OAKLAND - Obviously, Michael Malone was not happy after tonight's game.
The pre-Malone Kings were on display tonight. Where bad shots were hoisted and defense appeared optional in a 98-87 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Malone called out the "lack of fight, lack of competitive spirit" that was absent most of the night.
That's most evident in the Warriors shooting 51.3 percent and Stephen Curry (22 points, 12 assists) and Klay Thompson (27 points) having their way most of the night.
The Kings played a lot like the Kings of recent that seasons that at times looked and admitted to being overconfident.
But the Kings have no reason to be overconfident at this point. If they were, the Warriors put them back in their place.
Here's what Malone said after the game:
"I don't think it had anything to do with missing shots. I thought our energy, the fact that we were not read to play, is what set the tone the whole night. They came out the first two possessions and posted up Andrew Bogut, he got layups at the rim. No resistance, no fight, no pride, obviously we didn't shoot the ball well tonight and that contributes to it but we didn't shoot the ball well against Denver but we defended and got a win. Tonight we didn't shoot the ball well; we didn't defend, especially from the three-point line. We don't have the greatest talent in the NBA, I've said that many times before so we have to be a work team. If we think we can show up to a very good basketball team in their house and just go through the motions, what's going to happen is what happened tonight; we're going to get our ass kicked. I give the guys a lot of credit who were in the game the third and fourth quarter, at least they competed. I told them at halftime, I'm not a great coach. If I have to coach effort we're in a lot of trouble and I thought I was coaching effort the whole night until that third and fourth quarter."
*The starting lineup's trend of falling behind to start games has show up again in the regular season.
The Kings starters were especially bad from the start, beginning with Andrew Bogut without much of a fight to start the game.
"Obviously, getting down by big leads that started in the preseason. It happened to us in Portland, it happened to us against Golden State at home; it happened against the Clippers one game. Sometimes that's not effort, that's just that we're not playing, making shots but tonight was one game that really stands out; we were not ready to play. I don't know what it was, this was our first back to back game, we didn't have any back-to-backs in the preseason. I don't know if it was brand new to our guys this season the first back-to-back but I just thought the effort, the lack of fight, lack of competitive spirit was really, really poor tonight for the most part."
Greivis Vasquez added this:
"We're letting people push us around and they did whatever they wanted today, so we've got to come with more fire. We can't really let our offense dictate our defense so we've got to get better defensively and that's got to be the challenge the whole year. The good thing about it is that it's only the third game. We're going back home, we've got to defend our home court advantage and hopefully win games at home."
*The Kings have allowed their last two opponents to shoot 50 percent or better.
Vasquez said communication has to improve on defense:
"We've got to be more mature. That's the biggest thing. We've got to talk. We've got to communicate better. We've got to understand that in order for us to win it's not about who scored the most, it's who gets the most stops. Our stops are going to get us our offense. Our best offense is going to be our defense. Sometimes we forget about that and we just worry about how we're going to get it done or try to outscore the other team. We're going to have to do it defensively and it's not only one guy. We've all got to be engaged, we all have to communicate, we all have to do it as a team. That's why at the end of the year whoever wins the championship is the team that plays the best defense."
*This is Malone on his postgame message for the team:
"I'm never just going to let it go; I'm not going to beat a dead horse dead by any means, I just told them after the game, we cannot just show up and just go through the motions. I was in Cleveland and we had the best record in the NBA two years in a row because we had the best player. There were nights where we could just chug along, but I hate to break it to everybody, we don't have LeBron James, we don't have any great, great players on this team. We do when we play hard and we play with effort. DeMarcus [Cousins] has shown that when he comes out and plays with energy and fire and emotion, he is arguably one of the best big men in the NBA. But as team, it wasn't just DeMarcus, I want to make that clear. As a team tonight our effort was nowhere near where it needs to be."
You would think the Kings wouldn't need that reality check. Better to get it now, right?