Pacers Assistant Coach 1-1 Taking Over for Larry Brown
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) _ It was in Europe, far away from the NBA spotlight, but the record will show that Billy King was 1-1 as a head coach in his first two games.
After a three-point victory Friday in Berlin over the Seattle SuperSonics, King’s Indiana Pacers lost 82-72 against the same Sonics in Sunday’s exhibition game in this southern Spanish city.
``In Berlin it felt great to get the win,″ said King, an Indiana assistant who was given the reins when coach Larry Brown was unable to make the two-game European swing following surgery.
``But losing here when we didn’t get the effort, I know a little how Coach Brown feels,″ King added. ``This is definitely what I want to do. It’s a hard job, but hopefully one day I’ll get one as a head coach.″
He probably will. Prior to Friday, the 30-year-old King had never been a head coach at any level of basketball _ much less the NBA.
``I’ve been an assistant here (NBA) and in college, doing games on television _ it feels pretty familiar,″ King said.
In Sunday’s game, neither team had any offense and both looked tired and lethargic after the long trip over and Friday’s game in Germany. It was pure exhibition basketball.
There was so little offense that the sellout crowd of 9,100 got on the teams several times with whistles and jeers. They both now have 3-2 records.
``The fans had a right to whistle because some of the effort wasn’t there as it should have been,″ King said. ``It’s a long trip, a long way from home and guys are dragging. There just wasn’t much intensity out there.″
The Sonics won with solid defense backed by 21 points from German Detlef Schrempf, 17 from Sam Perkins and 15 from Gary Payton. Indiana was led by Erick Dampier with 12. Brent Scott and Fredrick Hoiberg had 10. Reggie Miller, playing 22 minutes, had eight after scoring 37 in Berlin.
Seattle’s offense is lost without Shawn Kemp, who’s involved in a contract dispute with the club. Coach George Karl said he expects to see Kemp in camp today when the club returns home.
``I’m hoping that come Monday he (Kemp) will be in camp and will work with us,″ Karl said. ``I think he’s in Seattle now getting a physical, although I have nothing confirmed.″
``When Shawn comes back, hopefully our offense will get back in shape because right now we’re awful and struggling. We’re pretty ugly,″ Schrempf said.
If the Seattle regulars were only so-so, the bench was much worse _ which worried Karl more than his absent offense.
``Defensively, we were super,″ Karl said. ``I’m very happy with how our starters played, but our bench was awful. ... And when they were out there, it was very sloppy.″ .″
Seattle’s five starters _ Schrempf, Perkins, Payton, James McIlvaine and Hersey Hawkins _ produced 68 points in 132 minutes of playing time. The bench got 14 in 108 minutes. As a team, the Sonics shot 43.8 percent from the floor. Indiana was a lowly 32.9 percent.
The Pacers had their own absentees. Rik Smits has been out five weeks since having surgery on both feet for a nerve condition. He could return in two weeks. Brown is recovering from hernia and knee operations last week.
NBA officials said they will play next year’s McDonald’s tournament in Spain or France, although no city has been picked. The event pits the NBA champions against winners from five other leagues or continental playoffs. A South American representative will be invited for the first time.