The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City is famous for being haunted.
If that’s the case, the ghosts were clearly messing with the Kings’ beds.
By time the Kings arrived in Dallas for Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks at American Airlines Center, three Kings were dealing with back issues.
Rajon Rondo missed the game because of lower back spasms. Omri Casspi missed his second consecutive game because of upper back soreness. Casspi’s back began bothering him Monday, the morning after the Kings arrived in Oklahoma City. Ben McLemore (mid-back spasms) was able to play.
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Coach George Karl offered a lighthearted diagnosis.
“All of them are backs,” he said. “Bad beds at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.”
McLemore missed the second half of Monday’s win against the Thunder. Rondo had 19 assists Monday despite back pain.
“I thought he was saying it so he would have an excuse not to come out of the game,” Karl said. “He said, ‘Don’t take me out; my back’s going to stiffen up.’ ”
After the team arrived in Dallas, Karl said Rondo had trouble sleeping and called the training staff early Tuesday morning because of the discomfort.
More lineup shuffling – In addition to Rondo and Casspi, center Willie Cauley-Stein was sidelined after getting three stitches in his right middle finger, which he hit on the backboard in Oklahoma City.
It was the second time Cauley-Stein was injured hitting a backboard this season. He suffered an open dislocation of his right index finger Dec. 3 against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City.
Because of the injuries, Karl used his 14th different starting lineup this season: Darren Collison, McLemore, Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and DeMarcus Cousins.
Playoff potential – Karl objects to the notion the Kings have been inconsistent lately, despite what his players called bad losses to the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers.
Karl noted that entering Tuesday the Kings were 13-13 since their 1-7 start, leaving them 1 1/2 games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said he would not be surprised if the Kings made the playoffs this season.
“They have dynamic talent and they’re really coming together,” Carlisle said. “They have a very good record since a certain time, since the end of November, I think. They’re playing better all the time.”
Carlisle was impressed with the Kings’ performance against Oklahoma City, calling it “dominant,” and said it was a good win even though Thunder star Kevin Durant sat out because of a sprained right big toe.