The Sacramento Kings have faced their fair share of adversity this season, and the team's fifth loss in a row Wednesday night to the lowly Brooklyn Nets just adds to the long list of their recent struggles.
Adversity is something that the Kings' two marquee players, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, say the team has had trouble dealing with. Cousins was asked after the 103-100 loss to the Nets if he could pinpoint what the main issue is with the Kings lately.
"The effort is there, it's just not from start to finish. I think we've got to be mentally stronger when we hit adversity. Start arguing, you know, we start falling apart. We've got to stay together through good times and bad times," Cousins told Sactown Royalty. "In the beginning of the season we were winning games, guys were, you know, cheering and happy for one another and it was this and that. You know, 'I love this team.' Now, we hit a little adversity, guys score a basket, get a bucket or a stop, whatever the case may be; the bench [makes mild clapping motion]. You've got to be the same through good and bad."
The Kings, of course, kicked off the 2014-15 campaign with a 9-5 start and the fans and players alike were buzzing with excitement. Kings forward Jason Thompson said at the time that they didn't want it to just be a fluke. But after a long stretch of missed games for Cousins and the swap of Michael Malone for Tyrone Corbin at head coach, it unfortunately appears to have been just that, a fluke. The Kings have now slumped to a record of 16-26, which is 10 fewer wins than the Phoenix Suns, who have the 8th best record in the Western Conference.
Rudy Gay agreed with Cousins that the Kings are still trying to figure out how to play through adversity.
"I agree. We definitely have to learn how to do that. We have a young team. We have a very emotional team also ... we're kind of numb to the way we're playing. It's nothing, we just go out there and do it," Gay told Sactown Royalty. "Earlier in the season, it was like we were really moving the ball and we were feeling like a good team and I think we forgot what that felt like."
Gay elaborated when asked by reporters how the Kings can get that back.
"That's the million dollar question I guess, right? But it's a marathon, it's not a sprint everybody knows that. We've played one half of basketball. We played a quarter of the way good basketball, so I think we know what it's like, we just have to get back to that feeling," Gay said.
Kings point guard Darren Collison stressed the need for the team to help each other, communicate and play with defensive intensity.
"Until we figure out those three things, then we won't be a good basketball team," Collison told reporters.
These are the things that were repeatedly mentioned back in November as to why the team was playing so well.
The last time the Kings left for a long road trip, the players felt like it would be a good opportunity for them to get away for a while and bond again. After a disheartening loss Wednesday, another bonding opportunity comes in the form of a five-game road trip that begins in Golden State on Friday.
Sean Cunningham of News 10 has the video of post game comments from Corbin, Darren Collison, Gay and Cousins if you want to check that out.