SALT LAKE CITY Postgame notes and quotes from Saturday’s 112-102 overtime over the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena:
DeMarcus Cousins is the featured player for the Kings on offense. But in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Kings’ offense looked stale in feeding Cousins.
The ball was forced to Cousins and he tried to score over bigger defenders with bad results in the what became a 106-100 loss.
It wasn’t the first time the Kings had struggled with their late-game execution so coach Michael Malone decided to asking his players what could be done to improve their late-game play.
Isaiah Thomas summed up the talk best:
“Coach asked if we had input on what we should do at the end of games and I told him and a couple other guys told him how they felt and he took it and said ‘OK, we can do those things.’ Simple execution things. Like when we lost (Friday) night. We were going into DeMarcus every time but we were easy to guard. We were just one pass and go into him and I told him we need to be tougher to guard, maybe do some misdirection things to get him the ball if that’s where we’re going to go. He accepted that, everybody spoke on it and it worked today. We opened the floor a little bit ran a couple different plays to get him the ball.”
Cousins scored 10 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Cousins missed all four of his shots in the fourth quarter against the Lakers for three points.
“Well, he is a load against most guys in this league,” said Utah coach Ty Corbin of Cousins. “I thought the guys fought him for the most part. He made some tough shots down the stretch and carried them a little bit.”
*Ben McLemore was having a miserable fourth quarter before he tied the game with a three pointer with 3.2 seconds left in regulation. . He’d missed his first five shots of the quarter.
McLemore, however, almost didn’t have the opportunity to take the shot.
“Honestly I was about to shoot it because I’d seen it was open and I had some space to shoot,” said Thomas, who ended up with the assist. “But I was patient with the play because I knew Ben was coming up and he’s usually almost always open because of how fast he comes off the screen and he made a helluva shot.”
*The Kings shot just 41.5 percent, including 3-for-15 on three pointers. Sacramento was plus-9 in points from the free throw line and had only 10 turnovers.
*John Salmons is clearly a player Malone trusts. Malone turns to Salmons for defense and to help run the offense. Salmons had five assists against the Jazz.
*Cousins had 28 points in 27 minutes. He only played a minute in the first quarter after picking up two fouls.