MEMPHIS, Tenn. - When Mikki Moore vented about his own role after an early season loss at New Jersey, there was some question from fans as to whether he was as much of a team-first player as he professed.
And while it appeared that none of his teammates or anyone around the team questioned that notion, he showed why on Saturday night. Moore, who has been one of the most candid and critical Kings all season long, let loose a postgame rant that was all about the team at large after the Kings' loss to Memphis.
"Since weíre not going to make it to the playoffs, we need to improve as a team every time we step on the court," he began. "And I donít think, as a team, that we did. Some players individually did tonight, like Spencer (Hawes). Spencer came out and he played a great game. He made some mistakes, but he played hard. Thatís the main thing. His effort was there.
Moore mostly looked down, as he was nearly done putting his street clothes on but not quite finished sharing his opinion.
"But as a team, we played selfish on both ends of the floor," he continued. "We didnít help each other out on defense, and we were greedy on offense, which ended up turning into easy baskets for them. Every time we play a bad team, people start thinking that, ĎI need to get my stats right, or I need to go at the guy more, but in reality we need to play team basketball on both ends. Iím not saying it's just somebody shooting the ball more, but it could be a guy not setting a screen because heís looking for the ball. You never know what it is until you look at film, but I felt like we played selfish basketball on both ends."
Moore - who had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes - was asked if he was surprised by the absences of center Brad Miller (right elbow bursitis) and small forward Ron Artest (right elbow soreness). The Kings had known they would be without point guard Beno Udrih (lower back strain), but numerous Kings players had said they weren't aware the other two starters wouldn't play until taking the floor for pregame warmups. Miller and Artest were questionable before the Kings' game at San Antonio on Friday, but played.
"No, it never surprises me anymore," Moore answered. "Nothing surprises me anymore. Thatís all I can say." - Sam Amick