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December 31, 2011
Kings 'look lost' in 114-92 loss to Knicks

The Kings fell behind early against the New York Knicks and never recovered in a 114-92 loss at Power Balance Pavilion that had players voicing their frustration after the game.

Much of the discontent stemmed from a sluggish offensive performance in which the Kings shot 34.9 percent, had just 15 assists and never seemed to find any kind of flow.

The Kings reached the free-throw line 41 times as players tried to drive to the rim, but continued their early-season free-throw woes by making just 26 of those 41 attempts.

"We just look lost," said guard Tyreke Evans. "We're just playing off our natural talent, that's how we get our points. It's terrible right now, man. We've just got to figure something out.

"I don't know where we're at right now as a team," Evans added. "I don't even think we're out there as a team. It seems like everybody's out there for themselves."

It was the Kings' third consecutive loss and their second straight at home.

After the loss to the Bulls on Thursday night, coach Paul Westphal urged his players to pull together and rely on each other in times of adversity.

The common consensus was that the team had one of its best practices of the season on Friday, but the energy did not carry over into Saturday's game.

Asked what isn't translating over from practice into games, center DeMarcus Cousins said: "It's translating over, but us players have got to play hard. And do what Coach says."

Are players not doing what Westphal says?

"That's what he's emphasizing after these losses, that we haven't been running his offense," Cousins said. "We've got to do what he says."

Asked what the Kings are trying to run on offense, Cousins said: "I mean, we're running the offense that he put in in practice."

Marcus Thornton had a team-high 14 points for the Kings, who got contributions off the bench from Jason Thompson (13 points) and Donte Greene (10 points in 12 minutes).

The Knicks had six players in double-figure points, led by forward Carmelo Anthony, who had 23 points. Center Tyson Chandler added 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, and rookie Josh Harrellson, who started in place of Amar'e Stoudemire, had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

"They jumped on us early," Westphal said. "They were getting threes, they were executing and jumped on us. We were never able to really crawl back in the game. I thought Isaiah (Thomas) came off the bench, Donte came off the bench, and JT came off and gave us some really good energy. But it wasn't enough.

"They spread the floor really well, they moved the ball, they gave us a lesson on pick-and-roll execution, and knocked us out pretty good."

As the Bulls did Thursday night, the Knicks took command of the game early with a 15-0 first-quarter run and led 44-22 in the second quarter despite a slow start by Anthony and the absence of Stoudemire, who sat out with a sprained ankle.

The Knicks hit 8 of their first 11 three-point attempts. The Kings finished 6-of-22 from beyond the arc.

Evans said the Knicks' fast start was a "little bit" deflating.

"They spread the offense, pick and roll, guys got open, they knocked down shots," Evans said. "It seemed like every team we play, it looked easy when they played, except the Lakers game. We made them work. Other than that, teams just kind of get what they want on us and we can't get what we want on them.

"We've got to work as a team. Everybody keeps blaming the coach about the plays, the plays aren't good, but hey, it be like that sometimes. We've just got to play."

Forward-center Chuck Hayes, who had a game-high 13 rebounds, said the Kings played with "no energy."

"We had our best practice of the year yesterday," Hayes said. "And it's like we come out, we don't know how to carry it over. It's like we step on the floor and we go through the motions. It's discouraging.

"How bad we looked tonight, we can forget all about this the way we win tomorrow," Hayes said. "The way we're feeling right now can be forgotten if we win tomorrow."

-- Matt Kawahara



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