been seen as just a training camp body last month, but the injuries in the frontcourt have given Jackson a chance to play a more prominent role.

Jackson's statistics aren't noteworthy: six points, six rebounds. But Westphal spoke highly of Jackson, much in the way he spoke about Jon Brockman last season.

Jackson was the player acquired from Milwaukee when the Kings traded Brockman.

"Darnell Jackson was the difference," Westphal said. "When we had guys in foul trouble he came in and gave us some great minutes, not statistically, but he's always plugging, rotting and covering up, getting rebounds in traffic."

Westphal said Jackson played a "really smart game" tonight.

*The small forward race might begin taking shape. For the second time lately, Westphal had nice things to say about Donte' Greene's play and the role of Omri Casspi.

Casspi had 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Greene started and had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals.

"I like Casspi off the bench," Westphal said. "I think he gives us a really nice niche...And I like Donte. I thought hre really showed the kind of impact he can have on a game. Donte' really played well I thought."

--Jason Jones

Kings coach Paul Westphal didn't seem to concerned about Francisco Garcia's sprained right ankle.

Garcia didn't appear to be walking with too much discomfort after the game.

I ran into Samuel Dalembert briefly. He said he'd be fine even with the news he could miss four to six weeks.

*Westphal was really impressed with the play of Darnell Jackson. The forward might have been seen as just a training camp body last month, but the injuries in the frontcourt have given Jackson a chance to play a more prominent role.

Jackson's statistics aren't noteworthy: six points, six rebounds. But Westphal spoke highly of Jackson, much in the way he spoke about Jon Brockman last season.

Jackson was the player acquired from Milwaukee when the Kings traded Brockman.

"Darnell Jackson was the difference," Westphal said. "When we had guys in foul trouble he came in and gave us some great minutes, not statistically, but he's always plugging, rotting and covering up, getting rebounds in traffic."

Westphal said Jackson played a "really smart game" tonight.

*The small forward race might begin taking shape. For the second time lately, Westphal had nice things to say about Donte' Greene's play and the role of Omri Casspi.

Casspi had 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Greene started and had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals.

"I like Casspi off the bench," Westphal said. "I think he gives us a really nice niche...And I like Donte. I thought hre really showed the kind of impact he can have on a game. Donte' really played well I thought."

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Kings 116, Warriors 97

The Kings broke this game open because of Pooh Jeter and Luther Head. Well not just them, but the duo was good.

Jeter finished the game with eigh points and seven assists. Head followed up his good game in Oakland with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Both were active defensively and created offense for others. They were the perfect duo to go against the Warriors when they tried to go small.

Francisco Garcia didn't return to the game after spraining his right ankle in the first half. So that left Jeter and Head the chance to show off a bit.

Tyreke Evans didn't play in the fourth.

DeMarcus Cousins finished with a game-high 20 points. Omri Casspi had 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

David Lee had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Monta Ellis had 18 points and Stephen Curry added 16 points.

THIRD QUARTER
Kings 80, Warriors 77

Tyreke Evans continues to enjoy showing off his improved jump shot.

He made two threes in the third and has 17 points tonight. Meanwhile Carl Landry still looks good (15 points).

The Kings bigs can't stay out of foul trouble. DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points, six rebounds and four fouls in 14 minutes. Jason Thompson has no points, two rebounds and four fouls in eight minutes.

With the lack of size, it was no surprise Warriors power forward David Lee had 10 of his 15 points in the third.

Cousins and Thompson started the fourth so it'll be interesting to see how long they last.

SECOND QUARTER
Kings 53, Warriors 51

Francisco Garica limped off the court late in the quarter. No word on the extent of the injury. The last thing the Kings need is another injury. It's making this preseason more about medical updates instead of offense and defense.

Tyreke Evans didn't play in the second quarter so there was plenty of time for Pooh Jeter, who had four points and an assist in 13 minutes.

DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each have three fouls. Fouls limited Thompson to six minutes while Cousins played 12.

With no Samuel Dalembert anytime soon, this will be an issue in the regular season.

The Warriors are shooting just 37 percent but hta't not all Kings defense. They've missed some layups.

FIRST QUARTER
Warriors 30, Kings 29

I'm sure Carl Ladnry would have preferred not to be poked in the eye last Saturday and have to sit out Sunday's game in Oakland. But maybe the day off did him well. He has seven points and looks to have his legs under him for the first time during the preseason.

But the big news came via a Kings press release. Samuel Dalembert could miss four to six weeks with the left adductor strain that has kept him out the entire preseason.

