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  • Nikki Boertman / MCT

    Kings forward Rudy Gay, left, drives as Memphis’ Tayshaun Prince gets caught in the pick set by center Aaron Gray. Gay, scored 19 points and figured in a key late play.

  • Lance Murphey / The Associated Press

    Kings guard Marcus Thornton drives past Memphis center Marc Gasol in the first half.

Malone blasts key call by official in Kings’ loss

Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 - 11:39 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 - 11:58 am

Michael Malone might have been as angry as he’s ever been at the final buzzer as the Kings’ coach.

When Mike Conley flung the ball in the air as time expired to cap a Memphis Grizzlies rally that sent the Kings from FedExForum with a 91-90 loss Friday night, Malone headed straight for referee Marc Davis.

It was the fifth win in a row for the Grizzlies, but Malone wanted to make sure Davis heard what he had to say about the final seconds.

Moments earlier, Davis had called a jump ball after Memphis forward Tayshaun Prince made contact with Rudy Gay in a last-ditch effort by Sacramento to win the game.

Gay stumbled after the contact, and the whistle blew with 1.9 seconds to play. Rather than shoot two free throws to win the game, Gay had a jump ball with Prince. Gay tipped the ball, but it was deflected by Marc Gasol and ended up in Conley’s hands.

“I thought it was an awful call,” Malone said. “I didn’t see a jump ball. It looked like to me that the official made the call and was running the other way.”

Wary of fines from the NBA, Sacramento players were mum on the call.

“No comment,” Gay said. “Everybody at home saw what happened. You can make up whatever you want to make up about that.”

Added center DeMarcus Cousins with a smile: “It was a jump ball.”

It was a frustrating end to a game the Kings controlled late before surrendering a 10-2 run over the final 4:01.

It led Malone to say the game wasn’t lost on that play.

“They shot 50 percent from the field in the second half,” Malone said. “Marc Gasol kicked our (butt), and we just have to do a better job of defending for 48 minutes.”

The Kings’ problem defending point guards was exploited repeatedly by Conley, who scored a game-high 25 points to go with six assists. Courtney Lee also took advantage of the Kings’ woeful perimeter defense, adding 17 points.

In addition, Memphis (20-19)got 16 points from Gasol.

Then the Kings (14-24) fell apart on offense in the fourth quarter. They held the ball, and players were too stationary. Sacramento shot 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) in the fourth.

“Poor execution, dribbling, not getting the ball moving from side to side, guys just pounding the rock,” Malone said. “Our spacing was awful tonight. We post somebody up, and everybody wants to stand still on the perimeter and not get to the right spots. We make ourselves very easy to defend at times.”

The Kings shot 40.7 percent, their lowest figure in the last 15 games. They shot 37.5 percent in a Dec. 17 loss at Charlotte. The 90 points were their fewest since scoring 87 in that loss.

The Kings have been held below 100 points only twice in that span, both times coming on this six-gametrip. Indiana held the Kings to 92 points in a loss Tuesday.

Memphis blocked 13 shots, a season high and the most by a Kings opponent this season.

Gay had 19 points. Isaiah Thomas had 14 points and nine assists.

Cousins had 22 points on 6-of-20 shooting and 17 rebounds to extend his streak of double doubles to 13, matching the longest streak in franchise history. LaSalle Thompson also had 13 in a row during the 1985-86 season.

Malone, however, was not in the mood to praise anyone after the way the game ended – poor execution by his team and a questionable call by Davis.

“I think DeMarcus wound up with decent numbers, but he didn’t have a great game,” Malone said. “Nobody had a great game.”


Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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