Kings held players-only meeting before OT win vs. Timberwolves

Kings held players-only meeting before OT win vs. Timberwolves originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

A frustrated Kings locker room took matters into its own hands after Wednesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, another lopsided affair that didn't sit well with anyone despite coming at the hands of the defending NBA champions.

That's how high the standard is in Sacramento.

Those frustrations led to a 35-minute, players-only meeting Thursday before the Kings boarded a plane to Minnesota, the Sacramento Bee's Chris Biderman reported.

The players-only meeting was the first since Mike Brown took over as Kings coach last season.

“We had a team meeting to talk about [how] we have to take this s--t seriously because we got 23 games left now,” Kings guard Malik Monk told the Sacramento Bee on Friday. “The coaches are going to say what they’re going to say, but we’re out they’re playing.

“We knew we had to come together and outwork somebody.”

The self-imposed wake-up call preceded a huge 124-120 overtime win over the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Target Center, and Brown appreciated his team's call to action.

“I freaking love it,” Brown shared with the Sacramento Bee. “This is me, I’ve been talking internally to our front office, to our coaches, and even to our team, [saying] ‘We won’t reach the heights we can reach until you guys take ownership.’ As a head coach, you can push and carry the group only so far. There’s gotta be a point in time to where it comes from within.

“And they talked to one another, and they held each other accountable, and they take ownership in whatever the heck was going on in front of them. And so, for them to have that for the first time, man, I actually went out and had a drink last night.”

The Kings have been an anomaly this season. Sacramento has suffered a handful of blowout losses and has a head-scratching habit of playing down to its opponents, while still rising to the occasion and going toe-to-toe with the league's elite teams.

Thursday's players-only meeting allowed a hungry Kings team to refocus their energy on battling to the final buzzer night in and night out.

“I think a large part of it is just getting on the same page,” Kings guard Kevin Huerter explained to the Sacramento Bee. “I think it was a time for us players to talk about and take ownership of what we’re doing. Talk about things that we think are successful for us and have been happening on the court, things that aren’t — and just do it in a setting away from the coaches so we can talk about it. So it was productive.”

“We were saying that we just got to come together," Davion Mitchell added. "We can’t just lay down when teams go on runs. We can’t just put our heads down when we’re not scoring the ball. We just got to play harder.”

Sacramento (34-35) currently is the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and sits one game behind the New Orleans Pelicans (36-25) for the sixth and final guaranteed NBA playoff spot.

With 23 games remaining, the Kings still have plenty of time to better position themselves for the playoffs, but it's never too early to establish a sense of urgency.