Following Tuesday night’s meltdown vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings big man Richaun Holmes and interim head coach Alvin Gentry took to the podium in apologetic fashion. The Kings had garnered a double-digit lead that was blown in the middle of the third quarter, and at one point, they were down by as many as thirty in a 117-92 loss.
In his first game back from a four-game absence, Holmes spoke to press with passion as he detailed hearing cheers for the Lakers on the Kings’ home floor. something he said will “stick with” him going forward.
“You don’t ever want to hear nobody get chants on your own home floor,” Holmes said. “[It] makes me want to get better, go back to the drawing board and see how we can be better in front of these fans because they deserve more.”
Holmes was just about the only person suited up who looked to be giving a concerted effort in a Kings uniform Tuesday night. This team lacks leadership from a player perspective, and hearing the heart and soul of this team seem like he was out of answers was disheartening.
Gentry echoed Holmes’ sentiment during his postgame media availability on Tuesday and expressed regret for the way his team played.
“I guess the very first thing I should do as a coach is apologize to the fans here,” Gentry said. “They don’t deserve what they got tonight … as the coach of this team, I want to apologize to every King fan out there, because you do not deserve this; you deserve much, much better and we’ll find guys that will give you better. You can’t do what we did the second half.”
“We’ll find guys that will give you better” sticks out to me most in Gentry’s apology. Maybe this team has lost itself in the chaos of the season. As someone who has been on the bench for more than one season, Gentry knows the ins and outs of that locker room.
Do the Kings dislike (or not understand) the brand of basketball we are playing so much they can’t string together a win? Even with the talent that each player brings individually, having a cohesive unit of men on the same page is the only way Sacramento will see victories this season.
Gentry continued to say that his players “should be livid” hearing LA chants coming from a home crowd.
“When you play the way we played the second half, I don’t know how you combat it.” Gentry shared with reporters. “The way you combat it is competing at a high level and you’ve got get things done and you’ve got to win games on your home court so those kind of things don’t happen.”
Gentry’s brutal honesty is sincerely refreshing in contrast to Luke Walton’s poor excuse after poor excuse as to how a 25-point loss can still be considered a “moral victory,” although I take no solace in a coach begging for a city’s forgiveness.
It’s blaring: this roster just isn’t doing it. In order to compete at a high level, Sacramento needs bodies who are going to compete at a high level and keep themselves in games four quarters long. Gone are the days of a “young team” and a “learning curve’. This fanbase deserves a team that is going to fight for it just as much as the city stood behind them in this fifteen-year playoff drought.
It’s pleasing to know that one or two personnel can acknowledge that, but until things palpably change, we’re rinsing and repeating.