SACRAMENTO - SuperSonics Coach K.C. Jones is having a good time during the NBA's exhibition season.
He has used six starting lineups in seven games though he knows full well which five guys will be on the floor come the regular-season opener.
He's tinkering with different devices on offense and defense, like the fullcourt press.
That nasty gimmick helped smother the Sacramento Kings 98-89 last night at Arco Arena.
``We've been using the press and throwing a lot of people out there,'' Jones said. ``I don't know if it will be on the menu for the regular season, but it's good to look at it.''
Rest assured it will be on the menu when the Sonics meet the Kings. The box score says the Sonics committed 24 turnovers to the Kings' 22, but that's an incomplete story. The Sonics' mistakes generally came as the result of misplaced energy and creativity. The Kings' turnovers came as they tried to get into their basic halfcourt offense.
``Our front-line men didn't get a chance to get into the game because of pressure on the guard line,'' Kings Coach Dick Motta said. ``I'm really concerned for the first time. We didn't handle the ball well, and we had two veteran guards out there.''
Four SuperSonics had two steals each. By frequently forcing the Kings to start their offense with 10 seconds on the shot clock, the Sonics outshot Sacramento 54 percent to 42.
Unrelenting pressure helped the Sonics hold the Kings without a field goal for nearly 8 1/2 minutes of the second quarter. They were up a dozen by halftime and were never seriously challenged, as it turned into one of those mundane but necessary preseason affairs worthy of watching only because of occasional Shawn Kemp dunks.
The Kings closed to 64-55 with 2 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter, but Dana Barros, one of five Sonics in double figures with 14 points, kept them at bay with two layups and a jumper.
The Sonics opened the fourth quarter in a fullcourt press they had kept under wraps since the first half and quickly put the Kings out of their misery by taking a 17-point lead.
Xavier McDaniel led the Sonics - who again played without injured guards Dale Ellis and Nate McMillan - with 17 points.
The Kings lost forwards Wayman Tisdale and Lionel Simmons to first-half ankle injuries. Antoine Carr scored 29 to lead the Kings and provide Kemp with a trial by fire.
Kemp, the young forward/center pegged a future superstar by many NBA-watchers, had 14 points and 11 rebounds in only 22 minutes.
``I enjoyed banging around with Antoine,'' Kemp said. ``He's a warrior. I like playing physical ball. It gets me going.''
NO VIOLENCE, PLEASE
-- Portland's Mark Bryant will sit out the season opener for punching Marty Conlon, Sacramento rookie and former Providence star. You'd think Bryant would have learned his lesson. The last time he punched someone, it was Joe Kleine, in April 1989. That left Bryant with a broken thumb.
The league is serious about cutting down on violent play. The Bryant penalty is steep, and the message in tossing Rick Mahorn out of an exhibition game under the new flagrant foul rule was clear.