The Kings squandered an 18-point lead, and 39 points and a career-high 24 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins in Friday’s 114-107 loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia.
Sacramento (22-42) was leading 73-55 with 8:46 to go in the third quarter, yet a Kings swoon ensued that ultimately proved fatal.
The Sixers (15-50) outscored Sacramento 33-9 the rest of the quarter and the Kings found themselves trailing 88-82 heading into the final stanza.
While Sacramento cut the lead to three points late in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia closed the deal.
“I thought they put some stress on our ball handling and when we turned it over, they ran by us,” Kings coach George Karl told reporters. “Ish Smith came in and had an incredible game just attacking our defense and we never could get in control.”
Turnovers have been a conundrum all season long and the Kings committed 18 blunders which the Sixers converted into 27 points.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Kings blow 18-point lead, lose to 76ers]
Smith was one of seven Sixers in double figures scoring 10 points to go along with his nine assists and once again burned Sacramento. Earlier in the season, the 6-foot guard out of Wake Forest scored 24 points as a Rocket in a Houston win over the Kings.
Recently, Karl talked about successful teams in the NBA playing 35-40 good minutes of basketball per night and the Kings were playing just 25-30 good minutes per game.
Sacramento did have good minutes in the City of Brotherly Love but not enough of them against a beleaguered Sixers squad that resurrected in the second half.
Friday at Wells Fargo Center exemplified both ends of “The Spectrum” - bad pun intended.
“The flow of the game was ours in the second quarter,” Karl added. “The flow of the game turned midway through the third and we never got it back.”
After trailing 29-22 after the first quarter, Sacramento outscored Philadelphia 42-22 in the second stanza to secure a 13-point halftime lead.
However, the third quarter saw things change in a hurry.
“They went on a good run and we didn't do a good job of stopping the bleeding,” Cousins told the media in Philadelphia about the third quarter. “They got that momentum and confidence. They did a good job of maintaining it and we did a terrible job of stopping it.”
Despite, the tough loss, Karl is maintaining an even keel and is taking the heat.
“I think they're learning about what I want,” Karl said. “I can't deny that our premier guys were struggling at times tonight. I didn't do a good job of pushing the right buttons and finding that guy. Our big lineup actually was better than our quick lineup.
“They're big and long. They have a long athletic basketball team and they've played hard all year long.”
Sacramento is now 4-8 under Karl’s tutelage and 2-5 on its current eight-game road trip.
The arduous effects of the journey may be taking their toll.
“The fight was good,” Karl told the media. “In a lot of ways, I think my team was a little tired. I think the trip has gotten to us a little bit.
“I think body wise, I thought a couple guys looked like they were hurting a little bit out there.”
DeMarcus Cousins’ prodigious production. The first time All-Star had his 40th double-double of the season going for 39 points and a career-high 24 rebounds.
Sacramento scored 42 points in the second quarter - a season-high for any quarter this campaign.
Turnovers once again plagued the Kings and aided the opposition in the wild third quarter Philadelphia turnaround.
The Kings reserves were outscored 47-25 by the Sixers bench.
Friday the 13th in Philadelphia brought out the best and the worst in the Kings.
Adjusting to its third coach of the season and trying to implement Karl’s system on the fly isn’t easy.
Adding the rigors of the season’s longest road trip weighing on the roster, perhaps it’s no surprise that Sacramento is enduring significant volatility.