Kings Practice Notes and Quotes: March 19

DeMarcus_Practice

The Sacramento Kings ran another light practice on Thursday, finishing earlier than usual.

Banged-up wings Rudy Gay (left patellar tendon strain) and Ben McLemore (right wrist) were available. DeMarcus Cousins (right calf strain), who missed Wednesday’s game, did not participate, and George Karl had yet to receive an update on his health at the time. But Cousins stepped out from the locker room moments later to take set shots.

Eric Moreland (left shoulder labral tear), who was in full practice gear, worked individually with assistant coach Vance Walberg on the far court. Karl said the rookie forward is still getting his feet under him and has yet to do any contact drills.

Along with Karl, Andre Miller spoke to the media today.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • George Karl on his biggest concerns: “I don’t have much concern about my offense right now. We’re giving up too many points. The process is improving. There’s a lot of good basketball going on, but losing has that way of clouding up all the positives, and I can’t let that happen. I got to stay in the process, like I tell them all the time, we got to stay together, stay in the process of, every day we walk out here a better basketball team and a better player, better coach.”
  • Karl on facing the Charlotte Hornets on Friday: “It all starts with Al Jefferson. Mo Williams has been playing great. Kemba (Walker) is back into playing a good role. I think that’s the one difference probably with Kemba, is he’s probably going to have a bigger personality on the game than he did in Charlotte. And they’re a desperate team. They’re still on that bubble to make the playoffs and they got to go win on the road. It’s kind of like us on the road, we had to get a win in Charlotte and we got it. I mean, I don’t see a game (the rest of the season) where we’re going to be playing a team that isn’t desperate, or isn’t hungry for the win. Except maybe Philadelphia, and they’ve been great all year playing hard. No one’s going to give us one, we got to go earn one and that would be the best medicine for everybody.”
  • Karl on what he’d like to see the rest of the season: “My whole thing with them right now is, play hard. Don’t give in to the losing attitude that can come with a tough schedule. And right now, (I’m) trying to show them the positive stuff that’s fallen our way, and also try to correct the negative stuff that we need to improve on. So keep the energy and feel at a good place.”
  • Karl on improvement in ball control: “The players probably should answer the question before me, but I think, good decisions, I’m a big believer that your decisions to pass the ball, how you pass the ball is a huge part of how well you play offense. And I think we’re getting better. I don’t know what our assist to turnover ratio is since I’ve been here, but we’d think it’s probably improved more than any of the areas since I’ve come here. But it can get better. I actually think we take a lot of good shots, (when there’s) a great shot right in the same play. To be unselfish to get to that great shot is really important to a great team. To be a really first-class team, you got to give up the good shot for the great shot.”
  • Karl on free throws: “I don’t think we’re down that much (in free throw attempts). I argue all the time with my coaches, what is the best shot in basketball next to the layup? Of course, attacking the basket is one, and so is free throws and 3’s, the most important. The free throw slows the flow of the game down. So sometimes, even though we might be winning the free throw battle, I don’t think we’re winning the flow game. That’s just kind of something, when we get more consistent being with the tempo and pace of the game, and then also Cuz is a guy who has to get his touches when he plays, so it’s going to take a while to figure out that rhythm. But I can’t deny at times, it’s looked really good. When I got here, I never thought we’d have a 42-point quarter, I never thought we’d have a 39-point quarter. Last night, we had a 32-point quarter against supposedly a pretty good defensive basketball team. So there’s some things happening offensively. The nightmares that we have defensively are still keeping me awake at night.”

Players Notes and Quotes

  • Andre Miller on the Kings’ recent struggles: “It’s a tough stretch. A tough, long road trip, and then you come back home playing against teams that are fighting for playoff spots, and you can’t knock our effort. We’ve been playing hard but we hit spells in the game where teams are hitting 3-pointers and getting fast break points off our turnovers. So some of the things are coming because we’re putting it on ourselves with turnovers but well, we got to figure it out.”
  • Miller on the Kings’ perimeter defense: “Well we’ve talked about not giving up layups and closing off the paint, and forcing teams to shoot the ball from the outside, inside the 3-point line. But teams are making the extra passes, they’re finding the open man, and they’ve knocking down 3-pointers. Like I said, when teams are fighting for a playoff positioning, those shots seem to go in, and unfortunately for us, we’re not getting out and getting those rebounds, and they’re kicking them out for 3-pointers.”
  • Miller on his approach when coming off the bench: “Well I look at the team’s statistics and the one thing that stands out is the team is at the bottom of the league in passing the ball and assists. So I just try to come out and try to get the passing mentality through everybody, make (and) run some simple plays and just keep the ball moving. And eventually it will filter through everybody else.”
  • Miller on selfish play in the fourth quarter: “You know, it’s kind of natural. When you’re down, you tend to press a little bit and think, I can go out and get that bucket, instead of making that extra pass. It’s a lot of teams, 80 percent of the teams do that when they’re in that position. And knowing that this team is not in the playoff hunt, it’s going to be magnified. So like I said, we’ve been playing hard. I think this is an unselfish team, we just got to figure out when things are getting tough, that passing is going to make us better.”
  • Miller on playing with Jason Thompson in the second unit: “I think with Jason, I think he’ll probably be more involved with the second unit knowing that the first unit, you’re playing through DeMarcus and Rudy, and McCallum making plays out there for Ben. So the second unit, he can bring that energy off the bench that he plays with, and kind of not get in foul trouble as much, and get some of the shots within the offense with the second group. So I think George is just experimenting with the offense and different rhythms of how players play with each other out there.”
  • Miller on how he keeps spry by the end of games: “My legs aren’t fresh down the stretch. After halftime, I’m pretty much done. The main thing for me is just trying to stay loose when my name is called and trying to navigate my way around the court when I’m tired.”

The Kings will host a morning shoot around before playing the Charlotte Hornets at Sleep Train Arena tomorrow night.

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About: Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is a writer and reporter for Cowbell Kingdom. He previously covered the Sacramento Kings and the NBA for Sports Out West. He is published by Sports Illustrated’s Truth and Rumors and Yahoo Sports NFL among others.