SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings are moving the wrong direction. After three straight losses at home to teams at the bottom of the standings, it’s time for the club to have some serious conversations.
Sacramento played hot potato with the ball in the half, handing over the rock 10 times before the intermission, which led to 18 points for Charlotte. They allowed 72 points at the break and trailed by 20 heading into the third.
“We came out two of the first three possessions and dribbled the ball off our leg to the other team,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the team’s 131-111 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday evening. “Nobody is trying to do that and we’ve just got to keep plugging away.”
The starting backcourt of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox accounted for five of those early mistakes as Charlotte built a huge lead. Most of the Kings’ mistakes led to easy transition baskets for the Hornets.
“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Skal Labissiere said. “Tonight we turned the ball over a lot - I think it was the story of the game.”
Not only were the Kings sloppy with the ball, but they offered little resistance to the Hornets on the defensive end.
“We don’t guard a soul, haven’t defended a soul,” a clearly frustrated Garrett Temple said. “If you don’t guard in the NBA, you’re going to lose every game, I don’t care who you play. We haven’t defended whatsoever, at all, point blank.”
Charlotte, a team that came into the night with a record of 13-23, ran circles around the Kings’ defense. They shot a blistering 57.3 percent from the field and matched their season-high with 15 made 3-point attempts.
“There are times as a young team where we score, then we relax defensively or we’re playing faster and we relax defensively a lot,” Joerger said. “It’s like, ‘your turn, our turn, your turn, our turn.’”
To compound matters, the Kings forced the Hornets into just three turnovers on the evening. It’s hard to keep up when you get outscored 20-5 on points off of turnovers.
There were a few positives to take away from the loss. Fox returned to action after missing six games with a right quad tear. He finished the night with 17 points and four assists in 33 minutes of action, although eight of those points came once the game was out of reach in the fourth.
“I thought for my first game being back, playing that many minutes, that was good for me,” Fox said. “Just trying to get my wind back.”
Zach Randolph continued to put up numbers for Sacramento, dropping in 24 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.
Labissiere started alongside Z-Bo on the front line and added 17 points and a season-high 15 boards. It was only the second double-double of the season for the Kings’ power forward.
With the loss, Sacramento fell to 6-11 on their home floor this season and 12-25 overall. They’ll get three days of practice to prepare for the high-powered Denver Nuggets on Saturday evening and then wrap up the homestand Monday against the San Antonio Spurs.