SACRAMENTO -- When you look at a box score and see that five players on one team scored at least 19 points, you would expect to see them win, or at least play a close game.
That wasn’t the case for the Kings on Monday night.
The star-studded Brooklyn Nets waltzed into Golden 1 Center and put on an offensive display. They lit the Kings up for a franchise-record 27 3-pointers and the final score of 136-125 doesn’t come close to telling the entire story.
Defensive issues were a common theme for the Kings early in the season. They allowed 122 or more points in eight straight games during a 5-10 start to the season, but then they seemed to turn a corner.
Now, the Kings are caught in another four-game losing streak, dropping back to 12-15. And Sacramento's defense is an issue once again.
“I think we’re just giving up a lot of open shots right now where we’re getting broken down and getting put in rotations and just making too many defensive mistakes,” De’Aaron Fox said in a postgame video conference.
During the slide, the Kings have given up 119, 123, 124 and now 136 points. It’s hard to win when you’re allowing over 125 points a game as the Kings are during their latest downturn.
“When we’re winning, we’re getting stops,” Marvin Bagley said. “We’re playing together, we’re moving the ball, getting a lot of assists, making the right defensive reads. We’re playing together, playing basketball, playing, having fun, trusting each. That’s when we’re playing out best.”
Against Brooklyn, Sacramento hung tough until the middle of the third quarter. Then, the Nets hit the Kings with a 20-0 run.
It’s nearly impossible to recover from something like that, but again, this is part of the issue with the Kings this season.
They have a tendency to let go of the rope for just a few plays and when they look up, the game already has spiraled out of control.
“We can’t get ourselves in a hole and try to dig ourselves out of it, especially against a team like that,” center Hassan Whiteside said. “That’s an offensive juggernaut.”
The Nets are really good. Even with Kevin Durant sitting out, they still have Kyrie Irving, James Harden and a bunch of shooters.
The Kings got lulled into a game in which they tried to trade baskets, but that’s not a good position to be in. The Nets have proven stars to rely on and when the Kings made a mistake or missed a shot, coach Steve Nash's group pounced
Are the Kings frustrated? Absolutely. Just a few days ago, this team was over .500 and in a very good groove.
They have a few days between games to collect their thoughts, watch film and hope the results will be different. On the positive side, the Kings aren't splintering at the seams and their recent success could provide a road map back to where they want to be.
“We’re definitely still staying together,” Fox said. “We’re trying to talk through this and talk to each other on the court. But right now, those things are just happening too many times through the course of a game and that’s where we have to keep developing as a team and get better at that.”
After three games in four nights, the Kings will take Tuesday off before jumping back on the practice floor Wednesday. They’ll host the Miami Heat on Thursday before hitting the road for five straight games beginning Saturday in Chicago against the Bulls.
Perhaps a chemistry-building road trip is just what the Kings need to right the ship.