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Kings look to maintain their intensity during time off

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t happy with a referee’s call during a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 13, 2016, at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. This loss was one of a few the Kings suffered following a layoff of at least three days.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t happy with a referee’s call during a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 13, 2016, at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. This loss was one of a few the Kings suffered following a layoff of at least three days. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The Kings have three days off before they play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

That might not be the best thing for the Kings. Some of their worst outings of the season have come when they were rested.

The Kings had three days off in December before losing at home to Portland, which was playing without star guard Damian Lillard.

Last Wednesday’s home loss to New Orleans came when the Kings had three days off and the Pelicans had played the night before.

Sacramento has some momentum with two straight wins, at Utah and at the Los Angeles Clippers, but needs solid preparation to possibly make it three in a row.

The Lakers have the worst record in the Western Conference, but they put a scare into the Kings this month by overcoming a 27-point deficit to lead in the fourth quarter before Rajon Rondo’s layup gave Sacramento the win.

“We’ve got to keep our foot on the pedal,” said guard Darren Collison. “We’ve got to have some really good practices coming up, we’ve got to really compete, get after it, and we’ve got to stay focused.”

We’ve got to keep our foot on the pedal. We’ve got to have some really good practices coming up, we’ve got to really compete, get after it, and we’ve got to stay focused.

Darren Collison, Kings guard

Staying focused has been one of the Kings’ major problems this season. It’s why they’ve lost at home to New Orleans, Portland and Philadelphia.

And on the road, the Kings followed up a big win at Toronto, the Atlantic Division leader, by losing the next night to an injury-depleted Washington team that used seven players for most of the game.

Those situations should remind the Kings that they cannot overlook the Lakers or relax over the next two days.

“Just trying to learn from our mistakes,” center DeMarcus Cousins said. “We’ve had a problem with doing that, so just trying to turn things around.”

Just trying to learn from our mistakes. We’ve had a problem with (losing focus), so just trying to turn things around.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings center

A good showing against the Lakers would not mean the Kings have solved their problems. But it would be a positive considering they admittedly have let games get away.

The Kings’ victory over the Clippers, who were without two starters, might indicate better focus.

“Right now we can’t have a letdown,” Collison said. “We have a shot to make the playoffs. There’s nothing really to say – just go out there and perform.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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