Dalembert had played in 354 straight games, the third-longest active streak in the NBA.

--Jason Jones

Remember the issues Paul Westphal had with the offense when the Kings had two assists in the first half last week against the Clippers?

Well heading into tomorrow's game, he's still not happy with the progress. I'll let him tell you how he sees the offense:

"We're not cohesive yet by any means. We're one pass and shot. That's not the way we want to play unless it's the shot we want. We're not getting enough ball movement. We're not setting enough screens. We're not cutting, we're not looking to the weakside. We're dribbling too much and we don't know the plays. Other than that we're a finely tuned machine."

The problems are somewhat expected. The Kings added new players. Some, like DeMarcus Cousins and Pooh Jeter, were brought in to play key roles on offense.

Then there have been the injuries that have made for some unique lineups.

Westphal said his offense isn't too complex and that even us media types could learn it.

By the way, Westphal likes to joke with the media. So maybe we couldn't learn the offense, but I'd like to think I could.

What's serious is the Kings are struggling with the offense. They shot 34.1 percent against Golden State on Sunday and 41.3 percent the game prior to that.

So what does Westphal want? It doesn't sound too difficult.

"If you're open shoot it," Westphal said. "If somebody else is open, pass it. If they're guarding you move. It's not that hard."

Nope, doesn't sound too hard. That's easy for me to say from behind my laptop, right?

*The injury news remains the same for three Kings.

Samuel Dalembert (strained left adductor), Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) and Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder) are all out.

Forward Carl Landry (eye) is probable.

No return date is set for Dalembert, Whiteside or Udrih. Of the trio, Udrih is the most likely to return anytime in the near future.

With all the injuries, Westphal gave Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Cousins and Landry the day off from scrimmaging. With back-to-back games coming up and the depleted roster, he's trying to keep them fresh.

The rest of the team scrimmaged so the coaching staff could get a better look at how they are progressing.

There was filmwork today, too, to go over things to fix on offense and defense.

--Jason Jones

FINAL
Warriors 95, Kings 86

The Kings won't like how they shot, after finishing at 34.1 percent. The Warriors only made 41.2 percent from the field, but managed to outrebound the Kings, 54-50.

DeMarcus Cousins fouled out with 17 points (7 of 18 shooting) and 11 rebounds. Jason Thompson had nine points and 12 rebounds. Francisco Garcia finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.

In what was a very Jon Brockman-like effort, Jeff Adrien came off the Warriors bench to grab 15 rebounds in 23 minutes. He also had 11 points and drew the sixth foul on Cousins.

THIRD QUARTER
Warriors 75, Kings 59

The Kings are now shooting 33.8 percent. Only thre players (Luther Head, Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia) have made at least half of their shots.

Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are a combined 6 of 19 for 14 points, 13 rebounds and nine fouls.

Tyreke Evans played the entire third and has made 2 of 6 for five points tonight. he has four turnovers to lead all players.

SECOND QUARTER
Warriors 51, Kings 45

Looks like Tyreke Evans will have an easy night again. He's played just four mintues after picking up three fouls and hasn't been back in the game.

Things fell apart fast without Evans in the last preseason game against the Clippers, especially with Beno Udrih out.

But the offense is running better than it did against the Clippers. The Kings had two assists at halftime against the Clippersk, but have 14 assists tonight. Francisco Garcia and Luther Head each have three assists.

The Kings are shooting just 37.5 percent, but have made 6 of 11 from three-point range. Luther Head and Omri Casspi have each made two threes.

Garcia has looked good tonight. He leads the Kings with 10 points and also has five rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER
Warriors 26, Kings 25

DeMarcus Cousins has seven points and four rebounds in his first experience against the small ball-loving Warriors. Jason Thompson has six points and four rebounds.

But the player that jumped out to me was Luther Head, who is trying to earn a roster spot. He had five points and two assists in nine minutes, hitting a three pointer.

With Pooh Jeter locked in as the backup point guard, Head's best chance to make the team is to prove he can make perimeter shots consistently since he's have to be a combo guard to earn minutes.

Stephen Curry had six points and five rebounds in the first for the Warriors.

*The Kings' depth in the frontcourt was hurt again with the news forward Carl Landry will not travel with the Kings for tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland because of an eye injury.

After yesterday's practice I was told Landry had problems with a contact lens.

Center Samuel Dalembert (strained left adductor), center Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) and guard Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder) are also out tonight.

--Jason Jones

In two preseason games the Kings have shown they still have some work to do defensively.

