Jan 4, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) lays on the ground after the Kings were called for a foul against the Charlotte Bobcats in the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Bobcats defeated the Kings 113-103. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Frustration Mounts As Kings Reamed Again By Charlotte

Another game against an NBA bottom-feeder, another lackluster losing effort from the Sacramento Kings. Writing it off as part of the learning process doesn’t make it any less excruciating to watch. As Coach Michael Malone put it last week, the Kings are, in fact, a bad basketball team, and games like Saturday night show why.

Right now, it’s hard to even classify the Kings as a team. They are a collection of individuals, some quite talented, and on occasion that’s good enough to secure a surprise victory, as seen against Miami and Houston last week. But on most nights, playing a game with no cohesion, no sustained togetherness and no real plan on either end of the court is going to get you killed.

See Charlotte on Saturday. Two monstrous individual efforts from their leaders, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. But as a unit, the Bobcats just thoroughly outworked, outsmarted and outplayed the Kings. Players like Josh McRoberts, Gerald Henderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts filled their roles. You can’t say definitively that the Bobcats are a more talented team than Sacramento. But they executed their gameplan and players made plays, helping them to a 113-103 win.

For Sacramento, the defense was again a sieve, but the problem was an offense that just had no rhythm. Ball movement was lacking and when it did move, it really didn’t have much of a purpose, except to let another individual try his man one-on-one. No purposeful cuts off the ball, no running of shooters off screens, no passing up an open look to get someone else a better shot. Just a discombobulated mess.

It’s no wonder the constant losing, the struggles on both ends is turning into bickering, both on and off the court. We heard about the in-locker-room ruckus last week. But that carried over to the court Saturday. Inside the arena, you could hear the frustration, with players barking at each other after defensive breakdowns or yelling obscenities after perceived missed calls. For that, you have to appreciate that at least the players care. To a point, that is a good thing. With certain players, it’s less constructive and more whiny, but the fact that the Kings want to improve provides some solace amid the losing.

Next up for Sacramento is a test against one of the West’s best, the Portland Trailblazers. It’s the Kings style to play up to the talent level of their opponent, so don’t be surprised to see them come out with a top-notch effort.

It’s the roller coaster that is Kings basketball.

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