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  • RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press

    Miami's LeBron James hangs from the rim after a reverse dunk over Kings guard Isaiah Thomas in the first quarter.

  • RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press

    Miami forward Chris Bosh blocks a shot by the Kings' Jason Thompson in the opening quarter at Sleep Train Arena.

  • RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press

    Miami guard Mario Chalmers drives against the Kings' Isaiah Thomas in the first quarter. Chalmers connected on 10 of 13 three-point tries to break the record of nine threes at Sleep Train Arena.

Kings' slide continues with loss to Heat

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

It was all good until a week ago.

The Kings' offense featured ball movement, the defensive energy was high, and the team had won six of its last nine games.

But in seven days, the Kings have gone from feeling good to being deflated with four consecutive losses. The latest was Saturday night, when the Miami Heat took out the frustration of a two-game losing streak by dismantling the Kings 128-99 at Sleep Train Arena.

"From the first two minutes to the last two minutes, we didn't have a chance," said guard Tyreke Evans. "We didn't play hard, we weren't ready to play, and we just got our (butts) kicked."

How did the Kings get to this point?

First was a 20-point loss at Brooklyn on Jan. 5 that ended the Kings' two-game winning streak. Then there was a 32-point drubbing by the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday to begin Sacramento's five-game homestand.

That was followed by blowing a 17-point lead in the third quarter and losing in overtime to Dallas on Thursday.

Mix in last week's latest relocation rumors, and there hasn't been much good news lately. Isaiah Thomas, who scored a career-high 34 points in the loss, said the relocation talk isn't a factor in the recent slide.

"As a player, once you get on the court, you really don't think about that type of thing," Thomas said. "I don't think it's a distraction, and we're definitely not going to use that as an excuse."

What has changed in the last week is the rotation. Kings coach Keith Smart has been integrating Evans and Marcus Thornton back into the lineup.

"We're not clicking because our chemistry's not right; it's been shifted," Smart said. "We're incorporating guys back into the fold. … You're trying to get guys back into it again that aren't 100 percent yet, and you're trying to get things moved around."

The Kings had been playing well with DeMarcus Cousins as the focus of the offense. Ball movement was good, and Cousins was playing like a franchise center. He is averaging 19.5 points, nine rebounds and three assists during the losing streak, but he has had less impact lately.

Cousins said the Kings have lost their way and need to "stick to how we play as a team" to end the losing streak.

"It shouldn't matter what team (we're playing)," Cousins said. "We have an identity of our team like every other team. Our problem is we switch up our identity, and we can't play that way."

Asked why the Kings lose their identity, Cousins declined to elaborate.

Smart said he was embarrassed for Kings fans who watched the team fall behind 14-2 to start the game and trail by as many as 38 points.

Sacramento (13-24) never led Saturday, the third time that has happened this season. The Kings also allowed a season-high 34 points off their 17 turnovers.

Point guard Mario Chalmers led Miami with a career-high 34 points. He made 10 three pointers to break the arena record of nine held by Sacramento's Mike Bibby (March 25, 2007 vs. Phoenix) and Boston's Antoine Walker (Jan. 1, 2001).

Thomas made a career-high six three pointers, and Kings rookie Thomas Robinson had his first career double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson has 10 or more rebounds in three consecutive games.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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