The Kings sometimes look like five guys on the court just trying not to step on each other’s toes.
That’s been the case since the All-Star break. Without offensive cornerstones DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, Sacramento continues to figure out how to function with new players.
The Kings no longer have the personnel to overpower opponents on offense. And with newcomers Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans trying to learn where they fit, the Kings have stretches when they don’t know where to position themselves, causing the ball and players to stall.
We’ve just got to play with pace. If we don’t have that pace, then we’re not going to be very good. Our only chance is to get up and down the floor and try to create havoc, get into the paint and kick out.
Darren Collison, Kings guard
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Sacramento tries to avoid stagnation by playing more in transition, but consistency with that strategy has been an issue.
“It’s a work in progress,” coach Dave Joerger said. “When we get stuck, we dribble too much; we can’t move the ball. When we look good is when we go north-south and we attack early in the clock, and if we don’t have that, then we play with the pass and keep people on their heels a little bit.”
The Kings have lost five in a row, scoring more than 100 points only once. They needed overtime to do that in a 110-109 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
Seven Kings scored in double figures against the Jazz, led by Ty Lawson’s 19 points. During the losing streak, no King has scored 20 or more points.
On Sunday, Sacramento had 24 assists among eight players, with Lawson and Darren Collison recording five each. The Kings shot 51.8 percent, including 47.1 percent on 3-pointers.
“I thought Utah was the perfect example of how we should be playing,” Collison said. “So if we can play the type of basketball, like Utah, against San Antonio (on Wednesday night), then we’ll be all right.”
When we get stuck, we dribble too much; we can’t move the ball. When we look good is when we go north-south and we attack early in the clock, and if we don’t have that, then we play with the pass and keep people on their heels a little bit.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach
That won’t be easy against the Spurs, always among the NBA’s best defensive teams. San Antonio is allowing only 98.4 points per game, second to Utah’s 96.0. The Dallas Mavericks (99.7) are the only other team giving up fewer than 100 points per game.
San Antonio is holding opponents to 44.1 percent shooting overall and 33.9 percent from 3-point range, both third lowest in the league.
The defensive-minded Spurs are not the ideal opponent for the struggling Kings. But Sacramento gave its best recent offensive effort against top-ranked Utah.
Collison said the Kings need to forget about excuses and simply play.
“We’ve just got to play with pace,” he said. “If we don’t have that pace, then we’re not going to be very good. Our only chance is to get up and down the floor and try to create havoc, get into the paint and kick out.”