In the first quarter, Kings stars DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay appeared on their way to big scoring nights.
They scored Sacramento’s first 24 points, but the Kings again couldn’t get out of their own way and fell to 0-3 on their five-game trip with a 102-94 loss to the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.
The Kings are still wondering how to clean up the offensive and defensive mistakes that have contributed to their three-game losing streak.
Cousins scored 14 of his 33 points in the first quarter. Gay had 12 in the first but finished with only 16.
Gay couldn’t explain what, if anything, Orlando did to thwart his offensive flow, although the Magic credited Aaron Gordon’s defense.
When asked if Orlando made adjustments, Gay said: “Maybe. I don’t know. It was one of those games. We have to get better; we have to find ways to get rolling and get these wins.”
It’s difficult to win when turnovers, questionable decisions and poor rebounding persist. It’s how the Kings squandered an eight-point lead in the second quarter and never recovered.
“They made some shots, and we had too many self-inflicted wounds,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “We missed layups, we didn’t catch balls, dropped passes, dropped rebounds, and we were leaking out and not helping secure the rebound.”
Orlando scored 23 second-chance points and had 24 assists.
The Kings have 29 assists in their last two games after finishing with 17 Thursday.
The Magic gave up 23 points off their 14 turnovers but compensated with offensive rebounds when the Kings failed to secure the ball.
The Kings (2-4) have been outrebounded in three of their last four games. They have won the rebounding battle just once this season (Tuesday at Miami) and tied opponents in their first two games.
“It’s something that especially as a big, we’ve got to focus more on that,” said center Willie Cauley-Stein. “But a lot of (the Magic’s offensive rebounds) were long rebounds, too. So you’ve just got to do the best you can on them. But there’s still a fine line where you’ve just got to say (forget) it and go after every ball or keep their big men off the ball and have somebody else rebound it.”
When teams pull the Kings’ big men away from the basket, others must help.
“In the first half, we had too many guys, especially on the wings, who didn’t come down and rebound,” Joerger said. “The bigs, I thought, did a really good job of helping, and then we have to come back and get rebounds and (get) rebounds from our wings.”
Turnovers also have been a sticking point for Joerger. The Kings’ 13 points allowed, off 14 turnovers, were their fewest of the season, but the type of turnovers bothered Joerger .
He didn’t think confusion while learning a new offense was the problem.
“No, I think it’s us (not) making simple plays,” Joerger said. “You make the simple pass in the post, make a simple outlet, and the other team gets a dunk. There’s no reason to try for a home run play, and we continue to do that.”
Evan Fournier led the Magic (2-3) with 29 points.