Slow starts have plagued the Sacramento Kings all season long. The issue reared its ugly head again Saturday afternoon as the Kings dropped their fourth straight game.
“Being a noon game, the first person with the most energy is probably going to win the game,” Willie Cauley-Stein said following the lopsided 126-105 loss. “Our energy didn’t really come til the second half through. They already got us in a hole.”
After scoring the first two buckets of the contest, Sacramento yielded a 12-0 run to the Clippers. They attempted to play catch up the rest of the afternoon with no luck.
Thursday following the Kings loss to the Clippers, rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic sounded off on the issue.
“Everytime, same mistakes,” Bogdanovic said. “We really need to work on video first of all, preparation for a game as well. We can’t let those teams have a 10-point or more advantage. It’s really hard to trail them the whole game.”
“Whoever starts, we start slow. That’s about team, inside, not about personnel. I think as a team, we’ve got to just start better and be more hyped," Bogdanovic added about the slow starts.
Bogdanovic has played years overseas and the issue of energy seems to perplex the 25-year-old Serbian wing. You can see the frustration on his face. It’s the same look that some of his teammates have shown, both veterans and young players.
Some of the young guys are grasping at straws for answers. De’Aaron Fox is one of the fastest players in the league and he’s in the starting unit that’s struggling to show energy to start ball games.
“We just have to play with pace and sometimes when a team comes out and shoots the ball they were doing today, it was kind of difficult to bring that energy,” Fox told reporters following the loss.
The team isn’t pointing fingers at anyone but themselves. They’ve stayed together, but the current spiral is starting to get out of control.
“It’s got to come from us, but it’s got to come from us holding each other accountable,” Cauley-Stein said. “Like, enough is enough. I think coach is at that point where, you know, he’s just not going to play you if you're not doing the right things and I think that’s how it should be.”
Dave Joerger has tried countless lineups this season to find a group that starts the game the right way. It might be time for him to try moving a veteran or two out of the starting group to see if the dynamic changes.
The Kings have lost four straight and nine of their last 11 games. They currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings and they play seven of their next eight games on the road, beginning on the road Monday evening in Oklahoma City.