Leading Off

Will the real Kings please stand up?

Reading time, two minutes ...

▪ When the Kings took a 24-4 lead against Dallas on Tuesday, we figured they would coast to victory, improve to 6-2 and continue to be the most surprising team in the NBA. But when the Mavericks closed the first half with a 17-5 run and outscored the Kings 30-15 in the third quarter, it looked more like the bad old days. Which team will show up in Memphis tonight against the 7-1 Grizzlies – the one that beat the Clippers behind DeMarcus Cousins’ 34 points and 17 rebounds or the one that lost to the Mavericks with a frustrated Cousins complaining about fouls and taking just 13 shots?

▪ Even though Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, many basketball fans loathe him. And they took to the Internet to make fun of him Tuesday after he broke the NBA record for most missed field-goal attempts in a career with his 13,418th miss during the fourth quarter against Memphis. The record shouldn’t be viewed as a taint on his career; after all, he’s third in attempts and seventh in made field goals. Perhaps Bryant said it best after Tuesday’s game: “Well, I’m a shooting guard that’s played 19 years. ... Like I said, ‘shooting’ guard, ‘19th year.’”

▪ No one will know what shape Aldon Smith is in until the linebacker takes the field against the Giants on Sunday after a nine-game suspension. He hasn’t played a meaningful game since the NFC Championship in January, so he won’t be in football shape – but he’s also rested and will have fresher legs than anyone on the field. The 49ers need him to make an impact; they have just 15 sacks, tied for 24th in the league. In his breakout 2012 season, Smith had 191/2 sacks.

Tom Couzens


Today’s poll

Wednesday’s results

How well will Chris Borland play in place of 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis?

▪ Do a great job: 57%

▪ Too early to tell: 25%

▪ Good tackler, lousy pass coverage: 15%

▪ No size, no speed, no chance: 2%

Total votes: 100