The career highs don't mean as much when the end result is a loss.
Twice in his last six games, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has posted a career high in scoring. The Kings have lost both times.
Cousins scored 41 points Tuesday night, but the Kings couldn't overcome late-game mistakes or Steve Nash's brilliance in losing to the Phoenix Suns 109-100 at Power Balance Pavilion.
Cousins had his way against the Suns, shooting 16 of 25 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Those numbers look good in the box score but not as good as a win would have.
"We still didn't get the win, so it didn't even matter," said Cousins, whose previous career high was 38 points in an overtime loss at Houston on March 26. "We've still got a lot of work to do."
Cousins is the first Kings player to score 40 or more points since Marcus Thornton had a career-high 42 against the Warriors on March 14, 2011.
The Kings started slowly against the Suns, falling behind by 17 in the second quarter. But they regained the lead, 80-79, with 11:46 to play on two free throws by Travis Outlaw.
The Kings stayed close and trailed 94-90 when Cousins made two free throws with 5:24 to play.
That's when Nash took over. He scored the next five points and assisted on a basket by Channing Frye for a 7-0 run that gave the Suns the room they needed to pull out a win. The Kings (19-35) never came closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Nash capitalized on two mental lapses by the Kings.
"In games like this where teams have point guards like (Nash), you've got to be ready for everything," Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas said. "Our coverage was wrong two times in a row, and he hit a three and hit another shot. Those types of plays open it up for teams with point guards like that. He sniffs all the little things out."
The Kings were short-handed. Thornton, their leading scorer, sat out because of a bruised left calf, and John Salmons missed his fifth consecutive game because of a sore right hip.
Thornton has missed eight games this season, and the Kings are 1-7 without him. Tyreke Evans moved from small forward and started at shooting guard for Thornton.
For the second consecutive meeting with Phoenix, Donté Greene started at small forward. On March 4, Greene entered the starting lineup to guard power forward Frye, who plays a lot on the perimeter.
Thomas had 25 points and seven assists for the Kings, and Terrence Williams had a season-high 16 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench.
Coming off one of his best games of the season, Evans had just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting, six rebounds and four assists.
The Kings also hurt themselves by making only 21 of 32 free throws (65.6 percent), while the Suns were 24 for 28 (85.7 percent).
"Close games, you've got to knock those free throws down," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We did a good job of getting to the bonus, which allowed us to get to the free-throw line, but we've just got to make those foul shots."
Nash had 18 points and 12 assists for Phoenix (27-26). Center Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out.