Kings hope to rebound from drubbing

Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 - 10:58 am

Maybe Kings coach Keith Smart is right: Saturday's debacle was just another loss in a long NBA season.

But the New York Knicks' 120-81 thrashing of the Kings, in which they trailed by 50 points, did not have that feel.

"It was terrible," guard Tyreke Evans said. "It was embarrassing. … I can't explain it. It's the worst game ever played in the NBA."

The Kings can regain some self-respect tonight at Utah in the finale of their six-game trip.

Sacramento has been outscored by an average of 18.4 points and has shot 41.1 percent on the 1-4 trip.

The loss to the Knicks was the Kings' worst of the season, but getting routed isn't unusual for Sacramento.

The Kings have lost by 20 or more points eight times and been outscored by 7.3 points per game overall, the second-worst differential in the league. Charlotte is at minus-8.5.

"You don't ever want to be blown out in a basketball game," Smart said. "And I'm upset that we do drop our heads and allow easy shots at the end for things like that to happen. But we also understand this group can regroup."

The Kings began the season focused on defense, but they have struggled at that end of the court recently.

Opponents have shot 51.4 percent on the trip, and Sacramento has looked indifferent at times, not even contesting some shots.

"We're kind of lax on coverages, and they make us pay for them," Evans said. "We're not switching when we need to, and they're hitting us in the head with threes."

Getting out of their rut won't be easy, especially on the road, where the Kings are 5-20.

"We've got to find a way to put it together because it ain't working, whatever it is," Evans said.

He added that Smart has taken much of the blame, but the Kings "can't blame everything" on the coach, especially considering how badly they played against the Knicks.

Evans said it's up to him and DeMarcus Cousins to be leaders, with the hope that such a lopsided loss will shake things up.

Cousins, who has been suspended once by Smart this season, is back in a funk and publicly criticizing the coach.

Cousins' solution to recent woes has been to sarcastically suggest that the team "listen to coach Smart."

"It's definitely between me and Cuz (to lead the team)," Evans said. "We've got to find a way to try and make things work. We try our best to win, but we've got to find a way to get things going."

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