Kings coach Michael Malone usually begins his postgame media session by taking a question, but tonight he opened with a statement:
“I’m very proud of this team on a back-to-back, being undermanned, playing as hard and competing the way that we did. We gave ourselves a chance to beat a veteran, playoff team on their home court, the second time in a row in this building. Obviously disappointed in the loss, unable to close the game out, another example of us having to execute a lot better down the stretch, but I told our guys how proud I am of them, of how hard they played, how they competed, and my challenge to them before and after the game is to continue to play for each other on both ends of the floor, make a play for a teammate and cover for a teammate on the defensive end. We did a lot of very good things tonight, unfortunately we just came up a little bit short for another loss.”
*Malone had to reel in his point guard, Isaiah Thomas, to get him some good looks late.
Thomas missed six of his seven shots Friday night at Dallas and was having problems late again.
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Thomas got caught dribbling too much on a possession with about two minutes to play that ended with an airball from 28-feet out and a shot-clock violation.
The Spurs called a timeout and Malone drew up a play the Kings ran after Rudy Gay came up with a steal.
“I love Isaiah Thomas,” Malone said. “I make that very clear. I love him. I love his heart, I love his competitive nature, but it’s also my job to help him. Obviously sometimes we got caught dribbling too much. The difference is when we come out of a timeout and we run the play, we execute and got Isaiah a wide open three to tie the game.”
*The Kings were played their sixth game in a row without DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have lost all seven games without Cousins this season.