AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - There has been a constant theme after Kings losses that came up again Friday night after the Kings blew an 11-point lead and lost to the Detroit Pistons 114-108.
The Kings have to play smarter basketball.
The Kings make the game hard on themselves with mistakes that come from not sticking to the scouting report or not making the simple play.
The Kings have lost four in a row, but it's not a stretch to say they should have won two of the first three games of this six-game road trip (at Chicago, at Detroit).
The simple play Friday night was to give the ball to DeMarcus Cousins, especially in the fourth quarter as the Kings began to lose control of the game.
Veteran Ben Wallace was having a hard time containing Cousins as Greg Monroe had earlier. Every time Cousins touched the ball, something good seemed to happen for the Kings.
But Kings coach Keith Smart still had to call a timeout late in the fourth quarter to tell the team to get the ball into Cousins.
Cousins said he tried to contain his frustration. Smart was visibly frustrated late, too.
But the Kings better figure this out fast - if they're going to win games it's going to have a lot to do with Cousins - so get him the ball.
"They're going to have to figure it out because that's where we're going," Smart said. "You have to understand this is where the ball is going to go and you have to get used to the ball going to our big guy because he's going to keep growing and that's where we're going because the game becomes so easy when you have a big man who can play like that and guy who wants to pass if he's doubled. They're going to have to learn it and get it fast because that's where we're going when he's playing well."
Smart has not tried to censor Cousins when he demands the ball on nights like Friday (26 points, 15 rebounds) or when he tells teammates to run the offense.
One of the problems former coach Paul Westphal had was Cousins getting on his teammates when they resorted to one-on-one play, which has been a problem for the Kings for some time.
Cousins said the Kings made the Pistons game hard.
"It's common sense," Cousins said. "We were up. There's no need for the quick jumpers, three-point attempts. We're up. They're chasing us, we're not chasing them."