Kings Blog

Kings notes: Corbin wants renewed focus on defense

Kings coach Tyrone Corbin wants to go back to how the team operated to start the season when it comes to playing defense.

The Kings began the season with a strong emphasis on defense, but with the coaching change to Corbin on Dec. 14, the focus has been on offense and the defense has lost its edge.

Corbin has tried to put his own touch on what the Kings do on both ends of the floor but is prepared to back off that plan on defense.

“We’ve tried to change a couple calls,” Corbin said before the Kings played the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday at Target Center. “We’re probably going to go back to where we were before. The communication has slacked up some (with) the miscommunications in some pick-and-roll coverages. It’s just to clarify some things and make sure we’re on the same page there.”

In the first eight games since Corbin took over for the fired Michael Malone, the Kings allowed 112.3 points per game and have given up season highs for points twice and surrendered several other season highs. That also included at least three players who aren’t renowned scorers (Festus Ezeli, Justin Holiday, Cole Aldrich) posting career highs.

With the mandate for a faster-paced offense coming from ownership, the Kings haven’t put the same focus on defense, and the opposition is taking advantage.

Corbin wants to fix that and get the Kings focused again on the defensive end as well as on offense.

“We paid more attention to the offensive end, trying to pick the pace up there, trying to run a few different things,” Corbin said. “We’ve got to get back to getting stops.”

Tough change – Minnesota coach Flip Saunders was sympathetic to what Corbin is dealing with as a coach taking over during the season.

“It’s extremely difficult, especially in their situation, because they’re trying to change their style of play,” Saunders said. “They were very much a defensive-oriented style of play (team). I thought coach Malone did an excellent job with what he was trying to do with that team. They’re changing their style of play, which makes it more difficult at times.”

Injury news – Rookie forward Eric Moreland will have surgery Saturday to repair a left shoulder labral tear and will miss the rest of the season.

Moreland, who was undrafted out of Oregon State, impressed the team with a strong showing in summer league in July. He appeared in only three games with the Kings this season, making his only shot and grabbing a rebound.

Forward Omri Casspi sat out Thursday’s game because of a left knee bone contusion. Casspi missed four games in December with the injury but had played in the last five games.

Guard Ramon Sessions missed his fifth straight game with a lower back strain.

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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