Smart eases off lineup change but may still tweak Kings

12:54 AM, Jan 18, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - After a 1-4 road trip concluded on Monday with a 99-86 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kings head coach Keith Smart said he'd have a lot to think about on the flight back to Sacramento.

When asked after Monday's game if he was considering lineup changes, Smart said he was at that point.

"I can't keep waiting for guys to play great and play good because the season is too short - you can get out of the hunt pretty quick," Smart said. "It's a long flight back and I've got to do something, because right now, this is not working for our basketball team."

Back in Sacramento on Tuesday afternoon, Smart lightened up a bit from that previous response.

"I have to be patient, myself," Smart said, whose team is 4-10 overall and the youngest in the NBA. "I want this thing to turn around right away, right now, but I also know I didn't take over the World Champions.

"I said something last night - I have to be patient and not be in such a rush and think that way. So, sometimes you say things right away, which I may have said something too soon, but I'll make an evaluation and a discussion on maybe changing for the next team we play."

John Salmons has clearly been one of the players Smart has been waiting on. Salmons has struggled finding his shot, and maybe his role on this team.

"It's up to me, I mean I'm the one out there shooting, so it's on me, not anybody else," Salmons said. "I've just got to figure it out."

Salmons said that he's put in the position of being a three-point shooter when he's more comfortable as a player who flourishes in isolations. Smart is encouraging more ball movement, yet the Kings tend to rely more on one-on-play in pressure situations. Smart referred to that one-on-one play as the team's "bad habits."

"We pound the ball too much," said Smart on Monday. "I've got the simplest offense you can run. You just move it to a spot and move it to the next spot. But for whatever reason we're trying to make the play ourselves with the defense set, looking at the basketball."

Sacramento, loser of five of six, is scoring 90.1 points per game - 88.3 in seven games since Smart replaced the fired Paul Westphal - and shooting a league-worst 39.6 percent.

The next team they play will be Wednesday when they host the Indiana Pacers (9-3), who are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Wednesday's game will be the only home game before the Kings head back out on the road for a three-game road trip, beginning Friday night in San Antonio.

In the 17 games played in January, the Kings will play 12 of them away from Sacramento.

Smart is 2-5 as Kings head coach since replacing Westphal on Jan. 5.


By Sean Cunningham,
Twitter: @News10Sean




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