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  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com DeMarcus Cousins reacts to a call against the Kings in the second half of their 112-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Sacramento's Thomas Robinson (0) and Marcus Thornton walk off the court after the Hawks took control of the game Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

Discord, boos rattle Kings in fourth straight loss

Published: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 - 1:38 pm

The Kings left the court to boos from their fans. After the game, the players kept the locker room closed longer than the usual 10-minute cooling-off period to hash out what has gone wrong after a preseason that was all about harmony on and off the court.

The boos were for a dismal showing during a 112-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

The chat after the game was to try to sort out why the Kings have lost four consecutive games, all by double digits.

"I would boo this team as well," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "Boo me as well. But when the fans pay their hard-earned money to come to a game, they want to see a team that plays hard and plays with passion … and that didn't happen for the entire game."

The Kings are 2-7 and already sounding and looking like the team that has struggled in recent seasons. Smart is talking about lineup changes after saying earlier in the evening he wasn't at that point yet.

There was talk of too much one-on-one play and bickering. These were some of the issues Smart hoped to change by moving training camp to Colorado Springs, Colo., last month and having team-building exercises.

It all seemed to be working through the preseason. Now that adversity has hit the team, the old habits are showing up again.

"Once we hang our heads and point fingers, that's where we go bad at," said guard Tyreke Evans. "Other teams just go out and play. They don't argue; they don't fight each other."

Defense was emphasized in Colorado and early in the season. That has fallen to the wayside lately as the Hawks (4-4) shot 55.3 percent, a season high for an opponent.

No opponent had shot above 50 percent against the Kings this season.

The tone was set early by Jeff Teague, who made 6 of 7 shots in the first quarter for 13 of his 15 points.

Then Kyle Korver (22 points), Al Horford (20 points) and Lou Williams (21 points off the bench) took turns going through the Kings' defense.

It was enough to make the players decide to hash out some of their frustrations.

"We just put it all on the table," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "Talked about what we felt like we needed to do..."

So what needs to be done?

"I'm not really going to get into all that," Cousins said. "I've got to play better. I didn't have a good game. I've got to do a lot better."

Cousins scored nine points of 4-of-15 shooting. He also had 16 rebounds and seven assists in his first game back from a two-game suspension.

After falling behind by 14, the Kings made 17 of 21 from the field for 36 second-quarter points. The bench scored 32 of the points in the quarter.

But for the second consecutive game, the momentum provided by reserves before halftime was gone by the end of the third quarter.

No wonder there was a lot to talk about.

"We thought it was only right to make each other accountable and say what was on our minds because at the end of the day, when we put our hands together, we say 'family' and we mean it," said Jason Thompson.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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