Some of that work is hard to evaluate because two players that figure to be big shot blockers - Samuel Dalembert and Hassan Whiteside - are still out with injuries.

Dalembert won't play tomorrow against the Golden State Warriors because of a strained left adductor. Whiteside is still out with a strained left patellar tendon.

Defense and size always help against the Warriors. Sure, Don Nelson isn't the coach, but the Warriors still have a roster suited to play fast and score a lot of points.

The Warriors scored 127 points in beating the Clippers by 40 points last night.

These Warriors also have a new player, David Lee, who should give them some kind of inside presence.

"I don't know if excited would be the word," said Kings coach Paul Westphal about playing Lee and the Warriors. "The Warriors handled the Clippers pretty well and they're very, very explosive. They've got a lot of weapons and they seem to be pretty excited about their team. So we'll go down there and hope they don't run us off the court."

Pick-and-roll defense was an issue in the first preseason game. Defense in all areas was a problem when the Kings lost to the Clippers.

And these Warriors will test the Kings' defense in a lot of ways.

Unlike years past where the Warriors did most of their damage with their guards, the addition of Lee mean's the Kings' post players will have to be mindful of someone that can score.

The Warriors will also help in the education of DeMarcus Cousins. One of the biggest adjustments he's making is defending players on the perimeter.

No better team to work on that than against the Warriors.

Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis will put pressure on the Kings' backcourt and force Cousins, Jason Thompson, Darnell Jackson and Donte' Greene (who will play some power forward because of the injuries) to be ready and know their assignments.

This should also be a good game to see how Pooh Jeter impacts Westphal's rotations. He's the kind of player the Kings didn't have in games like this at the end of last season.

If the pace is fast, Jeter could allow the Kings to play small ball effectively.

Jeter should be the first guard off the bench with Francisco Garcia starting for Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder).

--Jason Jones

Antoine Wright will get his chance to audition for the starting small forward job Sunday when he starts Sunday at Golden State.

Wright didn't play in Thursday night's loss to the Clippers.

"We want to get a good look at Antoine," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "I don't like to play a guy two or three minutes in a blowout and say you had a chance."

Westphal knows Wright from their time together in Dallas, where Wright was a starter and key contributor for the Mavericks when Westphal was an assistant coach.

Marcus Landry started the first two preseason games at small forward. Westphal said of the players that played that position during against the Clippers, Donte' Greene had the best showing.

Greene had 10 points and "played hard" according to Westphal. Greene has been at the bottom of the small forward rotation during camp after showing up overweight and then struggling on the court.

"I won't say Donte's had a good camp but I know Donte' can be a good player," Westphal said.

*Today's practice was long, which was expected after the Kings no-showed against the Clippers.

"Nice day of training camp again today," Westphal said. "We had a lot to work on based on last night. If we would have played with as much intensity last night as we did in practice it would have been a little bit better showing. It's a good step in our development. We got better today."

As tired as the Kings looked at times against the Clippers, there are no breaks on the horizon. The team has practiced everyday since camp began Sept. 28.

Here's Westphal on the subject of giving the Kings a day off:

"I know they're tired, but this is training camp. And as much as everybody would like to see us in midseason form after nine days that's not going to happen. We're going to be tired, we're going to be cranky. We're going to be confused and disorganized. But we're getting a little better each day. We'll give them a day off when I think that we can afford to have that happen and have it be better than us rather than practice."

*Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder) and center Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) are out for Sunday's game. Center Samuel Dalembert (strained left adductor) practiced in halfcourt scrimmages. He's still listed as doubtful for Sunday.

Dalembert had been out since last Sunday's open scrimmage and hadn't practiced much prior to that scrimmage because of the injury. The Kings need to get a look at Dalembert, but won't rush him back on the floor and risk further injury.

Dalembert stayed after practice to take jump shots with assistant coach Pete Carril. Jason Thompson also stuck around for extra work.

*Sunday's probable starters against the Warriors are:

G Tyreke Evans
G Francisco Garcia
F Antoine Wright
F Jason Thompson
C DeMarcus Cousins

--Jason Jones

Clippers Kings Basketball.jpgThursday night was my first time seeing Blake Griffin in person since last year's summer league. And he was nothing short of spectacular.

He dunked over two Kings for a putback dunk. He didn't miss a field goal in scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He did all of this in the first half.

Griffin missed all of last season with a knee injury so he's eligible to win Rookie of the Year this season.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 Draft is skilled and a superb athlete. He's playing next to an All-Star center in Chris Kaman, so his life will be a little bit easier in the paint.

