Despite rumors he could be headed to Orlando, George Karl became the Sacramento Kings’ third coach this season after agreeing to terms last month.
He and counterpart James Borrego are still looking for more consistency from their respective new teams.
In the midst of a season-high eight-game road trip, the Kings try to hand the last-place Magic a fifth consecutive loss Friday night.
Karl was hired to replace Tyrone Corbin during the All-Star break, just two months after Corbin took over for the fired Michael Malone. Sacramento (21-38) has gone 3-4 under Karl after dropping three of its last four, with its lone victory over that stretch a 124-86 victory over NBA-worst New York during the opener of its trek Tuesday.
The Kings’ woes resumed the following night in a 112-85 rout at the hands of San Antonio, their second 27-point defeat in six games.
Sacramento was held to 37.2 percent from the floor while the Spurs shot 52.9 percent. DeMarcus Cousins, who finished with a team-high 14 points, was forced to sit midway through the second quarter after collecting his third foul.
The Kings were limited to five points after his exit as the defending NBA champions closed the first half on a 21-7 run.
"When he got in foul trouble in the first half, I think that gave San Antonio that inner confidence," Karl said. "He makes us better offensively, but with (Cousins) on the court defensively, statistically, you don’t get much done."
The Kings have allowed 108.1 points per game in dropping 16 of their last 19 on the road. However, they’re going up against a Magic team that’s averaged 90.3 during its four-game losing streak.
Orlando, which had won its previous three for its longest run of the season, is 4-6 since Borrego replaced Jacque Vaughn.
Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 38 points Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough as the Magic (19-43) fell 105-100 to Phoenix. Orlando led by as many as 15 and took a nine-point lead into the break before getting outscored 34-17 in the third quarter.
"We’ve got to find out a way to come out better in the second half," Oladipo said. "We’ve got to put a whole game together if we want to win games.
"We’re learning, we just have to continue to keep getting better. It’s tough right now, but all these things that are going wrong can be corrected, so that’s the bright side of it."
Oladipo is surely at least in part referring to the season-worst seven turnovers he committed, giving the Magic 21 to go with 21 assists.
"We’ve got to stick to the basics and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played," forward Tobias Harris said.
The Magic had dropped four straight to the Kings to match their longest skid in the series before winning 105-96 at Sacramento on Dec. 6. Harris led the way with 27 points as Orlando took advantage of Cousins’ absence due to a viral infection.
Magic leading scorer and rebounder Nikola Vucevic also missed the first meeting due to injury. Vucevic, averaging 19.7 points and 11.2 boards, has scored a combined 11 points on 5-of-18 shooting in three career starts against the Kings.
Harris is averaging 21.8 points on 62.0 percent from the floor over a four-game stretch in the series.