Originally published on SacramentoPress.com on April 9, 2012
The Sacramento Kings dropped their fourth straight game as they fell to the Houston Rockets 104-87 at Power Balance Pavilion Sunday night.
Sacramento came out with little energy, and it showed as the Rockets jumped to a quick 10-2 lead and never trailed the rest of the game.
“We just didn’t have a lot of energy tonight, and that’s something we’ve got to work on,” Kings guard Jimmer Fredette said. “We’ve got to continue to get better at that and come bring it every single night so we are disappointed with ourselves.”
After scoring at least 99 points in their previous 12 games, the Kings have been held to under 85 points in their last three games.
Coach Keith Smart attributes this to the team not being at full strength right now with injuries to Marcus Thornton (calf), John Salmons (hip) and Francisco Garcia (concussion).
“I just think our team is not our team right now,” he said. “We are patching it up right now. We have guys that are normally rotation guys trying to come in and play frontline teams.”
But Kings veteran Chuck Hayes doesn’t believe the Kings should have any excuses this late in the season.
“Everybody should know each other’s sweet shot and their sweet spot where they want the ball and their most effective and so on and so forth,” he said. “We are still playing like it’s the beginning of the season. We are still trying to find ourselves, and we should have that figured out by now.”
With all the injuries, the Kings have failed to be the running team that Smart wants them to be, only scoring 12 fast-break points on Sunday.
“We haven’t run any more the last couple of games,” he said. “We are not getting up and down the floor, and we are not making the easy plays. We are trying to force something.”
Instead, it was the Rockets who continued to beat the Kings in transition as they took a 58-43 lead heading into halftime.
Smart then turned to his second unit in an attempt to get some more energy. The Kings bench was able to bring the deficit to just eight points when newly acquired Terrence Williams hit a jump shot to make the score 73-65.
But that was as close as the team would come, as the Rockets once again pulled away when Fredette missed a transition three and the Rockets capitalized with a lob to Rockets big man Samuel Dalembert.
From there the Kings were unable to stop the Rockets offense as they ran away with the game and captured the 104-87 win.
Williams, who was originally signed to a 10-day contract and then for the rest of the season, continued to be a bright spot for the Kings. Williams scored a season-high 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. But he said going against his former team didn’t give him any added motivation.
“I really didn’t care,” he said. “It just so happened I scored whatever I scored and rebounded. I’m beyond payback with the Rockets. I don’t care for them. I wish I wished them well in the playoffs, but I really don’t. I have no thoughts for them. It’s all about Sacramento, and we need to grow as a young team.”
Even with Williams’ strong game, he sees room for improvement, especially in the turnover category, as he had five turnovers Sunday night.
“I can’t speak for everyone else, but you’re trying to do too much in one play,” Williams said. “You’re trying to get a point, a rebound and an assist on the same play. So sometimes you over dribble, turn the ball over. I definitely take blame for that. You just learn and move on.”
Williams’ teammates appreciate what he has brought to the team, including his ability to drive and get the ball to an open shooter.
“He does a good job finding everybody no matter whoever it is out there,” Fredette said. “He’s a good player and can pass the ball well and looks to throw it to you. He’s done a great job with that and he’s a great addition to the team.”
Sacramento hopes to get back to winning as they head out on a three-game road trip starting in Dallas against the Mavericks on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.