SACRAMENTO -- Prior to Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, head coach George Karl said that recently 34 percent of the Kings allowed 3-pointers had come off of offensive turnovers.
Sacramento committed only 10 turnovers, but only made three 3-pointers Wednesday. Conversely, the Clippers drained 17 shots from downtown, dooming the Kings effort in a 116-105 loss at Sleep Train Arena.
“There’s no question when you lose by 42 points at the 3-point line, well it’s tough to make those up,” Karl said. “I thought we were actually pretty good offensively. Our team is moving the ball very well, but some of these teams are very good basketball teams and we have not adjusted and we’ve done a lousy job of figuring it all out.
“We just have to keep working at it. We tried some zones tonight that weren’t that efficient, but at least it didn’t hurt us at the three-ball. Chris Paul was being free with the ball—he’s always loose with the pick-and-rolls. He’s pretty dynamic and he finds the open guy. I thought that we fought hard to tie it in the fourth quarter and we were in a position to make some shots to win the game. The Clippers are a top team. They’re a contending championship team.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Kings hang, but can't finish Clippers]
Paul was a problem for Sacramento, going for 30 points and 11 assists, while J.J. Redick added 27 points including seven buckets from long distance.
Rudy Gay lead the Kings with 23 points after missing the last two games with a left patellar tendon strain, yet lamented the inability to defend.
“It’s one of those things where you just have to be in a mindset the whole game,” Gay said. “Obviously Chris Paul is Chris Paul, but JJ Redick came out here and really hurt us and that’s something we have to be ready for. Guys like that can get hot and we can’t be the team they get hot on.”
Sacramento battled in a similar fashion to Monday’s loss to the Hawks and again fell short.
“I can’t deny that there’s been energy for these 15 or 16 games that I’ve been here,” Karl said. “The pride of playing hard has been pretty good. There’s a lot of frustration and a frazzled mentality happening.
"With injuries happening to Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, it’s hard to fill in those holes when we probably don’t know each other as well as we should know each other.”
The Kings are simply not the same without DeMarcus Cousins, who was out versus the Clippers due to a right calf strain. Sacramento is now 2-13 without its All-Star Center in the lineup this season.
Gay agreed with his coach’s sentiment on the effort.
“They fought – they fought hard, we fought, played defense with a lot of intensity, moved the ball around and tried to get everybody involved,” Gay said. “They played pretty good. They kept the game from getting crazy – this game didn’t get out of hand at all. I felt like we could’ve won it at any point up until the end.
“But obviously they fought hard, they kept us in the game, they gave us a chance to try to win it at the end but unfortunately we didn’t.”
The coach is still managing to see positives despite the four-game losing streak, including dropping eight of nine games.
“Our bench played great,” Karl added. “It’s the second night in a row where I think that our bench played better than our starters. It seems like Andre Miller is doing a great job at getting our bench to have a personality. At moments, we had good defensive presence.
“The frustrating thing is that we don’t have confidence from the three-point line. That confidence is so powerful.”
Rudy Gay returned to the lineup leading the Kings with 23 points.
Andre Miller (16), Nik Stauskas (13) and Derrick Williams (11) provided double digit productivity off the Sacramento bench.
The Kings took good care of the basketball only committing 11 turnovers.
Sans Cousins, Sacramento outscored the Clippers 48-26 in the paint.
Sacramento’s defense continues to underperform allowing 116 to the Clippers on its home floor including 17 3-pointers.
Sacramento is simply not the same without DeMarcus Cousins on the floor and while the effort was admirable, it’s impossible to win without defending a team like the Clippers.