Mike Brown, Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown. ESPN Stats & Info/Twitter


  • Mike Brown understands his team's blueprint but wishes they slow down sometimes
  • The Sacramento Kings' preference for pace has bitten them in ankles in Game 4
  • "You can't rely on the referee," Brown says of their dismal decision-making

The Sacramento Kings finds themselves in a precarious predicament after allowing the Golden State Warriors to tie the series at two games apiece and 2023 coach of the year Mike Brown was not pleased with his team's performance.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Brown laid into his players' questionable decisions on the floor and seeming overreliance on referees to blow the whistle for free throw opportunities.

"If I was a fan, what a game to watch... But we made some timely mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter... We want to play fast and we're gonna keep playing fast, but all of our guys are driving into two, sometimes three guys in transition and begging for a call," Brown stated.

"We can't continue to do that. It's a great learning experience for our guys to be able to see because we wasted a ton of possessions in transition, driving and just throwing up some crazy stuff. Space the floor. Stop and spray the ball. If we missed a wide-open three, that is way better than driving and throwing up some crazy stuff."

The Kings have always played at a breakneck speed throughout this season and it was the main reason for their sudden rise to the third seed after decades of disappointment, but as they have learned against the Warriors, the playoffs are an entirely different beast.

Sacramento's otherworldly pace allowed them to become the No. 1 team in the league in terms of offensive rating (118.6) but lacked in putting the same effort on defense as evidenced by their defensive rating (116)–good for 24th in the league.

Against the defending champions, going up to them shot-for-shot has been a mixed bag of success and only now are they understanding that their defense needs to hold up if they are to pull off the massive first-round upset.

As an example of what Brown was talking about with regards to their transition, Domantas Sabonis inbounded the ball to Davion Mitchell and used his quickness to find Keegan Murray running to the rim as Draymond Green, Donte DiVincenzo and Klay Thompson all waited to collapse in the paint.

DiVincenzo did pick up Murray inside the paint and was able to bother him enough to make him miss the shot which opened up the door for the Warriors to run down and find a wide-open Stephen Curry for a 24-foot three – pushing their lead to four points in the middle of the fourth quarter.

The Warriors have certainly looked vulnerable against the Kings, especially in the first two games, but the latter's inexperience with playoff basketball is starting to unravel by dropping Games 3 and 4 to the Warriors.

"At the end of the day, this is what I keep telling our guys, you're gonna have to knock these guys out. You can't rely on the referee, because if I'm a referee, the shots that we're taking at the rim in transition, I ain't call it either cause we're begging for a foul," Brown later added.

The pivotal Game 5 takes place on Wednesday, April 26 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

De'Aaron Fox
De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket for a layup against the Houston Rockets during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center on January 14, 2022 in Sacramento, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images