Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

March 7, 2013
The Morning After: Looking at the recent struggles of DeMarcus Cousins

OAKLAND - It's been a rough couple of nights for DeMarcus Cousins.

Here's the breakdown of his last two games:

Minutes: 47
Shooting: 3-22
Points: 13
Rebounds: 17
Assists: 6
Steals: 4
Blocks: 6
Turnovers: 5
Fouls: 6

Cousins said the offensive struggles aren't a product of new defensive looks.

"No, nothing I haven't seen already," Cousins said.

Cousins did not play the entire fourth quarter in Wednesday's loss to the Warriors. But if you're looking at reasons Keith Smart would sit his leading scorer, it's more likely to be for defense.

It's also a reason Isaiah Thomas (19 minutes) would sit out in favor of Tony Douglas.

In the two quarters Cousins did not play, the Warriors scored 31 points (second and fourth). The Warriors had 56 in the other two quarters.

Cousins admittedly has work to do on defense.

"I do screw up on defense," Cousins said. "I believe (Tuesday) night I had a career high in blocks (five). I do have areas I've got to improve in on defense but it's going to take time."

Cousins has been benched for defense before. When Emeka Okafor was torching the Kings with his offense, Smart went to Chuck Hayes and Thomas Robinson to slow down Okafor.

When it comes to his offense, Smart said Cousins has to play and through this slump while putting in extra work.

"He's not getting what he wants but that's what happens," Smart said. "You've got to learn how to grow out of these. You've got to learn how to play out of them. You've got to figure out Is it how I'm on the floor playing, do I have to get back to working on some things, get back in the film room, all those things."

Smart's relationship with Cousins recently has been tenuous with the center wanting consistent playing time and Smart wanting consistent play on both ends of the floor.

Smart, however, publicly continues to endorse Cousins as a player. Smart said he wasn't disappointed in Cousins' recently play.

"Basketball players, pros have those nights," Smart said. "You want your best players playing well all the time but on some nights it's going to be that way. Sometimes it's going to happen, some nights it's going to be where you don't get what you want. That's part of being a pro; some nights you've got to step back and look at yourself and say, 'you know what, I don't have it tonight, I'm trying hard but it's just not falling my way' and maybe another group on the floor will play well."

Some other notes from Wednesday's loss:

*Don't be surprised if Douglas' on-ball defense is going to cost Thomas and Jimmer Fredette playing time. Smart has been looking for someone to pressure the ball at the point of the attack and Douglas is already the best the Kings have had at that in quite some time.

*Smart continued to praise the professional approach of the three newest Kings:

"Toney and Patrick (Patterson) who have played together in Houston kind of had a little rhythm and feel for where you might be and I thought he did a great job rebounding, defending, thought he did a great job on David Lee for the most part. He did a good job; I thought this young man that we got now has the right spirit to be a good basketball player and for our basketball team he's perfect. He and Toney, and Cole (Aldrich) didn't get a chance to play tonight, but those three guys are good team basketball players, team first guys, and you've got to have that if you want to move forward in our league."

*Patterson had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench. And he already looks like one of the better three-point shooters the Kings have. But Smart was probably more pleased with the eight rebounds Patterson had, nearly double his season average:

"Well I'm always challenging him to be a better rebounder than what he has been over his career. But because he has the ability to space the floor and make those shots from the corner threes, that was the biggest thing there, with him being wide open on penetration and guys knew that he would be there."

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