By Dave “Deuce” Mason
The message posted in the Sacramento Kings locker room on Nov. 5 before the Kings home opener read: “Relax, it’s November.”
The word “relax” may not be in the Kings (2-7) vocabulary after losing to the Atlanta Hawks 112-96 on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings held a players-only meeting following their fourth straight loss.
“We had a players meeting and we put it all on the table,” said DeMarcus Cousins—who returned to the Kings after serving a two-game suspension.
“We talked about what we feel like we needed do and what it’s going to take to help this team get better.”
A players-only meeting isn’t usually something that happens after only nine games but Kings players said they must hold each other accountable.
“We want people to know we’re not satisfied with what’s going on,” Jason Thompson said.
“We thought it was right to make each other accountable and say what was on our minds.”
The offensive woes have been prevalent through the early stages of the season and Kings head coach Keith Smart isn’t happy with the one-on-one play.
“I’m definitely going to tweak the lineup,” Smart said.
“It’s not a functioning group right now. I have to move things around.”
Sacramento scored 20 points in the first quarter, 36 points in the second quarter and went ice-cold in the 3rd quarter with only 14 points.
Smart said his team falls into old habits and fails to move the ball at times.
So, how do the Kings break those bad habits?
“We got to want to do it,” Cousin said.
When asked if the Kings want to, Cousins replied: “Some of us.”
Don’t Say Young:
The Kings do have a young roster from an age standpoint with eight players who are 25 or younger but the veteran Chuck Hayes said they’re not young when it comes to experience.
“This is very frustrating. You can only say the word young for so long. You’re young if you only have 40 games in your career,” Hayes said.
“As soon as you crack into your second, third, fourth or fifth year, you’re not young no more. You’ve done see every play call. You done been to every arena. The word young shouldn’t be thrown around so much. We got to start taking accountability.”
The fans at Sleep Train Arena weren’t too pleased with the Kings effort against the Hawks. The crowd expressed their frustration by booing the team after the game.
“I would boo this team right now and boo me as well,” Keith Smart said.
“When fans pay their hard-earned money to come to a game, they want to see a team that plays hard and plays with passion. “
A Look Ahead
Two games remain on the Kings homestand and it doesn’t get any easier for the Kings with the Brooklyn Nets (5-2) who come to town on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Lakers and new head coach Mike D’Antoni will be in Sacramento on Wednesday.
Hear Dave “Deuce” Mason on The Jason Ross Show and follow him on Twitter: @DeuceMason