Editor’s Note: Kings’ Speech usually previews home games.  But with the Kings playing back-to-back games against the Jazz, we’ve decided to preview tonight’s game in Salt Lake City instead.

Keith Smart patrols the sidelines versus the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo: Steven Chea)

The Sacramento Kings are in Salt Lake City to compete in the first of two games in two nights against the Utah Jazz. They’re looking to win just their fourth game of the season after beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

The Kings will try to match their effort from two nights ago against the Lakers, which ended a five-game losing streak.  How do the Kings avoid playing down to the competition?  Kings head coach Keith Smart tried to rationalize.

I can’t explain it. All last year, big named teams came in, we played them well. Go on the road to play them, played them well. I can’t explain it; I don’t know. But I do believe that comes with your leadership of your team. As your team grows and understands the pace that they have to play to start the game off, I think that’s when you get to that point.

You look at some of the elite teams, they come in, they play at a fast pace right off the bat because they try to set a tone. I think as our team gets more experienced, they can start to understand that. As you add more experienced players to your team, then you start to see the importance of the game (early).

The Kings have played 11 games so far this season and won just three times. Though they experienced a stretch of rough losses over the last two weeks, Kings big man Jason Thompson remains hopeful and optimistic about their upcoming string of games.

I think any team can beat any team on any given night – no matter where it is. Obviously, you’ve got a certain percentage of guys with records and if its home or away or stuff, but it’s still early. It’s what, our 11th game of the season? Some teams have played less, some teams have played more. You can’t predict what’s going to happen in the next week or two. But that’s how we approach – we take one game at a time.

Tip-off between the Kings and Jazz is set for 6 pm PT at Energy Solutions Arena. Follow Cowbell Kingdom for continued pre and postgame coverage of tonight’s game.