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Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison pairing shows improvement for Kings

Video: Kings coach Karl praises Darren Collison's effort in win at Indiana

Collison scored 24 points as the Kings held off the Pacers, 108-106
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Collison scored 24 points as the Kings held off the Pacers, 108-106

Kings coach George Karl likes using two point guards in the game together. That’s why he stuck with it this season, even though the results weren’t always productive.

Karl said he’s seen improvement when Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison play alongside the other, which is important because Karl likes having two decision-makers in the game to give the offense more diversity.

But there were some kinks to work out. Early in the season, Rondo, the more accomplished playmaker, would play off the ball with Collison serving as facilitator, for example.

It didn’t help that Collison missed five games because of a hamstring injury.

“For some reason, the first 10, 15 games, it just didn’t seem like it had much rhythm,” Karl said. “But it seems D.C. plays off the ball most of the time when that happens. I still like two guys who can run pick-and-rolls and pick and choose your opportunities with two point guards on the court.”

Entering Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Collison and Rondo had been on the court at the same time an average of 14.3 minutes in 22 games. The Kings were a minus-3.3 with them on the court together.

For Karl, the pairing is moving in the right direction. Karl likes to end games with both on the court together.

Over their past eight games, that plus/minus is down to minus-2 in 15.1 minutes.

In Wednesday’s 108-106 win over Indiana , Rondo played 37 minutes and had 13 points and 16 assists, while Collison played 35 minutes and had 24 points and five assists.

Eastern improvement – The Kings faced three Eastern Conference teams on their four-game trip that ended Wednesday.

The East has been inferior to the West for some time, with it sometimes taking 50 wins to make the playoffs in the West while teams below .500 have routinely make the postseason in the East.

This season, 10 teams are above .500 in the East, while only seven teams in the West have a winning record.

Karl said there’s a reason for that.

“Check the conference records,” Karl said. “Most of the good East Coast teams have (like) a 10-5 conference record. I think there’s only four teams in the West that have an over .500 conference record, and three of those teams are pretty good.”

There are actually five teams in the West, led by Golden State with its 16-0 conference mark.

Eight teams in the East have winning records within their conference.

More flow – Karl said when it comes to finding better shots for his players, he’s not in favor of trying to call more plays.

Instead, he wants the Kings to pick up the tempo and try to find something easy in the flow of the game.

“Flow to me is better than execution,” Karl said. “Twenty years ago, that would be a sacrilegious statement to make, but today the way the game is played, if you try to run plays against 5-on-5 defense, everybody’s good.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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