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Kings notes: Former King Mbah a Moute has qualities Karl likes, Kings need

Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson, right, reaches for the ball held by Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson, right, reaches for the ball held by Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Associated Press

Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute has qualities the Kings need more of this season.

He’s defensive-minded, unselfish and does not rely on offense to get himself going in a game.

The Kings had Mbah a Moute on their roster over the summer until the team failed him on his physical, voiding his one-year contract. It would have been Mbah a Moute’s second stint with Sacramento.

Mbah a Moute recently won a grievance against the Kings over the physical and started for the Clippers on Saturday against Sacramento at Staples Center.

“Every team likes his intangibles,” said Kings coach George Karl. “He’s not a stat guy; he’s a low-maintenance offensive guy, so you don’t have to run anything for him and he’s happy.”

Karl has often said the Kings need more players who focus on defense. That void is especially noticeable on the perimeter, where Mbah a Moute might have helped the Kings.

Now the Kings hope their roster can continue to improve while they explore options to add another defender.

Small adjustment — It’s no secret Rudy Gay prefers playing small forward.

He’s been asked to play more power forward this season, but with Willie Cauley-Stein back in the starting lineup, Gay is beginning games at small forward again.

It’s doesn’t mean Gay will not play power forward. Karl’s first substitution was Omri Casspi for Cauley-Stein, sliding Gay back to power forward.

Gay had 24 points and nine rebounds in Cauley-Stein’s first game back in the starting lineup.

“It’s just something I’m familiar with, something I’ve been familiar with most of my career,” Gay said. “That helps a lot, and Willie is basically a hybrid. He can guard anywhere on the court.”

Fast starts wanted — Asked what positive he wanted to carry over from Sacramento’s win at Utah, Karl pointed to the team’s good start, holding Utah to 12 points in the first quarter.

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Karl then asked any “analytics” or “stats” experts in the media to guess what percentage of games are won by the team that wins the first quarter.

Karl estimated the team that leads after the first 12 minutes wins the game about 60 percent of the time.

More former Kings — Former King Cole Aldrich started at center for the Clippers for injured starter DeAndre Jordan.

DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a 110-103 victory Saturday night at Staples Center.

Jason Jones three takeaways from Kings victory against the Clippers.

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

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