“It’s the most disappointed I have been in my 34 years in the NBA. I can honestly say that. That performance was absolutely ridiculous.”
Returning to the bench following a 5-game absence while in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, Sacramento Kings head coach Alvin Gentry opened his post-game press conference with brutal honesty and absolute disgust in his team’s performance following a 127-102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at the Golden 1 Center.
The truth is, Gentry has not seen anything if this was indeed his most disappointing loss of his career. Long-suffering Kings fans have experienced much worse over the past 36 years, and this kind of defeat is nothing new in Sacramento. Apathetic Kings fans have likely already brushed this one off as the normal.
But there is never a need for anyone to ever accept such a long string of inconsistency from a professional franchise, and Gentry is beginning to see his coaching legacy suffer the same fate as so many past coaches in the capital city. Sacramento has a way of breaking even the NBA’s most decorated coaches.
It’s the one thing this franchise is consistently good at.
On to the game, if we must…
The Kings did welcome back some much-needed reinforcements with the return of De’Aaron Fox (12 points, 5 assists), Terence Davis (15 points), and Marvin Bagley (3 points, 3 rebounds). But, aside from a couple brief moments, none of them were particularly effective against an aggressive Memphis defense.
Sacramento did find a way to hang tough during the first half and held a narrow 50-49 lead at the break.
However, in the third quarter, the Kings became completely focused on the referees and lost focus on their opponents on the court and the game quickly fell apart. Memphis scored 40 in the 3rd and 38 in the 4th. Game over.
The Grizzlies were more physical and just pushed the Kings around throughout the second half. Straight-line drives to the hoop, second and third chances via offensive rebounds, and wide-open 3-pointers. It was like watching a video game and your 6-year-old cousin was playing as the Kings, and he had never played the game before.
Some of the numbers that stood out:
Sacramento was outrebounded by a 53-38 mark, including a 19 to 9 differential on the offensive glass.
Harrison Barnes finished with 12 points and seven rebounds but was a game-worst -36 in +/-.
Richaun Holmes played just 13 minutes and finished with four rebounds and no points. He battled foul trouble all night, but he truly was a non-factor when on the court.
Buddy Hield decided to take the night off. In 24 minutes, he was 0-3 from the field and scored just two points.
Sacramento faces the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night at the G1C. They’ll likely win the game, but that won’t make these greater issues go away. Something more must give before the February trade deadline if Gentry, general manager monte McNair, and any of the other decision-makers expect to be around to see the 2022-23 season.