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In contrast to Friday night's rough start against the Celtics, the Kings looked good early on Saturday against the Clippers, taking a 29-19 in the first quarter.
However, just when you it looked like a 2-0 start to the George Karl era with Kings was a possibility, the Clippers simply went off.
Los Angeles went on a 28-4 run and eventually led by 19 points at the half at 66-47. The Clippers were propelled by 9-for-15 shooting from 3-point range including J.J. Redick’s 4-for-4 performance from downtown and the guard’s 18 first-half points.
“My feeling in the second quarter was that when we took [DeMarcus] Cousins out of the game, we didn’t have enough offense,” Karl told the media in Los Angeles. “Bad offense creates bad defense. They got going in the open court, they scored off our turnovers and made the 3-ball.”
Toiling now under their third coach this season, learning Karl’s system and playing the Clippers on the road in the second of a back-to-back after an emotional win over Boston seemed to take it’s toll on the Kings.
“When they came out on their run, we didn’t really bounce back from it,” Cousins, who led the Kings with 21 points, told reporters. “I think some fatigue kicked in as well. This is a new playing style for this whole team.
“Like I said, I think the fatigue kicked in, our energy level went down, we let them gain confidence, and they ran away with the game.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Kings dismantled by Redick, Clippers' bench]
Two contrasting teams were on the floor at Staples Center: One a mature, legitimate title contender in the Clippers and the Kings, in the nascent or early stages of adapting to Karl’s uptempo style.
“In a lot of ways, we’re in a midseason training camp," Karl said. “[We have to work on our] habits: how to get a good shot and habits of understanding the pace of the game.
“I think sometimes, there are shots out there that I call thirsty. . .thirsty for a score, thirsty for a shot. Good teams don’t care about who scores. Good teams just care about scoring. They don’t care who does it.
"Sometimes I feel that some guys out there care about who is scoring. We have to let that go and build some habits that unify the team rather than habits that disconnect the team.”
Despite Saturday’s setback, the Kings know it’s early and believe in Karl.
“What is this, day three of it [George Karl’s coaching tenure]?,” Cousins asked. “There are still a lot of bad habits with this team, with the way we’re used to playing.
“We just have to continue to move forward and find a way to shake those bad habits and run the system correctly.”
“I love it [the new system],” Omri Casspi said, who had a double double of 11 points and 17 rebounds in the loss. “The spacing, the running, the cutting… this is something we’re still trying to figure out.
“Everybody is trying to find his place. Last time we did it better, this time we took a little step back. They made a good run in the second and third quarter. We’ll figure it out.”
“Every guy in this locker room knows Coach [George Karl’s] resume,” Cousins added. “It’s not about trusting [him]. It’s about shaking those bad habits, learning the system, and just believing in one another.”
While taking over this week, Karl acknowledged that Sacramento had “enough talent to win games,” but had to “reconnect” and “re-energize” the Kings in a positive way.
“I’m just hoping the film will show…most of the time in these situations, the film is better than you think it’s going to be...We have to take the video and get better because of it,” Karl said.
In just under the first 10 and a half minutes of the game, the Kings didn’t commit a single turnover and jumped out to a 10-point lead at, 29-19.
Sacramento remains a fragile squad that simply had no answer to slow the Clippers 28-4 run that proved to be the pivotal point in Saturday’s Kings loss.
Even under Karl’s genius, turning around the Kings will not happen overnight.