Notes and Quotes: Kings vs. Bulls

After a very disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls, there was enough frustration to go around for everybody.  Coach Westphal’s answers were shorter than usual, there were fewer players ready to talk in the locker room and those who were willing to talk seemed to have taken this particular loss pretty hard.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • Opening statement:  “Well, we were awfully happy at half time.  We told the team that the Bulls have come back over and over this year and that we had to play 24 more minutes of very good defense and offense that was together, just like we did the first half.  I thought the second half our defense was good enough to win the game, but our offense was something that was out of some horror book.  Two turnovers in the first half and sixteen in the second, it’s just unbelievable – running the same plays, supposedly, only not executing them.  24 second violations, guys not shooting open shots, guys not moving the ball, guys not running the plays the way they ran them in the first half, guys not running the counters when they overplay.  It was the exact opposite of the way we played in the first half.  The results speak for themselves.  When we move the ball when we’re supposed to, we get good shots and we have a good chance of making those shots.  When we stop running the offense, when we stop taking the open shots when we do get them, we score nine points in the fourth quarter and let a team come all the way back on us.  It’s tough because we showed what we can do, but we also showed how far we have to go to put it together for 48 minutes.”
  • On the fast start followed by the miserable fourth:  “If anything, it should show – it should have shown before now, if a player can’t see the difference between the decisions they are making early in the game and in the fourth quarter, they are never going to see it after that.”
  • On Jason Thompson and Omri Casspi:  “I thought JT looked really comfortable in that starting role.  I thought he gave us a lot of energy and he played very well at both ends.  Omri hit a couple of shots off the bench and brought a lot of enthusiasm to the game and it was a good performance for those guys.”
  • On Jason Thompson sitting most of the fourth quarter after such a strong game:  “Luol Deng.  I thought Donté did a real good job on Deng and when Gibson went out on fouls, it was a pretty tough match-up for JT so we moved Donté to the four and that’s one of the reasons Omri got to play as many minutes as he did.”
  • On why this team can’t stay focused:  “There are a lot of reasons, nobody ever knows somebody else’s mind.  It could be fatigue, it could be selfishness, it could be inexperience, it could be not knowing the offense, it could be not trusting your teammates.  It could be any or all of the above or something else I didn’t list and you can’t read somebody else’s mind, all you can do is read the results and the results were painful to watch.”
  • On how to deal with this lack of focus:  “We had various players who were guilty so you can’t sit everybody.  You have to have a collective mindset to get it done together and that’s what I didn’t see.”
  • On how to fix some of these issues:  “We’re going to show them the film, first of all, show them the difference.  We’ll have a nice film session tomorrow.  Part of it will be nice.  Part of it guys will be running for the exits.”
  • On the change in play of guard Tyreke Evans during the first half and the second half:  “He didn’t look as quick in the second half, did he.”

Coach Westphal wasn’t exactly a happy camper after the loss to the Bulls and his post game press conference showed it.  For three quarters the Kings played together and effectively.  In the fourth, the team fell completely apart, either passing on open shots or settling for poor shots.  The frustration was visible on both the coach’s face and the players faces in the locker room.

Players Notes and Quotes

  • Omri Casspi on the difference between the first half and the second half:  “We played good offense.  We shared the ball.  The ball was moving.  Guys found their game and it looked like everything was coming easy.  We were up 13 at halftime with only two turnovers.  Unfortunately, we didn’t bring the same energy in the second half and we stopped playing as one group.”
  • Casspi on the first half versus the second half:  “I don’t know.  We are going to have to watch the tape.  Coaches are going to have to watch the tape and figure out things.  We scored nine points in the fourth quarter and we scored almost 30 points in the first and in the second.”
  • Casspi on whether the fourth quarter took away from the improvements the team made the rest of the game:  “I don’t think it takes away, but it just shows us how good we can play together.  When we play together, we can beat teams and get a lot of wins.  Unfortunately, we didn’t do it today and we have to watch the tape, watch the second half, the mistakes on offense, why we stopped sharing the ball, who did and then learn from it.”
  • Casspi on Jason Thompson:  “JT was great.  A phenomenal game.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get a win for him.  I know how much he wanted it after a rough start to the season and just hopefully, he’s going to keep playing like that.”
  • Jason Thompson on the loss:  “It was the tale of two half’s really.  I know you guys were eager to see how we bounced back from our last game against the Clippers…oh man….we pretty much started out good at home and we came out of halftime with some confidence, but knowing that they pretty much have a veteran team with guys that have been together for a bunch of years and that they were going to come back.  I’m sure that their coach was yelling at them at the halftime that they were going to come back.”
  • JT on how much the fourth takes away from the rest of the game:  “It hurts.  It’s 48 minutes, not 30, it’s not 35, its not 40, it’s not 47- it’s 48.  We didn’t do that today.  We did a lot of things well.”
  • JT on getting the start:  “I felt like myself out there.”
  • JT on the early season struggles of the team:  “If you’re frustrated then there’s something wrong with you.  At the end of the day you can’t put your head down and give up.  It’s early, we aren’t even close to halfway done yet.”
  • JT on settling down and playing well as a starter:  “Sometimes I was pretty good at coming off the bench at the end of the year last year.  But my role kind of changed a little bit (this season), I wasn’t playing that much and sometimes that happens in this business, but sometimes I wouldn’t know when I was playing and this is my first time in that situation so I have a lot of energy and I’m antsy just to get things going – good or bad.”

I wasn’t in on the Tyreke Evans post game comments, but the Kings put out a list of quotes and one of those quotes is making the rounds, but not in its entirety.  So here is the quote.  Make what you will of it.

Tyreke Evans on why the offense fell apart:

I don’t know.  We were down, and it looked like I was supposed to make a play every time.  So I just tried my best to help the team get open and try and find an open shot.

The team took this loss to heart, but I thought this was as healthy a loss as the team has had.  There were signs of a cohesive unit and signs of progress that we have not seen over the last several weeks.  Losing this game hurts, sure, but this game showed the team how well they can play if they play together, and how quickly things can turn when the players forget the team concept.  For three quarters, the fans, the Kings and probably even the Bulls thought that the Kings were going to win the game, which is not something I can say about the previous nine losses.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".