George Karl is generally pleased with the Kings’ effort and outcomes on the road lately, punctuated by their first victory in Oklahoma City. That was followed by a gut-wrenching double-overtime loss at the buzzer in Dallas.
It’s the home defeats that has left the Kings’ coach gnashing his teeth.
“We haven’t laid many eggs on the road,” Karl said before Thursday’s home game against the Lakers. “We’ve laid more eggs here. I don’t like that because Sacramento has a fan base that deserves better. Their loyalty is unprecedented in the league. I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to motivate (the team) in the right way (at home).”
We haven’t laid many eggs on the road. We’ve laid more eggs here. I don’t like that because Sacramento has a fan base that deserves better. Their loyalty is unprecedented in the league. I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to motivate (the team) in the right way (at home).
George Karl, Kings coach
The Kings entered Thursday 9-9 at Sleep Train Arena and 5-12 on the road. The crushing home effort was a 110-105 loss to a 2-31 76ers team on Dec. 30. Karl and company expected Dallas to be the most uplifting road victory, considering the Kings played short-handed.
“That loss really hurt,” Karl said. “We played so hard, so well. It hurt a lot. Maybe the hardest loss (I’ve had coaching) here.”
Kings-Lakers, 2002 forever – You can’t talk Kobe Bryant and Kings without reflecting back to the epic seven-game Western Conference finals in 2002. The Lakers won Games 1 and 7 at then-Arco Arena, and the losses still resonate.
This includes Lakers coach Byron Scott. He coached the Nets in 2002, his team swept by Los Angeles for the championship.
“I remember how mouthy the (Western Conference) series was,” Scott said earlier this week. “I remember it was a very, very intense rivalry. It was about as close as anything I had seen to the (1980s) Lakers-Celtics rivalry because those teams didn’t like each other.”
More Scott – Scott said he grew to appreciate Arco/Sleep Train Arena much more as a coach than he did as a player for the Lakers in the 1980s. He got his coaching start on Rick Adelman’s Kings bench from 1998 to 2000, just as the Kings started to surge.
“This building will definitely be missed,” Scott said.
Kobe a King? – Drafting 14th in 1996, the Kings had their eyes on Bryant, intrigued by his skills and energy. But the union didn’t materialize. Bryant was selected 13th by Charlotte, then traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac, who later became the driving-force captain for the Kings in the 2000s and is now the club’s general manager.
Fans at the Kings’ draft party booed lustily, not knowing who (Peja Stojakovic) was or how to pronounce his name.
The Kings instead picked Peja Stojakovic. Fans at the Kings’ draft party booed lustily, not knowing who he was or how to pronounce his name. They wanted Syracuse’s John Wallace, who went 18th to the Knicks and bounced around the league over seven relatively uneventful seasons.
Stojakovic? Not bad. His retired jersey hangs in the Sleep Train rafters, and he’s come full circle, now working in the Kings’ front office.
Bryant said he never ribbed Divac about the trade.
“I wanted to, but (Divac) was too nice a guy,” Bryant said.
Belated kudos – Phil Jackson, he of the 11 NBA championships and 1,155 career victories, offered a complimentary tweet to Karl on Thursday. Karl passed Jackson on the all-time win list against Oklahoma City.
Tweeted Jackson, “Altho I’m a little late to the NBA dance, George Karl gets my cudos...he knows how to get teams to win. Way to go, George!”