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Joerger urges more team spirit amid rough start

Kings show defensive identity Dave Joerger envisioned for team

The Sacramento Kings showed something to coach Dave Joerger that he has been waiting to see since the beginning of this young season. “We did what we’re hoping to make our identity throughout the course of the year, and that is getting after peopl
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The Sacramento Kings showed something to coach Dave Joerger that he has been waiting to see since the beginning of this young season. “We did what we’re hoping to make our identity throughout the course of the year, and that is getting after peopl

Game film reveals more than what happens on the court.

Views of the bench show a team’s mood and give the coach a teaching point.

One peek into the Kings came from their loss Saturday at Milwaukee. Kings coach Dave Joerger wants a lively bench, and he didn’t see enough of that.

Joerger wants the Kings actively supporting one another during games, even if the team entered Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on a four-game losing streak. So a play that induces a reaction from fans should produce more than a courtesy golf clap from players.

“DeMarcus (Cousins) gets a dunk (Saturday) night, and nobody on the bench reacted,” Joerger said.

Cousins didn’t score in the second half.

DeMarcus (Cousins) gets a dunk (Saturday) night, and nobody on the bench reacted.

Kings coach Dave Joerger

The Kings had lively camaraderie in the preseason, but it didn’t take long in the regular season for them to revert to some of their bad habits in recent years.

Joerger wants the Kings to avoid letting mistakes take them out of games.

“We kept banging it back, and Garrett (Temple) hits a couple of 3s, and we’ve taken their hit,” Joerger said. “We’ve talked about it, just trying to get back to not make two or three mistakes in a row. We’re going to make mistakes, but when we do, let’s make sure who stays together.”

Joerger said his message to the Kings before Sunday’s game was to avoid giving in to the early-season adversity and becoming a fractured team.

“Just staying together,” Joerger said. “Going through a tough time right now, and we’ll go through it together. It’s going to be good times and bad times. This isn’t fun for anybody.”

Gay returns – When Rudy Gay missed the Milwaukee game because of strained rib cartilage, it not only cost the Kings their second-leading scorer, it removed a key part of Sacramento’s defense.

So Joerger was glad to have the 6-foot-8 small forward back in the lineup to match up against Raptors star guard DeMar DeRozan.

“To me, one of the hardest positions to fill in this league is the small forward, the three,” Joerger said. “Threes with size especially are very, very valuable. If Rudy’s not able to play, that’s a tough cover for some other guys.”

Tolliver misses game – Kings forward Anthony Tolliver (right knee contusion) missed his second consecutive game. He was injured during practice Friday in Milwaukee when he was kneed by rookie Skal Labissiere.

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is happy the Kings got a confidence boost by beating the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in Canada, but now it is time to come home with that confidence, play with the same kind of intensity and string together s

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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