SACRAMENTO – Death row inmates have shown more pep than the Sacramento Kings on this weary Wednesday.
The last-place Utah Jazz came to town and blasted the Kings 122-101 after losing to Sacramento the week before. The Kings never took the lead and fell behind by as much as 28 in separate quarters. Head coach Michael Malone gave the media no excuses.
“From the jump ball tonight, the effort, the energy, (was) very, very flat.”
“You can’t do anything if you don’t give any energy or effort.”
The lack of life was most noticeable on the defensive end where the Kings allowed the Jazz to shoot 53.9 percent from the floor and 56.5 percent from 3-point range. Whether Utah swung the ball, screen-and-rolled or backed to the basket, Sacramento was a few steps behind. 33-year-old Richard Jefferson led the Jazz with 20 points, which was an ominous sign.
Playing without Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy, and Aaron Gray, DeMarcus Cousins collected 21 points and 11 rebounds while Isaiah Thomas added 20 points and seven assists though most of their contributions came too late. Derrick Williams fell back to Earth following Monday’s career night and recorded 13 points and seven boards. The Kings offense lacked direction as the squad managed only 13 assists to 12 turnovers. Meanwhile the Jazz produced 35 dimes and six giveaways.
Aside from dunks, the Kings’ best highlight may have came in the final minutes when Jeremy Evans attempted to posterize Hamady N’Diaye. The seven-foot center blocked the 2012 Dunk Contest winner in dramatic fashion and was proud doing so.
“Everyone is going to try to dunk over me, but I’m not scared of anyone so I just go for everything,” explained N’Diaye. “But it felt good though.”
For the Kings to share these vibes, they will need to crank the intensity in practice and games. Lethargy will be at focus as Sacramento plays five of its next six contests on the road.
Photo Credit: Hector Amezcua / Sacbee.com