After the emotional high of beating the team with the best record in the Western Conference, the Kings were reminded Saturday night that still have work to do to become a consistent team.
The Kings trailed the entire game in losing to the Phoenix Suns 98-84 at Power Balance Pavilion.
The Kings could not overcome the poor shooting that has hindered them all season. They shot 35.1 percent Saturday.
Guard Tyreke Evans attempted only nine shots, making one, and the Kings had 11 shots blocked, a season high for the Suns.
"I'm never going to be happy with us shooting the way we shoot the basketball," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Because we're a team that has size and guys that can play on the inside and guys who can break someone down and draw and kick. We've just got to make shots."
The Kings have been at the bottom of the NBA in shooting all season, entering Saturday's game at 40.6 percent.
Sacramento has managed to shoot 50 percent or better only once this season, losing that game to Orlando on Jan. 8.
Smart said the Suns used a solid defensive scheme to keep the Kings out of the paint and force them to take jump shots.
And when the Kings were able to get into the paint, they shot only 17 of 42.
"When we go back through the film, I guarantee you there are probably over 15 shots in the paint we didn't convert," Smart said. "When you can't convert easy buckets, now you're going to take yourself out further on the floor and we're not a great perimeter-shooting team right now. We'll get streaky on nights when we get hot, but that's not who we really are right now."
The Kings will struggle most nights when Evans has a bad game. He scored only four points to go with five assists and a team-high four turnovers.
"I felt like I was doing too much," Evans said. "I felt like it wasn't my night, so I was trying to pass the ball. Coach said he wants me to be more of a vision guy."
Smart said the Suns' use of veteran forward Grant Hill on Evans contributed to the guard's off-night. In addition, the Suns sagged off Evans as they were willing to let him try to beat them with his perimeter shooting.
Evans said he needs to still be aggressive on offense while also looking to set up his teammates. And, in retrospect, Evans said he believes he could have done more to make Hill work on defense.
"I got good looks, and at first, I was just missing," Evans said. "I went at him a couple of times, so I wasn't putting on (enough) pressure. I think if I would have put the pressure on him more, I would have had more points."
The Kings (10-17) were led by center DeMarcus Cousins with 26 points and nine rebounds. Marcus Thornton added 21 points for the Kings.
The Suns (12-15) were led by guard Jared Dudley with 20 points and 10 rebounds. All-Star point guard Steve Nash had 15 assists even though he missed the second quarter while getting four stitches in his lip after a collision with Kings guard Isaiah Thomas.
Nash's 15 assists were the most by a Kings opponent this season. Minnesota's Ricky Rubio had 14 assists Tuesday in Minneapolis.