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January 6, 2012
Hayes organized players-only meeting after Denver loss

Kings coach Keith Smart did not have an update on Chuck Hayes' condition following the Kings' 103-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, saying that Hayes would likely have an MRI on his separated left shoulder tonight or sometime Friday.

Hayes was injured in the second quarter fouling Bucks center Drew Gooden, who was making a move to the basket.

He went down to the floor for several minutes before getting up and walking off the court while grimacing visibly and holding his left arm steady across his front.

The Kings' veteran and vocal leader played 8 minutes and 40 seconds in the win before exiting with 5:59 left in the first half. But according to Smart and several players, Hayes' impact on the game began well before tip-off.

Hayes organized a players-only meeting Thursday morning to watch and critique game film following the Kings' 110-83 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, which dropped them to 2-5 to start the season.

At the meeting, said DeMarcus Cousins, players "had our heart-to-hearts, we all discussed what we need to do better, we all held each other accountable. Chuck, he got on the bigs. I got on the bigs. (Francisco Garcia) got on the guards.

"It showed tonight," Cousins said. "We went over film and showed our mistakes, just rotations and how in the offense we catch (the ball) and just stop. So we went over a lot and we got a good thing out of it."

Garcia said he addressed the team, not just the guards, about the need to play together on the defensive end.

Guard Marcus Thornton said the main message players took away from the meeting was that better effort was needed.

Apparent lack of effort and energy had been an issue for the Kings in recent games. It was a different story against the Bucks, as the Kings rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to win in Smart's head coaching debut, just hours after the team announced the firing of coach Paul Westphal on Thursday morning.

"These last couple games, nobody in this room can honestly say they played hard and gave maximum effort, including myself," Thornton said. "No matter if it's tiring games, or three games back-to-back, it's still no excuse for not playing hard."

-- Matt Kawahara



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