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  • Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

    Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas, center, is defended by Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, left, and forward Trevor Ariza during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Washington.

  • Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

    Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins grabs Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat as during a scramble for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards defeated the Kings 93-84.

  • Mitchell Layton / McClatchy-Tribune

    Kings forward Quincy Acy slams home a highlight-reel dunk as Washington’s Marcin Gortat is powerless to stop it.

  • Mitchell Layton / McClatchy-Tribune

    Nene of Washington fires a jump-hook while giving Kings forward Jason Thompson a face full of his forearm.

Kings can’t overcome offensive woes

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 - 10:52 am

If Kings coach Michael Malone wanted to be an optimist, he’d only watch the second half of Sunday’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Because the final 24 minutes were about what he wants to see from the Kings – inspired defense and hustle.

But there’s no getting around the first 24 minutes that set the tone for what became a 93-84 loss at Verizon Center.

The Kings gave up 57 first-half points, but many of their problems were on the offensive end all night.

The Kings have lost two in a row and nine of 11 and fell to 17-34 – the worst record in the Western Conference.

While the defense seemed to work itself out after halftime, the Kings never found themselves on offense.

They shot 35.4 percent, their second game in a row shooting below 40 percent. Subtract Isaiah Thomas, who went 11 for 24, and the Kings shot 31 percent (18 for 58).

Sacramento also had 18 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Wizards.

“That was not the offensive performance we were hoping for,” Malone said. “... We talked about this going in, (Washington) is a team that does a great job of turning their opponents over and scoring. We did a poor job with that.”

It was also the first time the Kings failed to score 90 or more points in consecutive games since failing to reach 90 in three straight games last season (Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2013).

“I think we are kinda shying away from team basketball and are playing one-on-one,” center DeMarcus Cousins said. “We are not running all our sets well, and with that being said, it’s affecting our offense a lot. Once we get back to playing team basketball, sharing the ball and getting the best shot, I think that we can get back to being a team that’s up to .500.”

It was to be expected Rudy Gay would struggle, considering two days earlier he was so sick he could barely eat. Cousins, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but his shooting was not up to par with his play this season.

Thomas had 30 points and eight assists, but Cousins was 3 for 16 from the field and Gay was just 2 for 11.

The Wizards used the combination of Nene and Marcin Gortat to play physically against Cousins.

“They did a good job defending (Cousins),” Malone said.

Said Cousins: “I think they had a good strategy. Some credit to them, some credit to others. You have bad nights sometimes. On to the next.”

Thomas said he’s playing through a sprained left wrist, but the turnovers have to subside for the Kings to have a chance to win games. Thomas, Cousins and Gay each had four turnovers.

“You’ve just got to be strong with the ball,” Thomas said. “Make the right decision. A lot of times, we were just loose with the ball, telegraphing passes. We’ve just got to eliminate those. If we do, we’ll be in a lot more games. We won’t get down by 17, 18 points.”

The Kings trailed by 17 in the third quarter but rallied to cut the deficit to 77-73 with 8:23 to play. The Wizards (25-25) responded with an 11-4 run to put the game out of reach.

That the Kings were able to get back in the game didn’t set well with one Wizard.

“Happy with the win but won’t accept the way we played,” forward Martell Webster said. “I don’t think we played a great game. That’s a team, we should’ve won by 30 points. No offense, but they’re just going through a lot of stuff over there. The team is not connected. To let them get back into the game, you can’t allow that to happen.”

Nene led the Wizards with 18 points. Gortat had 17 and Bradley Beal had 16.


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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