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April 15, 2013
The Morning After: Kings post back-to-back dismal first quarters

HOUSTON - The Kings haven't had anything to play for (as far as the postseason is concerned) for sometime while.

And to start their last two games, they've come out like a team with nothing to play for.

No energy.

No enthusiasm.

Here are some numbers from their last two first quarters:

*The Kings have been outscored 56-37.

*The Kings are shooting 14-for-48 from the field (29.1 percent). Their opponents are shooting 24-for-44 (54.5 percent).

*The Kings have seven assists. Their opponents have 16.

The defense has been especially horrific at times. Sunday's lack of resistance against James Harden was shockingly bad, even for a team that struggles on defense.

Harden missed one of his seven shots in scoring 15 points. He also had three assists. Like a leader is expected to do, Harden came out and set the pace for his team.

"It's your job when you go out to play a guy like that that you have to make it a very difficult game for him because he's going to be a scorer all night long," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "He's going to do that for his basketball team but you've got to take the challenge."

A frustrated Isaiah Thomas tried to set the tone for the Kings Sunday but it didn't matter as the starting five looked lost and disinterested as a unit again.

The starters shot 17 of 47 (36.1 percent) with 13 assists, 10 coming from Thomas.

The Kings talked a lot about finishing strong and making life tough on playoff teams. But lately they haven't mustered the enthusiasm to counter the efforts from San Antonio or Houston.

Next up is Oklahoma City. If this trend continues that game could get ugly tonight - quickly.

*I didn't even realize this because most of his points came with the game decided, but Travis Outlaw led the Kings with 15 points. Outlaw scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter.

*Jimmer Fredette wasn't shy about getting up his shots. He attempted a team-high 14 shots in 21 minutes.

The bench's play in the second quarter was the only spark (again). Fredette, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and Patrick Patterson combined for 17 of the 20 points scored in the quarter.

They helped cut the deficit to three at 45-42 with 4:23 left in the second quarter but couldn't maintain the momentum.

(Forgive the shadow on the video ... another mistake from my adventures as an amateur at capturing video).



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