John Wall gets plenty of attention as this season's favorite to be Rookie of the Year. But I wouldn't count out Griffin.

His presence makes the Western Conference a little tougher for the Kings to move up in this season. And he'll probably play with even more fire, considering he was the favorite to win ROY last season before his injury.

*The Kings looked worn out Thursday in losing 120-88 to the Clippers. I'm sure some of the players would like a day off, but the way they played means they'll get more, not less, work.

The only players that have been repeatedly praised for being in shape have been Pooh Jeter and Jason Thompson.

And I can assure you that with a team this young, the coaches aren't buying just being tired as an excuse.

*One thing that's been consistent in two preseason game is Paul Westphal mentioning some problem with the defense.

It was pick-and-roll defense against Phoenix. Tonight's problem was excessive fouling. The Kings had 19 fouls in the first half. Even without Tyreke Evans most of the night and no Beno Udrih because of injury, that's way too many.

*Without Evans after the first quarter and no Udrih, Jeter played a game-high 38 mintues, 37 seconds. Luther head also saw extensive time, playing 19:53 and finishing with 11 points.

Jeter and Head will probably play a lot Sunday in Oakland against the Warriors. Westphal said he's "not sure" if Udrih's sprained right shoulder will be well enough for him to play.

Udrih was injured in a collision during Wednesday's practice.

*Westphal said Carl Landry (6 of 13, 14 points) looked "OK" but still doesn't loook like himself. Westphal wants to see the quickness that made him an important player after being traded to Sacramento in February.

--Jason Jones


Photo: Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin, bottom, takes a tumble between Sacramento Kings' Marcus Landry, left, and DeMarcus Cousins in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Sacramento. AP Photo by Dino Vournas

FINAL
Clippers 120, Kings 88

Not much changed about this game in the fourth quarter. DeMarcus Cousins fouled out with 15 points on 5 of 14 shooting. He only had three rebounds. Looked like the kind of night he'll have sometimes as a rookie.

The best player on the floor most of the night was Blake Griffin, who did his work in the first half.

Carl Landry (14 points, five rebounds) looked like he was closer to his old self tonight. He came off the bench tonight.

THIRD QUARTER
Clippers 91, Kings 61

The Kings started Pooh Jeter, Francisco Garcia, DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Landry and Jason Thompson. After missing the first preseason game, getting Garcia some game action is an obvious priority.

But even without Blake Griffin in the game for the Clippers, the Kings didn't make up any ground. The Kings are using lineups they probably wouldn't use in a game unless injuries forced them to do so.

So as you might expect, there have been plenty of turnovers in this game and the offense hasn't looked nearly as good as it did on Tuesday.

Perhaps a positive that could come out of this game is Carl Landry finding his game. He's made 5 of 9 for 12 points. He had a rough start to camp as he struggled to find his shot.

But there hasn't been much good to watch in this one, unless you like the Clippers.

Tyreke Evans didn't play in the third for the Kings.

HALFTIME
Clippers 63, KIngs 38

Tyreke Evans didn't play in the second quarter. But it looked like none of the Kings on the floor were playing at times in the second.

The Kings used the quarter to look at some of the players trying to make the team. Luther Head, Joe Crawford and Coonor Atchley all saw time. It was the first preseason action for Crawford and Atchley.

The team looks tired, too. They haven't had a day off since starting training camp on Sept. 28.

There's also the fact that Blake Griffin (18 points, 13 rebounds) is really good. So Chris Kaman (16 points).

The Kings are shooting 38.2 percent while the Clippers are shooting 56.4 percent.

FIRST QUARTERClippers 33, Kings 24

Tyreke Evans is off to a good start (11 points). But the Kings are having problems inside with last year's No. 1 overall draft pick.

Blake Griffin looks as good as advertised. Actually he looks better than I expected. He had 11 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter. He's strong and a freakish athlete. He could end up being the Rookie of the Year after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

DeMarcus Cousins is finding life in the paint is a little tougher going against All-Star Chris Kaman, after making his debut Tuesday against Phoenix's Robin Lopez.

Cousins missed wildly on his first shot attempt against Kaman but made two of his next four shots. He has five points.

*The Kings will start Pooh Jeter, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Landry, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins tonight.

Darnell Jackson is dressed for the game.

Coach Paul Westphal said Beno Udrih injured his shoulder in a collision during yesterday's practice and that Udrih is day-to-day.

Tonight's injury report:

Guard Beno Udrih (sprained right shoulder), center Samuel Dalembert (left adductor strain), ) and center Hassan Whiteside (left patellar tendon strain) are all out tonight.

