The DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings lost to the San Antonio Spurs 107-96 on Friday night, and George Karl got his first look at how important Cousins is to this roster. The Kings are just 2-11 without Cousins this season.
An eleven-point loss to the defending champions without your starting point guard and center is respectable. The Kings looked competent, and that’s more than you could say about their previous performances without Cousins in the lineup. Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore were fantastic.
Here is George Karl after the game:
The Portland Trailblazers are in town today, and it looks like the Kings will be with DeMarcus Cousins yet again.
The Blazers are 38-19; good for first place in the Norwest Division, and the 4th best record in the Western Conference. They are coming into Sacramento after impressive back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are legit.
And if you needed further evidence that they view themselves as title contenders, look no further than their trade deadline acquisition of Arron Afflalo. The Kings were also interested in Afflalo at the deadline, and Karl is a huge fan of the veteran guard. That could be an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on today.
DeMarcus Cousins’ absence shuffle’s everyone’s spot in the rotation, and it really exposed the Kings bench on Friday night. They really had a hard time scoring, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nik Stauskas return to the Kings lineup tonight if Cousins can’t go.
We haven’t seen Stauskas play meaningful minutes under Karl this season, but I do think the addition of a veteran point guard like Andre Miller could do wonders for Nik. Miller will know how and when to get Stauskas the ball, which probably sounds easier than it is. Karl has been talking about finding minutes for Nik since he took over. This could be the game he finds them.
As always, check back in to A Royal Pain after tonight’s game for our postgame coverage.
Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trailblazers
Where: Sleep Train Arena – Sacramento, CA
When: 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern
Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
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