The Kings say they know how to correct their shortcomings.
But that talk pales when the results don’t back it up.
Sacramento has lost five of six. The win came Wednesday against a depleted Dallas squad with the NBA’s worst record.
The Kings have lamented their selfish play and lack of execution, communication and focus.
If they can’t transform those words into action, they’ll remain near the bottom of the Western Conference.
“We’ve got to play as a team offensively and defensively,” guard Garrett Temple said. “We’ve got to move the ball, take good shots, play off the ball. We get stagnant when Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) is (in isolation plays), or Rudy (Gay) is (in an isolation play) or the point guard is coming off a screen. We’ve got to move off the ball and move the ball as a team. And defensively we’ve got to compete. We’ve got to play as a team on the defensive end. If we don’t do that, we won’t win.”
Those issues were prominent in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 104-84 loss at Utah. The Kings were outscored 26-8, allowing too many second-chance points and 3-pointers and looking out of sync on offense.
Guard Darren Collison again pleaded for teamwork.
“Just sharing, moving the ball around, trying to get easy looks for one another, try to play for one another,” he said. “Try to play together as a team. The same stuff we’ve been dealing with over the last week or so, two weeks, three weeks, whatever the case may be. Until we find a way to start playing together, we’re always going to find a way into these types of games.”
On Saturday, the Kings posted season lows for points in a quarter (eight) and a game. And against a Jazz team missing key players George Hill and Rodney Hood, their defense collapsed when their offense crumbled.
“We’re going to miss shots, but we can’t let that affect our defense,” Temple said. “Defensively we have to be more in tune. We have to play more as a team. We can’t play selfish defense. That means not talking, not helping your teammate. If we don’t do that, it’s going to be a long season.”
The Kings also need to sustain their energy for an entire game. Opponents are beating Sacramento by making hustle plays and coming up with loose balls. Center DeMarcus Cousins mentioned that as a problem along with the recurring lack of communication on defense.
“Getting loose balls, that’s been hurting us,” Cousins said. “We have these balls bouncing, and we just look at them. We’ve got to have somebody that’s willing to dive on it, stop giving up these second-chance points.”
Cousins said the coaching staff has prepared the players well, and the players are publicly blaming themselves for the team’s struggles. Collison said the team must be “willing” to play cohesively.
“We’ve got to have a game where we’re all playing together and playing the right way,” Collison said. “And hopefully it can carry over.”