SACRAMENTO -- The Kings have been on the wrong side of a lopsided score on more than one occasion early this season, but they hadn’t shown signs of quitting. That is no longer the case.
Sacramento went into halftime trailing the Los Angeles Clippers 69-61 and then proceeded to take the third quarter completely off. Led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers ran over a listless Kings team 37-16 to take a 29 point lead into the fourth. And then it got worse.
If there were fans in the building, they would have booed the Kings off the court as they fell by a final of 138-100.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings didn’t show up and fell to 5-8 on the season.
Contest a shot?
The Kings are one of the worst defensive teams in the league by almost every metric. They’re 30th in points allowed per game. They’re 30th in defensive rating. They’re 29th in net rating.
Against the Clippers, they struggled to defend the 3-point line, which is becoming a huge issue for the team. Led by the hot shooting of George, Leonard and Marcus Morris, LA went 18-for-35 from long range, outscoring the Kings by 24 points from distance.
Sacramento was allowing 15 makes from 3-point range on the season coming into Friday night, which ranks 28th in the league.
With Hassan Whiteside sitting out the action with a sore hip, coach Luke Walton turned to seldom used big man Chimezie Metu and might have found something.
Metu, who is on a two-way contract with Sacramento, put on a show in his first stint on the floor, putting up eight points and four rebounds in six minutes of play.
The 23-year-old center was active on both ends of the floor, set screens and hit the glass. He finished the night tying his career-high in points with 10 points and rebounds with eight.
Whatever happened to the Kings’ starting five to start the third quarter needs to be addressed. De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes let the game spin completely out of control, with each player running a -15 or worse on the night.
This is the group that needs to figure out how to stop a run and get a defensive stop. They have to figure out how to make adjustments in real time and keep the Kings from completely coming off the rails. That is not what happened on Friday night.