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October 30, 2013
Postgame notes: Cousins' 30 points one of the best scoring nights in Sacramento history for a season opener

There were some things to like tonight - namely DeMarcus Cousins, Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas - and ultimately a win for the Kings, 90-88, over the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena.

A look of some of what went right, wrong and can be improved for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

*Cousins looked like an All-Star center in finishing with 30 points, 14 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. He made key defensive plays in addition to carrying the offense that saw only two other players (Vasquez and Thomas) score in double figures.

Kings coach Michael Malone said playing Cousins in the post will be a priority. The days of Cousins hoisting jumpers aren't over, but that will be curbed under Malone.

"You watch this team in the past and in playing against them, (Cousins) was a way from the basket a lot," Malone said. "I think he was away too much. He's too talented, too big, too skilled to be just on the perimeter. You let the defense off the hook if you don't post him up."

*Here's where Cousins' 30 points ranks in season openers in Sacramenton Kings history:

Reggie Theus (33 points, 10/31/86 vs. L.A. Clippers)
Otis Thorpe (31 points, 11/6/87 vs. Golden State)
Rodney McCray (30 points, 11/3/89 at Portland)
Cousins (30 points, 10/30/13 vs. Denver)

*Malone did not like allowing 23 points off fast breaks, but said the Kings did better defensively in the fourth quarter by holding the Nuggets to no points off the break in the fourth quarter and 16 points total in the final period.

*Transition defense has to be a focus for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are going to try to run a lot because as they showed Tuesday night, their halfcourt offense is still a work in progress.

And the Clippers have a lot more talent to run with.

*Jason Thompson made one shot, the game-winning dunk with 41.5 seconds to play.

"I just made an aggressive energy play," Thompson said. "It just happened to be the game winner."

*Vasquez and Thomas combined for 31 points and nine assists. Vasquez had 17 points and four assists, Thomas had 16 points and five assists.

*The Kings didn't get much production from their shooting guards offensively. Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore shot 2 of 13 for eight points. McLemore was 1 of 7 and missed some wide open three-pointers.

*Chuck Hayes rolled his left ankle but said it was fine. He couldn't put any pressure on it initially.

*The Kings shot 40.7 percent but held Denver to 43 percent. The defensive energy for the Kings was solid overall. They forced 19 turnovers, too.

*According to Stats LLC, the Kings have the longest winning streak when opening a season at home with 13. The Kings have a 15-1 record in home openers since 1998-99.

*The Kings had lost nine games in a row to the Nuggets.

*As for my pregame predictions, I'm 1-0 on the season. Yay me!!!!



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