After a lengthy standing ovation for Karl from the crowd at Sleep Train Arena, the Sacramento Kings gave up several wide open shots to the Boston Celtics Friday night and fell behind by 16 points.
After the game, Karl took the blame for a defensive game plan that gave the Celtics several wide-open shots.
"The wind was knocked out of me at the start. I don't know what the score was. But that didn't feel very good. I actually thought the game plan was a mistake and my fault."
Karl credited the team's second unit for the turnaround. Newly-acquired guard Andre Miller provided veteran leadership by helping increase defensive pressure on the Celtics. Miller finished the game with eight points and four assists.
"He (Miller) knows the game. He makes guys better," said Karl.
Sacramento led Boston 28-27 after the first quarter.
Forward Omri Casspi had 12 rebounds off the bench as the Kings would control the game through the middle of the fourth quarter. All-star Demarcus Cousins had 31 points and 15 rebounds. Rudy Gay added 28 points and three blocks.
Boston would trail until halfway through the fourth quarter. Boston's Tyler Zeller hit two free-throws to cap a 10-2 run and put Boston up by one. But, Gay, Cousins, and Miller scored Sacramento's final seven points and added two blocks in the final minutes. Final score: Sacramento 109, Boston 101.
Cousins had his 30th game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also had nine of the team's 24 turnovers.
"We had a lot of mistakes with the high amount of turnovers. But I believe that 'll be cleaned up. We just have to keep working, keep growing, and finish this season off strong," Cousins told CSN Bay Area.
Karl and the Kings will try to make it two wins in a row Saturday night. The Kings will play the the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Sacramento will then play three straight at home before embarking on an eight-game road trip.