The Kings don’t need an excuse to fire coach Luke Walton, but if they’re looking for a way to justify making a move before the NBA All-Star break, then they could just replay the final minute of their home loss Sunday to the Hornets.
Sacramento led Charlotte by eight points with 1:13 to play in the fourth quarter. From that point on, the Kings missed five free throws, allowed two 3-pointers, committed a three-shot foul and gave up a 3-point play, the latter by Malik Monk with 1.4 seconds to go that gave the Hornets an eventual 127-126 victory.
“NBA games are never over and we should know that. We did something similar in Minnesota last year. But come to an end of a game, we have to step up and put teams, opponents out when we have our chances and we didn’t do it,” a stoic Walton told reporters.
The Kings have lost 10 of their last 11 games to fall to 13-21 for the season. They were looking for back-to-back wins Sunday after breaking a nine-game losing streak Friday. They’re 13th in the Western Conference and four games behind the 10th-place Grizzlies.
While Walton was talking about his team learning from the loss and moving on, a lot of Twitter was ready to move on from Walton, who is 44-62 in one-plus season as Kings coach:
The Kings with one of the biggest collapses I’ve seen in a long time.
That might be the end of Luke Walton
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) March 1, 2021
How does Luke Walton have a job.
— Jonn Mathews (@SnackmanJones) March 1, 2021
After this Kings loss Luke Walton can turn in his keys to the gym. This ones over.
— Swiff D ™ (@SwiffD) March 1, 2021
Luke Walton bout to be somebody assistant coach soon
— Lupin Arsène.. (@_Beezo__) March 1, 2021
Anyone know the betting odds on Luke Walton getting fired? I’m trying to win some easy money
— Niko (@nikodaboin) March 1, 2021
The verdict wasn’t unanimous; some blamed the players.
Is it really luke walton’s fault the kings lost? I mean they missed 6 of their final 7 freethrows lol
— t (@terranceseki19) March 1, 2021
Luke Walton not the problem at this point…..
— Jalen Manning (@SlowMoManning) March 1, 2021
But going 1-10 in the last 11 and not being in the top 10 in the conference near the halfway point of the season is the type of coaching math that adds up to a change.