No matter how many complaints there are from critics about a 10- or 11-man rotation, one issue that shouldn’t come up is energy.
Well, at least Garrett Temple would say that.
The Kings lost 114-98 to a shorthanded Denver Nuggets squad Monday night at Golden 1 Center. It was a game in which a lack of energy at key points the game, this time in the third quarter, was cited as a problem.
The Kings (4-13) were off Sunday while the Nuggets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, a game in which they also lost forward Paul Millsap to a wrist injury and coach Michael Malone, who was suspended for Monday’s game for going onto the court and making contact with an official. Starter Wilson Chandler (back) was also out.
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Still, the Nuggets (10-7) had the energy to run away from the Kings in the second half, and Temple isn’t accepting that the Nuggets beat the Kings into a fatigued state.
“It’s not like we had a back-to-back,” Temple said. “It’s not like guys are playing 35, 40 minutes a game. We played 12, 15 minutes in the first half. You should have more than enough energy to come out in the second.”
After two games where the effort was at a level that most deemed acceptable, the Kings reverted to some of the habits that have been frustrating all season.
The team that didn’t play Sunday looked too slow to keep up with the shorthanded team. Denver outscored the Kings 67-51 in the second half.
“They just went by us,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “I think in the first half they just missed some shots and they turned the ball over. We just looked small and slow in the second half, but we didn’t quit. We keep battling and keep trying to get better.”
One area the Kings aren’t getting better in is rebounding. The Kings entered Monday 29th in that category, so Denver’s advantage on the boards (49-34) wasn’t surprising.
Still, there were times the Kings didn’t look like they were eager to grab missed shots.
That’s a problem.
“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at halfcourt and that I won’t have. Athletically they go and get balls and jumped over the top of us and did some of those kinds of things.
“We’ve got to be more physical. I think we were a step slow in the second half.”
The players routinely acknowledge dips in energy, or not having energy at all. The Kings cannot go too long before Joerger has say his team looked slow or players say they didn’t bring the energy needed to compete.
Temple said it’s “like a broken record.”
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know,” Temple said. “We have to figure out a way to bring it.”
Temple said Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein have been able to bring defensive intensity off the bench lately, and it’s something the entire team has to do.
“We’ve got to have that same energy with everybody on the court,” Temple said. “... Otherwise you’re going to keep asking me what happened in the third quarter. This is every game.”
Will Barton led Denver with 25 points and five assists. Gary Harris scored 20 points and Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Koufos and George Hill each scored 16 points to lead the Kings.