The Sacramento Kings fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 106-100 Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena. Following the game, head coach Michael Malone and the players shared their thoughts with the media on how a lackluster second half did them in and talked about preparing for the Chicago Bulls.
What Went Wrong
Malone: "In that third quarter, I had no idea what we were doing the whole quarter. It was random, one-on-one iso, pound the basketball, and that led to a lot of our turnovers. We had eight turnovers in the second half for 16 points, so I think the breakdowns were offensively, no execution, no ball movement, too many turnovers. And then defensively, Tyreke Evans scores 18 points in the second half. Eric Gordon gets going. We couldn't guard their guards one on one. Our defense starts at the point of the ball and we did a very poor job tonight."
Darren Collison: "Everything was going so well in the first half and then second half for us to come out like that kind of gave them life and then Tyreke [Evans] started getting it going and Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis as well, so we just got to put this past us...we were a little bit too stagnant, that's something we tried to stay away from all season long and we pretty much do a good job of moving the ball. We did in the first half and then in the third quarter we just kind of got too stagnant. The mismatch with Rudy [Gay], we kind of posted a little bit too much, not to say nothing wrong with that, but we can get some more movement into that post-up...Our spacing was a little bit off."
DeMarcus Cousins: "It started on defense. We just completely broke down. We gave this team life tonight. We had them down early and we had them where they were out of it. And we just gave them life. Let Ryan Anderson get going and we knew from the beginning, his ability to stretch the floor. So we just didn't play our scheme the way we were supposed to and we gave this team life."
Ben McLemore: "Second, third, fourth quarters I think we kind of lacked off on the defensive end. I felt like I could have done much better on my defense tonight. My defense wasn't there tonight."
Jason Thompson: "Tonight, we had stretches of how we've been playing defense all year that's made us be a positive, winning team, but we had more stretches where we didn't do that."
What Went Right
Malone: "At halftime we had 16 assists, only seven turnovers. The ball moved; we executed. We looked for each other."
McLemore: "We kept fighting and also, the first quarter we moved the ball. We had 16 assists. The ball was moving and we were getting easy buckets. Defense was great. We just got to get back to who we are on the defensive end."
Collison: "I thought the second unit picked up the first unit, that's probably the positives I could look at."
Thompson: "We didn't quit. We were pretty much controlling most of the game. I think there's times when we could have taken the lead even more. But we know the type of team that we can be."
Cousins: (Was asked if there were any positives to take out of this game): "No. We had 16 assists I believe in the first half. That's about the only thing. This was a terrible game for us."
What's Next: the Chicago Bulls
Malone: "We have to get back to defending. I told our guys, we have to commit to coming into practice tomorrow and get ready for Chicago and if we want to fool ourselves into thinking that we can pick our spots when we want to defend there will be a lot more losses like this. You look at our wins, every win we've had we played great defense for 48 minutes and really limited our opponent's field goals. For them to shoot as well as they did in that second half was unacceptable. That's going to be the same thing on Thursday night against a very good Chicago team. They went into L.A. last night and manhandled the Clippers. So we will have our hands full on Thursday night."
Thompson: "Different style. They're not a team that's going to try and run. So that's what we have to kind of do to them, but we have to protect the ball. They're a real stagnant half-court team, but we've got to be able to know what they're going to do X's -and O's-wise, get stops and try to run them a little bit more. They want to be a more slow-paced team."
Collison: (Asked how you prepare for a team like the Bulls): "You don't, it's going to be a long night on Thursday."
Some fans were upset about Malone waiting too long to put Collison back in the game, leaving Ray McCallum in during the fourth quarter as the Pelicans built up a lead. Here is what Malone said.
"I didn't think Darren had played very well in that third quarter. So I wanted somebody to go in there and run our team. Decision to play Ray in the first half was they have three guards that can break you down off the dribble, very good one-on-one team and I felt Ray's defensive ability would help us hopefully contain some of their guards."