The Kings looked sluggish and out of sorts from the start and were thoroughly embarrassed by the Atlanta Hawks 126-80 for their worst loss of the season Wednesday night at Philips Arena.
The Kings (3-11) lacking energy early has been a recurring problem, and the Hawks (3-12) exploited it, leading by as many as 48 points in a wire-to-wire win. The Kings have lost three in a row.
Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon had 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Dennis Schroder had 21 points and eight assists.
Zach Randolph scored 16 points to lead the Kings, who shot a season-worst 35.2 percent from the field while allowing the Hawks to shoot 63.3 percent, the best by an opponent this season.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The slow starts need to be addressed
This is becoming a major issue – and it’s not a fault of the youth, either. Only one rookie, Bogdan Bogdanovic, is in the starting lineup.
When the slothful starts carry over to the rest of the team, it makes even the struggling Hawks look like a championship squad.
Can we get some fight on defense?
The Hawks made their first eight shots and had their way on offense most of the night. Luke Babbitt, who entered the game shooting 45.1 percent from 3-point range, was left free on the perimeter. Drives to the lane were too easy and Dedmon looked like the second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon.
The Kings, if anything, are supposed to be a scrappy bunch that fights. There needs to be more of that for 48 minutes.
Can Skal get some love?
In a game that was never in doubt, Skal Labissiere did not check in until the Kings were down by 43 in the fourth quarter. He was the last player off the bench and only played seven minutes.
If this season is about developing young players, Labissiere needs more than garbage time. His recent decline in playing time remains surprising, given the role he had to end last season.