The Sacramento Kings won another game on Tuesday, edging the Phoenix Suns at the ol' Wobbly Chi. That makes four in a row (!) and five of six (!). Given that this is a team that lost 50 games before it won 17, this is big news and a great accomplishment.
But how has Sacramento managed to reverse course? Five factors.
Turnover control. Turnovers have been an issue for Sacramento much of the season. But in the five recent wins, the Kings have had low turnover numbers three times, an average amount once (Suns) and too many once (Sixers). In the five wins, the Kings averaged 15.4 turnovers per game (accounting for overtime). On the season, they have averaged 16.2. (By the way, the Kings committed 22 turnovers in that blowout loss at Chicago.)
Three-point shooting. The Kings have been an awful team from long-range all year. But things have picked up lately. In the five wins, Sacramento shot 39 of 84, or a sterling 46 percent. Donte Greene has been a big part of the uptick, going 12 of 21 (57 percent). Marcus Thornton has hit 14 of 29, 48 percent.
Marcus Thornton. The newest Kings has continued his scoring barrage, averaging 24.2 in the five wins. (He happened to put up 25 in the Bulls' loss, too.) He's shot 41 of 88 from the floor (.466), and has an effective field goal percentage of .545.
DeMarcus Cousins. On the current four-game winning streak, Cousins has averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, 5.5 assists and -- this is important -- three turnovers. He still isn't the most efficient player on the planet, but he's played well in the last four games.
Pride. Say what you will about Paul Westphal -- and I've said plenty -- but this team rarely quits. As we learned in the final months of the abysmal 2008-09 season, that's not exactly a given. Kudos to this bunch for sticking with it and committing to giving a good effort.