Sacramento Kings

Kings notes: Casspi comes on strong as season winds down

Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) drives to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) on Monday, April 13, 2015 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) drives to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) on Monday, April 13, 2015 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. hamezcua@sacbee.com

As the injury-riddled Kings close another losing season, one player is peaking.

Omri Casspi averaged 16.0 points and shot 54.1 percent in his previous 10 games entering Monday’s home finale against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Casspi has bounced back from a knee injury that bothered him before the All-Star break, and he has flourished in coach George Karl’s up-tempo system.

“I think he’s a flow guy, and we’re trying to play faster so he gets in the flow more often,” Karl said. “I think he’s comfortable with the simple decisions, and he’s a good runner of the court.”

Casspi also has improved from three-point range. Before the break, he was shooting 22.7 percent from beyond the arc. He entered Monday shooting 46.7 percent on threes since the break.

Parting words – Coaches typically have exit interviews after the season finale to tell players what they must work on.

Karl planned short initial postseason meetings with players.

“I’m not a big exit interview guy,” Karl said. “I think the best thing for these guys is to take three or four weeks off, and I’ll get back to them in May and start giving them the summer schedule.

“Bring some of the guys back in for rehab and some individual work. I’ve talked to these guys a lot. They’re going to be tired of me talking to them.”

Home-court advantage – Karl wants more success at Sleep Train Arena.

“Good teams win 30 home games,” Karl said. “Next year, we’ve got to get into the mid-20s, maybe higher than that to fight for a playoff spot.”

Monday’s win was the Kings’ 18th at home. They had a chance to bulk up their home victory total when they played 12 games at Sleep Train between Nov. 30 and Dec. 27. But DeMarcus Cousins missed eight of those games because of viral meningitis and one because of a stomach illness. The Kings went 4-8 in that stretch, which included the firing of coach Michael Malone.

Late addition – The Lakers have been depleted by injuries and arrived in Sacramento on Sunday night with no backup wing players.

So they signed Vander Blue from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Blue arrived at Sleep Train just in time to warm up for the game.

“His flight landed about 5:20 (p.m.), so we had to get him signed before 6 o’clock to have him officially be on the roster,” coach Byron Scott said.

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

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