The Kings believed they should be able to compete with the Charlotte Bobcats.
In the end, they were no match for the Bobcats.
Charlotte, which went into Saturday nights game with a season-worst five-game losing streak and one of the most offensively challenged teams in the NBA, used the Kings to feel good about themselves and end their losing streak with a 113-103 victory at Sleep Train Arena.
It was the second defeat in a row for the Kings, who dropped the season series with the Bobcats 2-0.
The Bobcats entered the game averaging 92.6 points, 28th out of 30 teams. But the Bobcats were well ahead of that pace at halftime, leading 65-52.
When we allow teams to get off to starts like that where they dont feel us and they score at will, by the end of the game its too late, Kings coach Michael Malone said.
The baskets a Hula-Hoop. Kemba Walker got whatever he wanted. Al Jefferson got whatever he wanted, he said.
The Bobcats entered the game as the leagues worst- shooting team at 42 percent but shot a season-high 54.2 percent against the Kings. Charlotte also matched its season high with 45 field goals.
Walker, who scored 20 points in his previous two games on 6-of-20 shooting, scored 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting against Sacramentos defense. Jefferson scored a season-high 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting.
Its just a broken record, Malone said. I cant defend for our guys, and at some point we have to be embarrassed being ranked 29th in almost every defensive category. Its got to bother guys and right now, and right I dont know how much it does.
The Kings are on a five-game homestand, including four teams with losing records.
Two teams, Philadelphia and Charlotte (15-20), have knocked off the Kings. The team with a winning record on the homestand, Portland, is in town Tuesday.
Its easier said than done, forward Jason Thompson said. We just cant talk about it; we have to be about it. Weve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and know we cant play to the level of our competition, no disrespect to them. But the games where we play San Antonio and Miami, our defense is up. ... When we play the lower-echelon teams, weve got to have that same kind of intensity.
Considering the Kings have the second-worst record in the Western Conference, they have to remembrer they are a lower-echelon team, too.
The reality is we think that we can overlook certain teams, Malone said. But when youre 10-22, you cant overlook anybody. Thats just the nature of it. So we have to make sure we have to have a great sense of urgency every game we play, and thats got to be the case starting Tuesday.
That urgency was lacking in the first half, when the Bobcats shot 64.3 percent.
We let them get comfortabable, forward Rudy Gay said. Kemba just doing whatever he wants with the basketball. Defensively, we have to put up a better stand.
Why the Kings come out so slow defensively is a mystery to Gay. Hes been with the Kings for 12 games, but its been a problem all season.
I dont know what it is, Gay said. Maybe we have to do pushups or extra stretching, but we have to come out from the jump (ready). Were not that team that can just turn it on whenever we want to. As soon as we realize that, well be a lot better.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and eight assists. Gay had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson season highs with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Gay said fixing the Kings will require them to avoid the path of least resistance.
The easiest thing to do is lose, Gay said. The toughest thing to do in this league is to win. Weve got to put in the effort, put in the time and do whatever we have to do to get this going.