Coach Michael Malone Upset With Effort; How Will Sacramento Kings Respond?

Russell Isabella – USA TODAY Sports

There’s plenty to like about the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins is having an All-Star caliber season. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 20.1 points per game, and the team acquired Rudy Gay who has scored at least 20 in four of the seven games he’s played in. But Sacramento’s opponents are scoring too — in droves.

The Kings’ last four opponents have averaged 113 points per game washing away this team’s bright spots on the offensive end. It also sums up why this team sits last in the Pacific at 8-19. The team played so bad following a 113-100 loss last Friday to the New Orleans Pelicans that head coach Michael Malone ripped into the team’s effort post-game.

“Maybe some of these guys are so used to losing that they’re accustomed to it. I’m not. I’m not used to losing. I’m used to being in the playoffs, being a competitive team that takes pride in its defense. I’m not sure what their rock bottom is, but I hit my rock bottom about one week into the season.”

The comments sting, but they’re spot on. This team should be much better than it currently is. 8-19 should not be possible when Cousins has had five 30-point games this season including 15 double-doubles. That production alone should have added up to more wins by now even in the crowded Western Conference.

But this team lags on defense, and that’s a challenge they must take head on. Sacramento also struggles to hold on to the ball. They turned the ball over 29 times Friday — a season high — which led to 42 points for New Orleans. That’s another item on the docket that needs to be fixed.

Coach Malone is urging his team to play with more heart, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Kings play seven of their next nine at home which could lead to improved play. Or things could get worse as Sacramento takes on the San Antonio Spurs in a brutal back-to-back.

Whether or not Coach Malone gets championship effort these next two games remains to be seen, but they better come out with a pulse.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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