For such a young team, the Kings have a tendency to begin games looking sluggish and out of sync.

Coach Michael Malone finds himself calling timeouts early to shake the Kings out of their early funks more than he’d like, but it’s necessary.

“I still have not figured that out, and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will,” Malone said. “(With) the personality of our team, you look at it, I’m taking timeouts at the 10-minute mark.”

On Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena, Malone watched 2 minutes, 20 seconds expire before calling a timeout to fix a disjointed offense and blown defensive assignments.

So in the final seconds, the Kings had no timeouts to draw up a play in their 93-91 loss to the Mavericks.

The game ended with a contested fadeaway jumper from DeMarcus Cousins instead of the ball ending up with Rudy Gay for a final shot.

Ray McCallum tried to get the ball to Gay, but the Mavericks, who missed three free throws in the final 18.3 seconds to keep the Kings in the game, swarmed the rookie guard, who had to give the ball to Cousins.

Cousins slammed his headband in disgust after his 16-foot shot over Dirk Nowitzki fell short of the rim.

“I’m fairly quick with my timeouts, and I felt awful that we didn’t have one at the end,” Malone said. “When I take them throughout the game, I feel that they are necessary to stop runs or to clean up any missed assignments, but at the end, we tried to get the ball into Rudy’s hands to let him make a play.”

Gay said it was his “responsibility” to get the ball in that situation.

“I just have to go to the ball,” Gay said. “I can’t expect Ray to be in that situation the next time. I have to just go get it.”

That the Kings have to use timeouts early is a function of youth, Gay said.