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Kings’ missed chances on road trip show team has a ways to go before becoming a good team

Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34) stands on the court after the Memphis Grizzlies scored the winning shot with less than one second remaining in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 111-110.
Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34) stands on the court after the Memphis Grizzlies scored the winning shot with less than one second remaining in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 111-110. AP

It feels like the Kings should be 8-1 after this road trip.

But the last three losses of the road trip, which made the Kings 5-4 overall, 1-3 on the trip, show why the Kings have a lot of work to do before they can truly be considered a good team.

Considering the schedule, the Kings might have been fine with a 5-4 record before the season. But that’s before they went out and played like a bad team after a 5-1 start and showed all the traits teams tha struggle exhibit.

Bad defense, turnovers, lapses in focus and execution all showed up during this losing streak.

A week ago the Kings were one of the “surprise” teams and then proceeded not to surprise their skeptics with how they lost their last three games.

▪ Losing to an undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder squad.

▪ Blowing a 24-point lead in Dallas.

▪ Blowing a 26-point lead in Memphis.

Good teams don’t leave a man wide open under the basket with the game on the line. They also find a way to hold on to leads that big.

▪ The Kings have not defended well lately. Containing opposing guards has been a problem. They’ve given up over 90 points over the final three quarters in the last two games.

▪ The bench has not produced at the level it needs to keep the Kings going.

Ramon Sessions’ best scoring game came when he started at Dallas. Carl Landry’s scoring has been consistent, but overall the Kings struggle with their second unit on the floor without DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay or Darren Collison on the floor with them.

Every bench player had a negative plus/minus Thursday and every starter was a positive.

▪ The Kings only had 12 assists against the Grizzlies. Mike Conley had 11 assists on his own for Memphis. When things went bad on the trip, the Kings offense lacked passing, movement and any flow.

▪ Then there are the fouls that keep key players like Cousins on the bench and allow the opposition to get back in the game.

Cousins has been called for at least five fouls seven times, including fouling out of two games.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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