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News » Pacers-Kings Preview 2009-12-01

Pacers-Kings Preview 2009-12-01

Pacers-Kings Preview 2009-12-01The Sacramento Kings felt they had two talented options at point guard in rookie Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih, but the emergence of Sergio Rodriguez has provided additional depth.

The Kings look to complete a perfect four-game homestand Wednesday when they face the Indiana Pacers, who may switch up their lineup in hopes of avoiding a third straight loss.

Sacramento (8-8) has bounced back from a four-game losing streak Nov. 17-23 during which it gave up 108.5 points per game. The Kings have followed an 0-3 road trip by winning three in a row at home while holding each opponent under 100 points. They are coming off a 112-96 victory over New Orleans on Sunday.

While defense may be the biggest reason for Sacramento's turnaround, a balanced offense has certainly played a part. On Sunday, Rodriguez led six Kings in double figures with a career-high 24 points off the bench.

Rodriguez, averaging 3.8 points over 231 career games, has averaged 15.3 in the last four contests.

"There are only so many point guard minutes we have, but the way Sergio has played lately he's kicked the door down," coach Paul Westphal said. "It's going to be harder and harder not to play him."

Westphal has received a lot of contributions from his first two options at point guard. Evans continues to impress, ranking second among rookies with 18.8 points per game and third in assists (4.7), while Udrih is averaging 14.2 points and 3.9 assists.

Jason Thompson also stepped up Sunday, scoring 22 points to go along with 14 rebounds for the Kings, who are without 2008-09 leading scorer Kevin Martin (fractured wrist).

"We've been finding different ways pretty much every game," Westphal said. "Our team is getting to know each other and I think they have confidence in each other. Some nights it's one guy; another night it's someone else. It's really something good happening."

Westphal also has to be pleased with the effort on the other end of the court. The Kings, giving up 104.3 points per game this season, are looking to hold a fourth consecutive opponent below 100 points for the first time since Dec. 10-15, 2007.

The Pacers (6-9), meanwhile, can't be happy with their defensive play. They lost for the sixth time in seven games Monday, setting a season high in points allowed in a 126-107 defeat at Golden State.

Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy each scored 22 points to lead Indiana, which is giving up an average of 107.7 points in the last seven games after holding opponents to 97.9 in the first eight.

"We just didn't get the job done defensively and defend at a very high level," coach Jim O'Brien said. "It's practice and video, and a lot of time it's up to the team to sometimes bring it to another level. We haven't been able to do that on a consistent enough basis."

Jeff Foster made his second start of the season while the slumping Roy Hibbert came off the bench. O'Brien said he is considering other lineup changes with Brandon Rush being the player most likely to see a change in his status. Rush, who has started all 15 games, has scored four points in the last two games.

The Pacers won both games against the Kings last season and have won their last two in Sacramento.

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Added: December 1, 2009


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