Thomas and his teammates dish on the point guard’s near-record-setting outing. Plus, Cousins and Thompson provide keys to slowing down Denver.
Following Saturday’s practice, DeMarcus Cousins paid tribute to teammate Isaiah Thomas, squeezing his 6-foot-11 frame into No. 22’s jersey.
“I went out and bought his jersey because of the performance (against Oklahoma City),” said Cousins.
“I love the way he plays every night – he doesn’t fear anybody, he goes at anybody and that’s how he should be as a player.”
The 5-foot-9 point guard scored 23 points in the fourth quarter – two shy of Mitch Richmond’s Sacramento-era record for points in a period – hitting nine of 11 from the field and igniting a furious comeback against the Thunder.
“It was incredible,” said Tyreke Evans. “At shootaround, he kept saying he feels good and if he gets in, he’s going to have a big game.”
Thomas reveals he hadn’t experienced entering such an unstoppable zone since his college days.
“It feels like you just can’t miss,” he said smiling. “The big thing with me, I score in bunches, so if I make a couple, I feel like I can keep it going.”
Mild-mannered and quiet off the court, the Washington product says he transforms into a different person when he steps onto the hardwood.
“I feel like the basketball court is just a different life for me – I talk a little more, I smile a little more and I’m a little louder,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but ever since I started playing basketball, I just change when I’m on the court. I try to have the most fun I possibly can and bring the most out of everybody.”
Kings Head Coach Keith Smart praised Thomas’ stringent work ethic, complimenting the point guard for serving as an offensive catalyst and proving a timely spark with his stellar outside touch.
“He came in here and just worked, worked, worked,” said Smart of his original impression of No. 22. “He said, ‘I’m always going to be ready, Coach’ and I believe it. Last night was a great example of him coming in and being ready to play, making the shots that he’s worked on every single day in practices and pre-practices. He (came) in the game and organized the basketball team.”
The Kings leader adds Thomas’ future role and playing time will continue to be dictated by matchups and game situations.
“I put at the end of the board, one of the goals was to win your minutes,” said Smart. “You get out on the floor and you play well, not just offensively but overall.”
Thomas – who ranks third on the team in points per 36 minutes (18.2) and three-pointers (20) – is prepared to contribute whenever he gets the call.
“My mindset every time I come in is (to) make a difference,” he said. “My job is to bring energy, make an impact on offense and defense, and I tried to do that last night.”
– As Sacramento prepares to host Denver Sunday afternoon, No. 22 shared a scouting report on the Nuggets’ talented point guard duo, based on his previous experiences and film study.
“Ty Lawson is a hard (player) to guard because I think he’s the fastest in the League from end to end – he’s very fast and dangerous,” said Thomas. “Then, you have Andre Miller, who can’t really move too fast, but he’s very strong.”
– Jason Thompson, who anticipates a matchup up with Kenneth Faried, provided keys to slowing down Denver’s energetic forward.
“(I have to) put a body on him, know that he doesn’t want contact and he wants space,” he said. “I’m going to try to avoid that by staying out of foul trouble.
“They’re a fastbreak team – you obviously can’t turn the ball over, can’t take quick shots because they’re going to run it down your throat, so you have to take care of the ball, secure it and play defense.”
Cousins affirms he’s dedicated to thwarting the Nuggets’ rapid pace.
“I’m not too worried about their bigs – just running and not letting them outwork us (are) the biggest things,” said the Kings center.
“(We have to focus on) just playing team basketball, sharing the ball, running our offense and not (playing) as much one-on-one – when we’re doing that, we’re a (great) team.”
Catch Evans and the Kings take on Andre Iguodala and the Nuggets on Sunday at 3 p.m. To get tix, Click Here.