Kings fail to get hands dirty in stunning collapse to short-handed 76ers

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Kings fail to get hands dirty in loss to short-handed 76ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Kings learned a valuable lesson in their 129-127 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night at Golden 1 Center as their six-game win streak came to an end.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers opted to rest Joel Embiid and James Harden as Sacramento was the last stop of their five-game road trip. As a result, the Kings were the favorites heading into the contest.

As the Kings found out, just because a team doesn't have its two superstars doesn't mean they will roll over.

During the game, it seemed like the Kings were going to run the 76ers out of the arena, leading by as many as 21 points. However, Philadelphia scored 75 points in the second and third quarter combined, which fueled their comeback win.

"We didn't do a great job on the glass, we didn't do a great job at the point on the glass and we didn't do a good job on the weak side," Mike Brown told reporters after the loss.

"... We got to be able to do the dirty things consistently time after time after time, possession after possession after possession, we're gonna have to do it, we're gonna have to get engaged with guys on the back side, we're going to sit down and control the dribble drive, we're gonna have to come over and help early when it comes to us getting beat doing all the little things that take a lot of effort to string together good defensive game because 21 points, I mean we've been down 20 points before and we've come back in one. Obviously, we were up 20 points and the other team came back and won."

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De'Aaron Fox acknowledged that the Kings' inability to stop the 76ers resulted in the blown lead. The 25-year-old echoed what Brown said as the battle in the paint was the turning point where Philadelphia started to dig out of its hole.

"Just too many paint points," De'Aaron Fox told reporters after the loss. "They got in our lane too easily all night ... In the first quarter, we gave up 27 points to 37 in the second quarter, and then from then on, they were rolling. They really rolled in the third quarter. I mean, we were up 21, I think at a time. So you just don't want to give a team life when you're up big. And we did that, and they made us pay."

RELATED: What Malik Monk's Sacramento airport arrival told him about Kings fans

The Kings are NBA playoff contenders this season, but Saturday's loss is a teaching moment for the squad. As they battle for positioning in the Western Conference, Sacramento cannot lose games to teams they're supposed to beat, especially when the opposition decides to rest their star players.

Sacramento will have an opportunity to bounce back against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies -- one of two teams ahead of them in the West -- on Monday at Golden 1 Center.