For such a young team, the Kings have a tendency to begin games looking sluggish and out of sync.
Coach Michael Malone finds himself calling timeouts early to shake the Kings out of their early funks more than hed like, but its necessary.
I still have not figured that out, and to be honest, I dont think I ever will, Malone said. (With) the personality of our team, you look at it, Im taking timeouts at the 10-minute mark.
On Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena, Malone watched 2 minutes, 20 seconds expire before calling a timeout to fix a disjointed offense and blown defensive assignments.
So in the final seconds, the Kings had no timeouts to draw up a play in their 93-91 loss to the Mavericks.
The game ended with a contested fadeaway jumper from DeMarcus Cousins instead of the ball ending up with Rudy Gay for a final shot.
Ray McCallum tried to get the ball to Gay, but the Mavericks, who missed three free throws in the final 18.3 seconds to keep the Kings in the game, swarmed the rookie guard, who had to give the ball to Cousins.
Cousins slammed his headband in disgust after his 16-foot shot over Dirk Nowitzki fell short of the rim.
Im fairly quick with my timeouts, and I felt awful that we didnt have one at the end, Malone said. When I take them throughout the game, I feel that they are necessary to stop runs or to clean up any missed assignments, but at the end, we tried to get the ball into Rudys hands to let him make a play.
Gay said it was his responsibility to get the ball in that situation.
I just have to go to the ball, Gay said. I cant expect Ray to be in that situation the next time. I have to just go get it.
That the Kings have to use timeouts early is a function of youth, Gay said.
Its good experience for the young guys, Gay said. Phil Jackson never called timeouts. (San Antonio coach Gregg) Popovich never calls timeouts because they have vets that know where to be and know what happens at certain points. So (Malones) basically teaching, so the older we get, the better we get together, the more he wont have to do that. I dont put all the blame on him because were a young team and he has to teach.
Not having a timeout wasnt Malones biggest gripe.
While happy the Kings held Dallas to 40.4 percent shooting, the Kings gave up too many three-pointers (13 of 31, 41.9 percent), points off turnovers (21) and second-chance points (17).
They are the teaching points Malone sometimes has to remind his team about during timeouts.
The guys joke around a lot. They say, Coach, you know they are going to score on us, but its the way they score sometimes and its the lack of focus and energy and discipline, Malone said. Thats why I call a timeout or to stop a run, but it would have been great to have one at the end to call a timeout to get a much better shot off than we were able to get.
Gay led the Kings (27-50) with 32 points and matched his career high with eight assists. Cousins had 28 points and 10 rebounds. McCallum had a game-high nine assists.
Monta Ellis led the Mavicericks (47-31) with 23 points. Vince Carter scored 17 points coming off the bench. Nowitzki had 15 points.
DeJuan Blair had nine rebounds coming off the bench, including six of Dallas 16 offensive boards. The Kings had six total offensive rebounds.