Following yet another loss that could have been a win, Sacramento Kings fans are left to wonder why the team can't put away winnable games. The Kings currently sit one game outside the eighth seed in the West, and yet the team often plays like they can't be bothered to give full effort. Maybe it's a coaching issue. Maybe it's a player issue. Maybe it's a combination of both. But the team needs to start acting like these losses matter.
Rudy Gay's postgame comments were particularly indicative of the issue with the team.
Rudy Gay: "We've got a game tomorrow. If we win that one this one won't even matter."— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) December 28, 2015
Rudy Gay: "We lost a game we thought we should have won. It happens I guess."— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) December 28, 2015
I don't want to paint this as "Rudy Gay doesn't care about winning, but these losses do matter. The loss to Charlotte, the loss to the Trail Blazers, they all matter. I'm more willing to excuse the no-shows in the second nights of back-to-backs. Those are difficult games to win, and the Warriors game on Monday will be no exception. The West isn't as strong as it has been in years past. The Kings are legitimate contenders for the playoffs. The playoffs. But even though the West isn't as strong, the Kings aren't the only team attempting to rise into the postseason. A loss here, a loss there, those matter at the end of the season. One or two losses will likely be all that separates the 8th seed from the 9th.
It's been a long time since the Kings had reason to care about a random loss in late December. Our season is usually already over. We can't fall into the habit of not caring about these losses. And neither can the players. These losses all matter.
I'm afraid we're going to look back at losses like this in April and wonder what might have been.