Kings Blog

Kings notes: George Karl calls David Blatt’s firing ‘embarrassing, tragedy’

Kings coach George Karl has been around the NBA long enough to have been hired and fired his fair share of times.

Like many coaches around the league, he expressed disbelief that Cleveland fired second-year coach David Blatt on Friday.

Cleveland reached the NBA Finals in Blatt’s first season and led the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record this season when he was dismissed.

“Embarrassing, tragedy,” Karl said. “It seems like coaches have more ability now to get fired if they win or if they don’t exceed expectations. Losing coaches don’t get fired. … I’m mystified.”

Added Karl: “I think it’s a sad, sad day for coaches.”

Karl knows what it’s like to lose a job after a successful season.

He was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2013 after leading Denver to a franchise-record 57 wins. But the Nuggets weren’t at full strength in their first-round matchup against Golden State and lost the series as the No. 3 seed in the West.

Crash the glass – In Thursday’s win over Atlanta, three Kings grabbed at least 10 rebounds.

Rebounding has been a concern of Karl’s as he wondered who would crash the boards besides DeMarcus Cousins, who is routinely among the league leaders in rebounding.

Cousins had 15 rebounds, rookie Willie Cauley-Stein 11 and Rajon Rondo 10 against the Hawks.

Karl said rebounding remains a focus.

“We’ve made kind of a philosophical statement about the beginning of defense and the end of defense,” Karl said. “Transition ‘D’ and rebounding are the two most important things for our defense right now.”

The Kings entered Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Sleep Train Arena 15-8 when outrebounding their opponents. The Kings were 13-12 when outscoring the opposition in fast-break points.

Still out – Forward Rudy Gay sat out his second consecutive game with a left heel contusion. Omri Casspi started instead at small forward.

Also, James Anderson saw more playing time.

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Anderson played eight minutes in the first half against the Pacers, the most he has played in a game since logging 13 minutes in the Kings’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 7.

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

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