Game Recap: DeMarcus Cousins Monster Game Leads Sacramento Kings To Victory


Sacramento Kings come out on top! Finally!

Two weeks ago, tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons was a little more than an early-season home game against an improved, but beatable, Eastern Conference opponent—an all-too-real outlier in what figured to be a trying first 10 or so contests.

The schedule aside, Sacramento’s season has been trying for a variety of reasons. Those most recent include a fourth-quarter collapse against the San Antonio Spurs, an ensuing closed-door outburst from its All-Star center, word that George Karl could be fired, word that DeMarcus Cousins could be traded, and injuries to two of the Kings’ three point guards, Darren Collison and Seth Curry.

As such, what was a winnable home game was suddenly much more; it was now a barometer, of sorts, that would gauge the current state of the Sacramento Kings.

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How would the Kings respond to so much off-the-court calamity? How would Cousins, in particular, play? Would distractions manifest themselves in Sacramento’s team play?

Well, very well and apparently not, respectively.

Despite a late-game charge from Detroit (the Pistons outscored the Kings 22-15 in the fourth quarter), Sacramento advanced to 2-7 on the season, winning 101 to 92.


Was much of the difference.

Though getting back in transition was still an issue, and DeMarcus Cousins/Kosta Koufos lineups struggle to keep up defensively, the Kings’ half court defense was much better than previous games.

By and large, rotations were quicker, attention was sharper, and for the Pistons, clean attempts were much tougher to come by.

As a result, Detroit shot just under 40 percent from the field, just under 30 percent from beyond the arc, and committed 16 turnovers.

DeMarcus Cousins

Was Sacramento’s unquestioned leader.

Offensively, he tallied 33 points on 11-21 shooting from the field, shot 4-5 from three, and made a team-high seven of his team-high 11 free throws. Defensively, nine rebounds left him one board short of his 201st career double-double, though he added one block to his overall line.

Plenty more of Cousins’ plays went unnoticed by the boxscore, though less so by those who watched. This play towards the game’s end stands out.

Rudy Gay

Played much better tonight than he has recently.

Coming into this game, Rudy was shooting under 40 percent from the field, averaging just 16.3 points per game.

In contrast, against the Pistons, Gay accounted for roughly a quarter (25) of Sacramento’s 101 points on just 14 shots, adding one three and four made free throws in five attempts.

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Unlike previous nights, where much of Rudy’s offense came by way of isolated post-ups and forced baseline jumpers that stymied his and his team’s overall offensive rhythm, against Detroit he played within the flow of Sacramento’s offense, taking and making most of his spot-up and one-to-two-dribble pull-up jump shots.

Generally speaking, when Gay is relied upon as Sacramento’s number one scorer, he struggles. It’s no coincidence Rudy found shots tougher to come by without Cousins in the lineup. DeMarcus’s presence helps Rudy’s efficiency, and vice-versa.

Rajon Rondo

Recorded the 24th triple-double of his NBA career, and the second of this NBA season.

Though his shooting was largely ineffective (6-16 overall), his 15 assists and 11 rebounds made up for much of what he and the Kings lost with his ill-fated midrange jumpers.

Next: Game Preview: Pistons at Kings

Mostly lost in the Kings’ constant state of insanity has been Rajon Rondo’s surprisingly-steady influence. His impact on tonight’s game was anything but lost on the Kings and its fans.