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Kings battle themselves, officials as skid on homestand continues

“We complain too much to the refs,” said Matt Barnes after the Kings 122-118 loss vs the Thunder

“We complain too much to the refs,” Matt Barnes said after the Kings 122-118 loss vs the Thunder on Sunday, January 15, 2017.
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“We complain too much to the refs,” Matt Barnes said after the Kings 122-118 loss vs the Thunder on Sunday, January 15, 2017.

The Kings’ seven-game homestand was supposed to provide a chance for solid footing in the standings after so much time on the road.

But six games into the homestand, the Kings are repeating a cycle of falling behind big, rallying and coming up short.

That’s been the formula in the Kings’ 1-5 home record this month after a 122-118 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night at Golden 1 Center. As the losses have piled up, the Kings are griping more at the officials. They picked up three technical fouls Sunday.

The Kings’ problems start with turnovers. They committed 15 of their 22 giveaways in the first half.

Slow starts also remain troublesome. The Kings don’t seem to play with urgency until they face a big deficit.

“Whatever it is, it needs to click earlier,” forward Matt Barnes said. “We have the talent. We have everything we need. It’s just between our ears. It’s something that collectively we all need to work on.”

Barnes took responsibility for his technical foul in the fourth quarter. The Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook were called for double technicals in the fourth. It was Cousins’ 11th technical this season.

Barnes said the Kings lack discipline.

“We complain too much to the refs,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to worry about the other team. I think we worry about the refs too much. We lack execution on both ends. We turn the ball over. We just do a lot of uncharacteristic stuff that’s going to prevent us from winning.”

But no amount of complaining to officials will help the Kings end their slump of seven losses in nine games. They know that, but as they continue to lose, they struggle to contain their frustration.

“I feel we have a right to feel that (frustration), but we just can’t harp on the situation,” Cousins said. “It doesn’t go our way every night. I think that’s pretty obvious, but we’ve got to play through it.”

The Kings discuss ignoring the referees. But they haven’t figured out how to focus on the game, especially on a night when Westbrook (36 points, 11 rebounds and and 10 assists for his 20th triple-double of the season), Enes Kanter (29 points, 12 rebounds) and Victor Oladipo (17 points) are rolling.

“I think we all know it, but sometimes the calls are so out of this world, and we’re all competitive, we all want to win,” Barnes said. “And to see crazy stuff consistently happen to our team, it’s hard to bite your tongue sometimes. But in order for us to get over the hump, we’re going to have to do that.

“I think myself and DeMarcus are probably the two main guys that bark, but it’s with just cause. But we’ve got to do a better job of focusing on the other team, leaving the refs alone and maybe we’ll get some calls.”

Cousins had 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but also had a team-high six turnovers. Rudy Gay had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Darren Collison added 21 points.

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

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