Familiar faces returned to Sacramento Kings practice, while others went M.I.A.
Omri Casspi, who’s missed 13 of the Kings’ last 18 games with a left knee bone contusion, participated in his first full session today. Barring no setbacks tomorrow, the forward will be available for Friday’s contest versus the Miami Heat.
Eric Moreland, who’s out for the season with a shoulder labral tear, also made an appearance at the practice facility. The rookie took set shots with his right hand, as his left arm hung in a sling.
Rudy Gay and Carl Landry missed practice. Both were injured in Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks and underwent MRI’s. Their status for Friday is doubtful and questionable respectively. The Kings are still awaiting results from Landry’s MRI, which examined his right wrist.
Head coach Tyrone Corbin spoke to the media today, as well as Omri Casspi and Derrick Williams.
Coaches Notes and Quotes
- Tyrone Corbin on Gay’s left knee lateral joint capsule sprain: “He had an MRI the night after the game, and there’s no damage to it. He does have a strain in it. He’s day to day. He didn’t go through practice today. So tomorrow’s not looking great, but we’ll see how he’s feeling. I think he’ll be out tomorrow, we’ll look into that.”
- Corbin on the Kings’ poor 3-point shooting on Tuesday: “We’re taking the right shots, we’re missing good ones. We had good looks, and they just didn’t go in the hole for us that night (against the Mavericks). So we got to continue to take the right shots. Actually, it kind of fed in to them able to double-team us on the post, because we didn’t make the shots and they were able to continue to do it. So making a couple of those 3-point shots may have pulled them back a little bit, but we didn’t in the game and it worked out for them.”
- Corbin on Gay’s potential absence for Friday’s game: “With Rudy being a question mark for us, it may change it more for us that way because Rudy not being in the lineup, how much attention they will now pay to DeMarcus on the post, we have to look at some options coming out of that. We did some things in practice today making sure we understand how to space the floor with them coming after him. We have to make sure some other guys are ready to step up for us. Rudy is a huge part, not only scoring for us at 20 points a night, but the assists that he’s been able to get, generating for his teammates on the weak side and getting the ball out, putting the ball in his hands and trying to make plays for everybody else. So we got to make sure we’re taking up that slack.”
- Corbin on Hassan Whiteside: “I’ll tell you what, he’s made tremendous strides, man. Just looking at the Kings from a year or so ago, and being in the D-League and wherever else he’s been, his body looks a lot better, he seems to have a lot of confidence growing in his game now and he’s been effective for them. So we got to make sure we don’t allow him to be a huge effect on the game for us tomorrow night.”
- Corbin on the Miami Heat’s play style:”Well they’re not a high-tempo team anyway, especially with the way they changed their roster from last year. They do play a slow paced game. but being able to go into Bosh in the post and play off him in the post, that slows you down some…For us, we want to play at a certain pace. We want to make sure we’re smart. We have a guy down low that we want to try and get the ball down low to also. We want to run the ball up the floor and try to get opportunities there. We want to make sure we play our halfcourt sets.”
Players Notes and Quotes
- Omri Casspi on his absence: “Too long. It (the left knee) feels better though. It’s been two weeks, two long weeks, and today was the first practice and it feels good.”
- Casspi on a wild week of big leads lost: “Just everything, pretty much. Running, jumping, going up the stairs, going down the stairs, just laying down on the couch, it hurts. There was inflammation beneath the bone, and we can’t really get to it, but I took some anti-inflammatory pills for almost 10 days and slowly, slowly, every day that (went) by it got better and better. So today’s the best I’ve felt. I was happy to go through practice, and hopefully there’s no setbacks”
- Casspi on his approach returning from injury: “I always play the same way. Whether I’m coming off the bench, or whatever coach wants me to do, I play the same way. Be aggressive, cut, play hard defense, run the floor, just play basketball is what I do.”
- Casspi on his observations from the bench: “We need to get our energy back up. Compete. Be a little bit more focused defensively. All the stuff that coach wants us to do. Because we’ve been pushing the pace a little bit more, but at the same time we can’t forget our defensive sets and our defensive principles. Just get our energy back up. With our fans and everything that’s going on, we should win basketball games. We have a good opportunity to compete, and compete for the playoffs like we said all year, so hopefully we get on the right track.”
- Derrick Williams on the opportunity with Gay out: “With Rudy being out, it gives other people an opportunity. Myself, I’m not sure if Casspi is going to be back yet for tomorrow, but he practiced today. I think it will be a big opportunity for both of us to get out there and help this team.”
- Williams on out-running the Heat: “They have a lot of vets on their team. With the young guys that we have on our team, young legs, I think that’s going to be our best option. To get out in transition, run, pretty much just get up and down. I think we’ve been doing that pretty well the last few games, so we just got to close our games out.”
- Williams on the Kings cusping success: “We have four or five games that we look back on every single day that we know we should have won. We’re just a few stops away, a few mistakes away, it seems like every single game. But we’re learning each and every day. We’re getting better, and Cousins is playing amazing right now, Rudy as well. So we’re feeding off of those guys. As long as we make shots, I think we’ll be alright.
- Williams on if teams can practice closing out games: “It can be. We have a lot of situations that we do at the end of practice. Two-minute games, five-on-five games, and really honing down on getting stops and executing, that’s the main thing. We got to execute in this league, and if you look at the good teams in this league, the Thunder, the Spurs, the Grizzlies, they all execute, Dallas, they execute in the last three, four minutes. I think we were up like 10 points last game, three minutes or so, and they came back and they beat us. So the good teams in this league, they execute when it matters.”
The Kings will host a shoot around tomorrow morning before playing the Miami Heat at Sleep Train Arena at 7 p.m.