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Postgame notes: Frustrated Malone: ‘We’re a bad basketball team’

Your nightly postgame notes and quotes after a pitiful fourth quarter that ended with a 113-100 loss by the Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans:

*Kings coach Michael Malone summed up the state of his team:

“We’re a bad basketball team. That’s the bottom line. We’re a bad basketball team right now.”

The Kings did plenty of things bad basketball teams do. Their lack of gameplan focus is amazing, the latest being going over screens on Tyreke Evans, rather than forcing him to shoot jump shots.

The Kings also had a season-high 22 turnovers, that led to 29 points for the Pelicans.

“We come out of a timeout in the fourth quarter and we can’t make an entry pass into the wing,” Malone said. “Coming out of a timeout, our starting point guard (Isaiah Thomas) to our starting small forward (Rudy Gay).”

That happened with 4:40 to play with the Kings down 97-92.

“We’re not that good where we can give teams 22 extra possession, I’ll tell you that much,” Malone said.

*The Kings gave up 36 points in the fourth quarter.

“You know how hard that is?” Malone said. “That is embarrassing. I don’t know is anybody in that locker room is embarrassed, but I am.

“If we do the same thing against Miami (on Friday) it will be a 50-point fourth quarter. I can’t control the turnovers for them. I can’t make the passes for them. At some point they’ve got to take responsibility. Plenty of times this season I’ve put it on me and I’ll do that but each guy in that locker room has got to start looking in the mirror and start owning up and taking responsibility for their play and we don’t have a lot of that right now.”

Malone said there is a lot of season left, but the players need to respond to the challenge.

“My challenge to these guys is who do we want to be?” Malone said. “Are we just going to be a team that wins once in a blue moon and puts on a performance like this? I don’t know. So we’ll see how we respond when we play Miami.”

*I decided to ask Malone if this them needed to hit “rock bottom” for things to change. I would have thought rock bottom was being blown out by Utah, but I’ve been wrong before.

Here’s Malone’s response:

“How many times do you have to hit rock bottom? Look at our record. We’ve hit rock bottom four or five times now. So maybe some of these guys are so used to losing, they’re accustomed to it. I’m not. I’m not used to losing. I’m used to being in the playoffs and being a competitive team that takes pride in its defense. Right now we don’t have a lot of guys that do that. I’m not sure what their rock bottom is but I hit my rock bottom about one week into the season.”

*The Kings allowed the Pelicans to shoot 49.4 percent, including 47.1 percent from the field.

*Evans has a season-high 12 assists to go with his 25 points. The Kings tradition this season of allowing perimeter players to dominate them continued Monday. Jrue Holiday also had 17 points and 10 assists.

The Kings had 15 assists as a team.

*DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 14 rebounds, but he was 10 of 17 from the free throw line. He’s too good of a shooter to shoot like that from the line.

*The Kings turnover breakdown: Rudy Gay 6, Cousins 4, Thomas 4, Marcus Thornton 4, Ben McLemore 1, Aaron Gray 1.

*This was probably Gay’s worst game, 11 points, 2-for-12 shooting, two assists, five rebounds, two steals. But as Malone pointed out, Gay wasn’t the only one that had a bad game.

*As Thornton scores again (19 points), Derrick Williams’ scoring is decreasing (seven points).

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