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Kings’ good start a credit to their focus on defense

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins reacts after hitting two free throws to give the Kings a five-point lead over the Denver Nuggets with only 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Kings' 110-105 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins reacts after hitting two free throws to give the Kings a five-point lead over the Denver Nuggets with only 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Kings' 110-105 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. AP

These Kings talk a lot about defense.

And they’re actually doing more than talking about it. The Kings are playing defense.

Prior to Monday’s game that the Kings won, 110-105 over Denver, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw talked about some of the things the Kings did well on defense.

That’s a change in itself.

Most talk about the Kings in recent years has been about their talented scorers. Opposing teams believed the Kings would cave defensively at some point and the Kings tended to prove them right.

Four games into the 2014-15 season the Kings are holding opponents to 40.1 percent shooting and allowing 96.5 points per game. Opponents are shooting just 26.9 percent from three-point range.

The talk will continue, too. The Kings are 3-1, even though their offense has been inefficient overall.

“The defense, I’m going to keep saying it, I’m going to sound like a broken record every day,” said guard Darren Collison. “Defense, a couple times offensively we were stagnant we were a little bit slow, but our defense kept us in the game, that’s been kind of the biggest recipe for success at the beginning of the season has been our defense.”

DeMarcus Cousins agrees as to why the Kings have had early-season success.

“Honestly, I can say it’s the defense,” Cousins said. “We’re playing some pretty tough defense right now. That’s the start and on top of that we’re playing so well together and the chemistry is coming along great.”

The Kings have had to emphasize defense more while the offense tries to catch up.

Sacramento is shooting 40.9 percent and averaging 97 points.

“You know our offense too needs work but when you hold teams to 38 percent or 39 percent shooting we will take it.”

More notes from Monday’s game:

▪  The Kings went 40-of-47 (.851) from the free throw line. It was the first time a Nuggets’ opponent has shot 47-plus free throws while making at least 85 percent since Dec. 19, 1986 at Dallas.

▪  Sacramento and Denver combined to shoot 68-of-80 (.850) from the free throw line. It was the first time two NBA teams combined for at least 80 free throw attempts while making at least 85 percent since Los Angeles Clippers and Utah did so Dec. 28, 2012 in Utah.

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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