Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 3, 2013
The Morning After: Knicks play like a team while Kings don't

NEW YORK - There was a lot wrong with the Kings Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

But the biggest difference between the Kings and the Knicks was the Knicks played for their coach and each other while the Kings appeared to play with separate agendas.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson has an opportunity to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars so his players rallied to make something happen.

"We knew how important this (game) was," said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. "We made our adjustments. We felt like we owed them one. Other than that, we wanted to do it for our coaches to have an opportunity to coach in the All-Star game."

The Kings couldn't be further from that.

They are playing fractured basketball and are treating Keith Smart like a substitute teacher, with the current ownership position putting Smart's job in question beyond this season.

DeMarcus Cousins has taken to calling out Smart, who had been his biggest advocate.

So I asked Cousins if all his teammates were sacrificing for each other and buying into what Smart wants.

"I know I'm trying to do my part," Cousins said.

Cousins has been frustrated with Smart's substitutions and wants more touches on offense.

Smart wants Cousins to work harder. He doesn't want to see Cousins trailing on plays and wants to see him working to get offensive rebounds and make better decisions when he has the ball.

But the dynamic of this relationship has been in peril since their blowup in December that led to Cousins' two-game suspension, a penalty that would have been longer if basketball president Geoff Petrie and Smart hadn't been overridden by the Maloofs.

Since the announcement the Maloofs had an agreement to sell a controlling share of the team, players realize a new boss will be in town - regardless of what city the team plays in - and Smart has been getting the substitute teacher treatment.

It's shown in their play and Cousins' willingness to call out his coach is another sign.

It's feeling a lot like Paul Westphal's final days as coach last season.

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