Kings' late rally falls short against Hawks

11/06/2013 12:00 AM

11/06/2013 7:47 AM

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. took his courtside seat after halftime.

By then it appeared he'd missed the best the Kings had to offer Tuesday night.

But Mayweather was able to watch a furious Kings comeback from 19 points down that ended with a 105-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Sleep Train Arena.

After winning the season opener, the Kings have lost three in a row.

The Kings led by 12 in the first half, only to fall behind in the second half amid another poor defensive showing.

But they cut the deficit to 96-95 with 2:45 to play behind an active defensive unit of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. That lineup played the final 5:33, a stretch that began with the Kings trailing 93-82.

Thomas missed a three-pointer that would have tied the score 103-103 with 3.9 seconds to play.

The rally was thrilling, with Thomas scoring 18 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. But that didn't erase some of the same problems arising during this skid.

The Kings' body language when things go bad leaves much to be desired. Their defense is inconsistent, and the offense continues to have trouble finding a rhythm.

And once again, the Kings trailed big and could not make it all the way back.

"We can't keep doing this to ourselves like we're some great team," Thomas said.

The Kings started well and led by 12 early in the second quarter before the Hawks outscored them 57-33 in the second and third quarters.

During those periods, the Kings had all the trademarks of a bad team. They looked angrily at each other, yelled at officials and played passive defense.

Thomas said the reason for the difficulty maintaining a consistent effort is simple.

"We're not playing for each other," he said. "A guy might get a turnover, a guy might miss a shot, and we're like, 'Oh my God.' "

Thomas said Salmons urged the Kings to just play and not worry about mistakes.

"That's just a mindset. That's something you can control," Salmons said. "If you look yourself in the mirror, you know you're not doing everything 100 percent, so you should have patience for your teammate. You should have respect for your teammate, to encourage them when things are not going well. That's something you can change overnight."

The Kings were dominated in the frontcourt by center Al Horford (27 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks, three steals) and forward Paul Millsap (25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals).

"They didn't feel us, and they scored way too easy," Kings coach Michael Malone said.

This also was the second game in which Kings center DeMarcus Cousins didn't have the impact he had in the first two games.

After posting two double doubles, Cousins has had two games with single digits in rebounds against Horford, a former All-Star, and Golden State's Andrew Bogut, one of the league's better defensive centers.

Cousins had 11 points, six rebounds and five fouls.

"Give credit to Al Horford," Malone said. "He did a great job defending DeMarcus . I have to do a better job of getting him more looks, maybe putting him in different positions on the floor."

Cousins was also frustrated with being hit below the waistline by guard Dennis Schroeder without a foul being called by the officials.

"I took a cheap shot to my lower area, and they blew it off," Cousins said. "I guess because it was me."

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