I'll get an update on forward Darnell Jackson (strained right hip flexor) in about an hour.

*And in case you missed the news, Shareef Abdur-Rahim was named assistant general manager today.

The former NBA star spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Kings after knee problems forced him to retire after 12 seasons.

Abdur-Rahim's last three seasons in the NBA were with the Kings.

--Jason Jones

October 6, 2010
Figuring out the frontline

After today's practice, Kings coach Paul Westphal said there were three starting spots that are still open.

Tyreke Evans will start. So will Beno Udrih. I think we can all agree on that.

Time to sort out the rest.

The small forward situation has been known for some time. What happens at power forward and center is still undecided, largely because of injuries.

If DeMarcus Cousins starts, he would probably be the center. The Kings don't want to ask the rookie to have to defend power forwards. With Samuel Dalembert still nursing a left strained adductor muscle, the Kings haven't had a good chance to see how Dalembert plays with Cousins.

If they play together, Dalembert would have to defend power forwards that might play on the perimeter. It's something Jason Thompson would probably be able to handle. The same goes for Carl Landry.

Landry excelled as a reserve in Houston, and Westphal could opt to use him in that role if he wants a bigger frontline. But that can't be sorted out fully until Dalembert and Hassan Whiteside (strained left patellar tendon) return to practice.

Some quick thoughts:

*If Dalembert is slow to return, he might find he's gone from likely starting center to backing up Cousins.

*The Landry/Thompson decision could come down to matchups with both taking turns starting.

*Of the group of bigs in contention to start, Landry is the one that wouldn't play center and might be used as a small forward in some scenarios.

*Thompson's energy makes him an ideal reserve. But if he continues to play well with Cousins, that wouldn't be a bad duo to start with.

In other news:

*Cousins and Landry are likely to start tomorrow's exhibition game because of the injuries to Dalembert, Whiteside and Darnell Jackson (strained right hip flexor).

*Francisco Garcia missed practice after missing last night's game for personal reasons. He's expected to be available for tomorrow's game.

*The NBA survey of general managers can be found here.

Suprisingly, Cousins didn't get any votes for Rookie of the Year, but Wesley Johnson did.

--Jason Jones

DeMarcus Cousins admitted he "had a lot of butterflies" before tonight's game, but it was hard to tell by the way he played.

Scoring 16 points and grabbing 16 rebounds is a nice debut. I write a lot about Cousins for tomorrow's paper so I want to touch on some other players that showed some things tonight.

*Jason Thompson (17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots) looked freer on the floor with Cousins.

The job of banging under the basket isn't solely on him, like it was at times last season.

"It helps out a lot," Thompson said. "I know I don't have to get down and get all the rebounds. You have some guys there that you're comfortable with and spread the wealth a little bit."

It would be nice to see Thompson paired with Samuel Dalmebert, too. Dalembert is a shot blocking presence that should help Thompson's defensive game, too.

Kings coach Paul Westhpal said only Pooh Jeter might have been in better shape than Thompson coming into camp. It showed tonight as Thompson played with great energy.

*Tonight also showed some of the evolution of Tyreke Evans' game. He made 9 of 17 shots, including 2 of 3 from three.

He looked confident again from the perimeter and still showed the ability to drive to basket when he wanted to.

Twice in the fourth quarter Evans scored on cuts to the basket. One came on a pass from Beno Udrih, the other came on a pass from Carl Landry.

"Coach did a good job of calling plays in the fourth quarter," Evans said, noting late execution has been a point of emphasis.

*Jeter will clearly be a key part of the rotation. His play allows Evans and Udrih to play off the ball more and Jeter has the look of a player that can create his shot and for others.

And he liked the chants of "Pooh" at Arco tonight.

Jeter made three of six shots, showing he can hit the transition jumper or find a teammate in that situation.

*The Kings played better defense in the second half when the Suns went to their bench. Steve Nash and Grant Hill played a little less than six minutes in the first quarter. Hedo Turkoglu logged 15:45 total and Jason Richardson played 23:08.

There was a lot of Jared Dudly, Goran Dragic, Matt Janning and Chucky Atkins in the second half for Phoenix.

You could tell these weren't your normal Suns - they had just six fast break points. Phoenix made just 2 of 16 from three.

Those numbers are probably different with Nash on the floor. Westphal said he's more about evaluating his players and not who they're playing against, so there wasn't much talk of that.

The Kings played their starters a lot more than the Suns did. Small forward Marcus Landry played 22:24. That was the lowest total for Kings' starters.

--Jason Jones