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Poor defense, lack of communication plagues Kings

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The Minnesota Timberwolves came into Sacramento and handled the Kings with ease, leaving George Karl and his team searching for answers on the poor defensive performance.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that was right against the Milwaukee Bucks was not against the Minnesota Timberwolves. A lack of practice in between games may be the problem right now for the Sacramento Kings, but that is one of many problems when the concepts of giving up on plays and lack of communication are brought up by the team after a game.

The Timberwolves moved to .500 (8-8) on the season after defeating the Kings 101-91 Friday night in Sacramento. Without DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup, Rudy Gay went 1-13 from the field. And while Rajon Rondo may have continued his nice stretch of games with 16 points and 16 assists, it wasn't nearly enough. In a rare move, even for a poor shooting night, Gay ducked out of the locker room before media got the chance to speak with him. The elusive Rondo was also nowhere to be found, leaving Darren Collison and Omri Casspi to take the bulk of the media session after head coach George Karl had tried to explain what happened in the lethargic performance.

Defense

George Karl: "Second half I didn't have any trouble with our defense, but then we were frustrated offensively. First half, I had all sorts of trouble with our defense and we just don't have a luxury with Cuz not playing to not give an effort defensively."

"Defensively, at times, we do the right things. We have weaknesses there, our presence on the ball - our 1, 2 and 3 men got to take more pride. Our big guys for the most part do a good job, but tonight we went to double team a little bit scrambling and we didn't rebound the ball so there's holes in different ways."

Darren Collison: "Offensively we're scoring easily, it's just defense ... we're not playing defense consistently and that just starts with effort; effort and energy. We've got a find a way to put our foot on the game and hopefully we need to get out and get some really good starts. The second unit needs to play much faster so it is a lot of combination of things but the biggest thing is our defensive breakdowns, we're just having too many defensive breakdowns."

Omri Casspi: "No lack of urgency defensively tonight. They got whatever they wanted to get and we couldn't get enough stops." "We felt like going into the game, they got some guys that we showed them different things and then later in the game things didn't work so we tried to force different things on them and so we started trapping a little bit on the pick and rolls. Kind of felt we were a little flat earlier in the game with switching and stuff like that."

"I feel like we have the personnel to defend so we need to do a better job defending."

Underestimating opponents

Karl: "I think in a lot of ways mentally ... we're not respecting our opponent because this [Timberwolves] is a good young team." "We tried to express how talented and long these guys were. Milwaukee has a very similar type of roster and we went after them, probably at both ends of the court."

Casspi: "That's bad basketball. We're not in that position. You're never in this position in basketball, the game is too good, you can't cheat the game."

Lack of communication?

Collison: "You look at some of the games we end up losing, we're a little bit indecisive out there and we're not communicating, whatever the case may be, it's our defensive breakdown."

Willie Cauley-Stein: "I don't feel like our defense is bad, I think we just give up on some plays and they might hit a three or they're going to get a foul. Some plays we've got some mental letdowns and give up second chance points, that's a big thing."

Kosta Koufos: "I think it's [defensively] more of a team thing, bigs have got to communicate a little bit more, guards got to go through screens a little bit better, but it's a combination of everything."

Karl: "The mental part of the NBA is so underrated, under-talked about and under-thought about. It is a talented game, but your mind and your focus and your demand and your discipline - so much of it is just preparation and mental toughness." "With all the injuries and personalities of the roster, different starting lineups, maybe it is finding a connection that is more consistent. You've got to blame me as much as trying to find answers with my job and in the end, I'm the win-loss guy."

***

We're now 17 games into the season and many assumed it would take about 20 games for the Kings to gel with so many new players.

There is always the next game.

Oh, the next game is Saturday in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors...