The Kings have had problems sharing the ball recently. Theyve also shown a tendency to share the ball with their opponents too often of late.
That was the case Wednesday night as the Kings lost their first game after the All-Star break, 101-92 to the Golden State Warriors before their 10th announced sellout crowd of the season at Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings gave up 22 points off 21 turnovers while managing only 13 assists, one above their season low.
That team has enough firepower offensively, said Kings coach Michael Malone. We dont have to give them extra possessions. We seemed hell-bent on trying to give them as many possessions as possible.
The lack of assists has become a problem for Malone, too. The Kings have gone eight consecutive games without recording at least 20 assists.
Malone is concerned about his teams inability or unwillingness to share the basketball.
And thats gotten to be for me a little alarming in the last month or so that we are no longer making plays for each other, Malone said.
Sometimes the Kings are bogged down on offense by too much dribbling. Other times the first pass leads to a shot, regardless of how much time there is on the shot clock.
When the Kings do not get into their offense quickly enough, it sometimes leaves whoever has the ball trying to drive against a set defense.
I dont think its selfishness. Weve just got to be smarter, said forward Rudy Gay. And Im saying this, including myself. There are times you think you can score, but you have to make your teammate better.
The Kings (18-36) are 9-21 when committing more than 15 turnovers.
If you dont have a shot, a pass or play immediately, get off the ball without any hesitation, Malone said. We tend to dribble it too much. Dribble, dribble, dribble and we got ourselves in trouble.
Guard Isaiah Thomas also said he didnt think the Kings were being selfish. Like Gay, Thomas said the Kings need to do a better job of understanding situations.
Weve got to understand if we havent scored two or three times down, weve got to get into (an offensive set), and that falls on me, Thomas said. As the point guard of this team, Ive got to do a better job of that. At the same time were all basketball players and weve got to understand if were not scoring, weve got to buckle down and get in a set, and like I said, that falls on me.
Malone said some of the responsibility falls on him, too. He is a defensive-minded coach, and perhaps that has been to the Kings detriment.
Ive put so much time and emphasis on defense Im sure sometimes the offense falls behind a little bit because it doesnt get the necessary time, Malone said. Well be addressing offense just as much as the defense moving forward because you cant turn the ball over like we are right now and expect to beat teams these last 28 games.
The Kings were without center and leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins, who has a strained hip flexor. He injured his hip during last Wednesdays win at New York. Sacramento fell to 0-8 without Cousins in the lineup this season.
The Warriors (32-22) were also without their starting center, Andrew Bogut, who is dealing with an adverse reaction to a cortisone injection.
Carl Landry made his first start of the season at power forward and Jason Thompson started at center in place of Cousins.
Ben McLemore also returned to the starting lineup, replacing Marcus Thornton, who was traded to Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Thomas led the Kings with 26 points and seven assists but also had a game-high seven turnovers. Gay had 16 points but shot 6 for 21 and had four turnovers. Off the bench, Travis Outlaw had 18 points, and Quincy Acy grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.
David Lee led the Warriors with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Klay Thompson scored 18 points, and All-Star Stephen Curry had 13 points and eight assists