Keith Smart has preached a defensive mantra here in the preseason and so far, this young Sacramento Kings team is buying in. In their first two exhibitions, the Kings held their opponents to a combined 40-percent shooting average.
Isaiah Thomas has liked what he’s seen the Kings do collectively on the defensive end. He wants that to continue tonight against the Golden State Warriors.
We’re playing very good defense, a big improvement from last year and we just want to build on that. We know we can play offense with the best teams in the league. We can score, we can do that. But we’re trying to get better on the defensive end and I think we’re taking strides and we can’t just take steps back.
Why have the Kings been more successful on defense? The conversation starts and ends with communication according to the second-year point guard.
We’re just talking. I think we’re talking a lot more and communicating. And that’s the big thing with us last year – we didn’t really talk. Guys were on islands, guys were by themselves and not really helping. And we’re like a step ahead of where we were last year. We’re helping each other and being there for each other.
Jason Thompson hopes they build off of their brush with adversity Monday night. The Kings led the Trail Blazers by 20 points at halftime, but allowed Portland to outscore them 36-29 in the third quarter.
The 26-year-old veteran believes the Kings have room for growth when it comes to playing through rough patches.
The NBA is a game of runs and it’s not always going to go smooth. (Monday’s game) went really smooth in the beginning for us a little bit – went up by 20. And then in the beginning of the second-half, we can’t have many let downs…So, we just gotta know that you can never put your head down when runs happen on the other team and just keep moving and keep pushing.
Tip-off between the Kings and Warriors is at 7 pm at Power Balance Pavilion. Follow Cowbell Kingdom for additional pre and postgame coverage.