It’s been a while since the Kings had a game like this one. From beginning to end, you felt like they might be able to get the much needed win. Although the Mavericks eventually won the game, the Kings fought hard and showed a lot of heart. At the end of the day, it was a lack of experience that cost the Kings, but this is one of those game films that you can learn from, unlike the one from Friday night against the Laker that you just want to burn.
Coaches Notes and Quotes
- Coach Westphal on the starting line-up: “I think it’s always important who starts. I think it’s important who plays every minute. I thought that group who started played fantastically well. We were moving the ball, hitting shots. We went toe to toe and got the better of a great team and it was really nice to see that.”
- On the final play of the game where the Kings did not get a final shot up: “We were looking to get the ball in and hopefully get it back to Tyreke and spread the floor and penetrate. We didn’t need a three. We could take the two or the three. We had players in the positions where I thought they would be able to make a shot. DeMarcus didn’t think Tyreke was open, went and put the ball on the floor and got to the rim, or almost to the rim and instead of shooting, he kicked it out to Carl and Carl didn’t really have the shot so he drove baseline and got kind of lost in the swarm.”
- On Donté Greene, who had 19 first half points, but only played 4 minutes in the second half: “Donté played really, really well. I thought that Omri and Francisco played really, really well too. If you noticed, they had three guards in there and so we had Cisco in, who’s a little more mobile than Donté. Early when Donté was playing, he was playing against a bigger player. It could have gone either way. I thought Cisco hit some big shots for us and I chose to use him.”
- On the strides DeMarcus Cousins’ took in the game: “It was really nice to see him stay out of foul trouble. He played under control, made some good decisions, got his rebounds, played some solid defense. I thought he was suited for the starting position.”
- On Pooh Jeter: “I was really pleased with Pooh. I think he’s somebody that we feel we need to get into the game earlier and more often. He pushes the tempo for us. He moves the ball, he can knock down shots. Certainly he is a little inexperienced and there are a few things that he has to learn, but he is a hard worker and stayed positive through everything that’s happened and I’m anxious to see more of Pooh.”
- On whether this was the best game the Kings have played, despite the loss: “For the most part, absolutely. That’s an excellent team and we really are so saddened that we let it get away. Down the stretch, every time we missed, we fouled them and they got two free throws without the clock moving. Those types of things young teams have to learn. The one thing, more than anything, that I emphasized at halftime and after the game, is that we have to have poise. You can’t let the last play effect what you do the next play in a negative way and that happened to us too often tonight.”
- On the Mavericks going the last 9 minutes of the game without picking up a foul after getting 4 quick fouls to start the quarter: “Every timeout, not just the coaches, but the players were saying, we have to get the ball inside, we have to take it to the hoop. That’s one thing about the Mavericks, they are experienced enough and they are a team that doesn’t foul very much. They live with a free throw advantage. They did it to us tonight. That’s a thing we have to learn to do is to stop giving away those easy points and find a way to get them. That was very clearly, I think, the difference in the game tonight, their ability to manipulate those situations.”
- On what he told the team before the game after the Laker disaster the night before: “I told them if this is baseball, everybody goes through a slump. What they tell batters is to just go up there and take your hacks. I said, “we don’t have one player on this team that is living up to his life time shooting percentages across the board, not one. Everybody is shooting the ball poorly. Everybody’s telling us how bad we are.” I said, “I view it as a slump and you have to go out there and take your hacks. You’re a good player. If you have a shot, take it. If you don’t, move the ball. Have fun. Have fun playing this game. Don’t let all this negativity tear you down. We can play good basketball if we play together and have fun.”
- On whether he saw the team respond to the pre-game message: “I sure did. Making shots helps a lot, but you have to be aggressive in this game. It’s too easy to let circumstances take you down and stop attacking and there are smart ways to attack and there are ways where it’s just suicide to just go in there and attack foolishly. I thought for the most part we were playing together, moving the ball and playing with aggressiveness and I like what I saw a lot.”
Players Notes and Quotes
- DeMarcus Cousins on the loss: “They’re one of the best teams in the league, but we had the game. We just have to continue to play. We’re growing each game and getting better. As long as we keep taking steps forward we’ve got a chance and we do still have time.”
- DMC on turning things around: “We all believe it. We believe we can turn this thing around and we’ve got to be that way. That was a tough loss to the Lakers, they just beat the #@$% out of us and that’s how it is. You just have to put that game behind you, no matter who it is, the Lakers or the Golden State Warriors, whoever, you just have to keep pushing.”
- Tyreke Evans on Beno Udrih: “Beno, he goes out there and he knows when I’m driving not to stay in one spot. When I’m driving, he’s looking at me, so he goes to an open spot and he can knock the shot down. We play together well and we have good chemistry.”
- Jason Thompson on the big game by his buddy Donté Greene: “His confidence was good. We saw flashes of what he can do in this league. Sometimes in transition when you thought he was going to drive it, he had the confidence to pull up and shoot the three. He was 3 of 6 so it’s good to shoot it. When he’s shooting threes and driving it, he can be dangerous.”
The team seemed very disappointed, but their growth was obvious tonight against a very high quality opponent. Again, you can see from the comments from DeMarcus Cousins that this team still has faith that this season is not lost just yet. If they get this type of effort and play over the next couple of games against lesser opponents, they should be able to snap the skid. As it stands today, the team is 4-14 and lost 13 of their last 14 games.
The Kings play the 4-16 Clippers on Monday in LA, followed by the 6-12 Washington Wizards at home on Wednesday. They desperately need to end their seven game losing streak or face the possibility of even more changes.