Rudy Gay and Jason Thompson were called for technical fouls Wednesday night and each could have picked up another during the Kings’ 27-point loss at San Antonio.
Several Kings expressed their displeasure with the officiating crew as the game got out of hand.
But before assumptions can be made that NBA officials are out to get the Kings, it should be noted Sacramento entered Thursday night’s schedule leading the league with 29.5 free-throw attempts per game, comfortably ahead of the next team, Chicago, at 25.8.
The Kings shot 34 free throws Wednesday compared to 16 for San Antonio. The Spurs were called for 23 fouls while the Kings were assessed 13.
Coach George Karl isn’t interested in the officials being viewed as a reason the Kings suffered their most lopsided loss (112-85) along with their biggest deficit (40) of the season.
“We lead the league in free throws and we still want more,” Karl said. “You’ve got to earn your free throws, and I think you have to do that by playing great basketball, playing good flow basketball and playing basketball together.”
When the flow disappears for the Kings, the results are predictable. The ball remains with one or two players in each possession and a tough, low-percentage shot is taken.
The Kings, as most every team, are at their best with there is ball and player movement that creates easier scoring chances.
Karl said he doesn’t believe the Kings are selfish “but sometimes we take tough shots rather than making the pass.”
The players will continue to be pressed on the matter until they get it right, something Karl knows won’t happen immediately.
“In this system, it takes time to learn,” Karl said. “It takes time to learn the spacing, when to pass and when not to pass and when to play into the crowd or play away from the crowd.”
Until the Kings master his system, Karl just wants to see as much team basketball as possible.
“We don’t do enough of that to merit due respect from the whistle,” Karl said. “Every team struggles, and when we get that losing mentality we want to play blame and shame. What we have to do is just play basketball.”
Passing Peja – Friday’s game in Orlando will be Thompson’s 519th as a King, a record for the Sacramento era.
Peja Stojakovic will be second with 518, followed by Mitch Richmond with 517.
Thompson would prefer a big deal not be made of the milestone, but the team will acknowledge him when the Kings return from their eight-game trip, March 16 against Atlanta.