It’s safe to say the Sacramento Kings have hit a rough patch. Not all of the six straight losses have been a disaster, farm from it.
But the Kings were clearly frustrated after Saturday’s 128-112 loss to the mighty Utah Jazz. Perhaps no one more than De’Aaron Fox, who ripped the officiating about as soon as the topic was broached.
Fox attempted just six free throws — compared to 17 trips to the line for Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who sizzled his way to 42 points.
“S— was godawful,” Fox said. “Mine wasn’t even about me getting there and things like that. It was about the calls they were getting on the other end. If you’re going to call something on one end, call it on the other end.”
Fox wasn’t finished.
“And if somebody’s trying to talk to you, you can’t get in your feelings so quick to where it’s not even a hostile conversation and then you’re saying don’t talk to you. … I mean, you’re coming down guessing on plays where a ball goes out of bounds and they ask you. You don’t know what the f— is going on and you just call something. At least go look at the monitor or something.”
Fox is always honest, never a phony. He is the Kings’ greatest hope, so what he says carries some weight.
Right now, the Kings (22-31) just have to go back to what was working during a five-game winning streak late last month. They are 5.5 games back of Memphis for the West’s playoff spot, but the Kings aren’t looking much like a playoff team.
That’s not the worst thing in the world. It may not hurt to grab another prospect with elite-level potential high in the lottery. This is expected to be a deep draft.
Granted, coach Luke Walton and the players will never play to lose. Despite Saturday’s loss, they displayed some serious fight.
Continuing to fight is precisely what they intend to do.
“The way we played for the majority of tonight is what we need to expect and how we need to play every time,” Walton said Saturday. “And if we do we’ll be OK.”
Fox still erupted for 30 points and eight assists, so the officiating sure didn’t hold him back. Nothing did. Richaun Holmes (25 points, 10 rebounds) was also very good. Buddy Hield added 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
“We’re a team who’s still finding who we are,” Walton said. “When things go well and we’re playing well, we’re a confident group and when we’ve hit some tough losing patches this year, it’s taken a while to get back.”