A hallmark of George Karl's teams is that they run. They run on defense, they run on offense. We saw this in Friday's game against the Boston Celtics, and it carried over in the first quarter of Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The problem with adjusting to this style midseason is that players can't be expected to adjust their conditioning so quickly. Starting the Karl era on a home-and-away back to back certainly didn't help the transition. The Kings started strong, but fatigue soon seemed to set in, as the Clippers destroyed the Kings in the second quarter. The Kings would not recover.
DeMarcus Cousins in particular seemed to be lacking his usual energy. He was missing easy shots, clanking jumpers off the front of the rim, and generally looking sluggish. Cousins eventually let his frustration get the best of him, throwing up some ugly attempts and hoping for foul calls that would never come. Along the way he picked up a technical foul thanks to a Spencer Hawes flop. It will almost surely be rescinded by the league. Cousins led the Kings with 21 points, but really didn't have a good game. The other Kings just had bad nights as well.
Karl once again relied heavily on Andre Miller and Ray McCallum, even playing the Ray and Dre backcourt together for extended stretches. It seems to work well, as they pairing provides solid ball handling and good size on defense. We'll see if this continues when Darren Collison eventually returns. Ray had a solid night overall, finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds, 5 assists, two blocks and a steal.
David Stockton, nephew of Don Stockton, made an appearance. He's with the Kings on a 10-day contract. He is adorably tiny when playing among NBA players. He managed to put himself on the stat sheet, but generally looked overmatched on the court. I wouldn't expect him to be with the Kings past this contract, barring injuries.
The Kings will get a much-needed break before resuming play on Wednesday when Sacramento hosts the Memphis Grizzlies. This is Karl's best opportunity to get significant practice time with the team before the end of the year. Karl said in his introductory press conference that there would be some ugly games. This loss gave Karl ample opportunity to tinker with lineups and play guys who normally wouldn't see game action. It was a brutal loss, but we knew Karl was unlikely to be undefeated as Kings coach.
- Omri Casspi had a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 11 points.
- Dahntay Jones is still in the NBA, and plays for the Clippers. This blew me away.
- Nik Stauskas got in the game, but only once the game was pretty well out of hand. He played 14 minutes, passed up some good looks, took some bad looks, and finished with six points.
- Ben McLemore really struggled, scoring just nine points on 12 shots.
- Jason Thompson cannot make an entry pass to save his life, and should never try again.
- Austin Rivers let the ball roll up to preserve the clock. He did this while the Clippers were up 30. He also pushed to score with 10 seconds left while the Clippers were up 20. He doesn't seem too bright. Rivers did lead the Clippers with a career-high 28 points.