Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Kings center DeMarcus Cousins walks off the court during a timeout in the final seconds of Friday night's game against San Antonio.

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Cousins plagued by foul trouble in Kings' loss

Published: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 - 11:16 am

This was supposed to be a big game for DeMarcus Cousins.

He loves playing against the best in the NBA, and he was facing San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan.

But there wasn't as much Duncan vs. Cousins as he would have liked during the Kings' 97-86 loss to the Spurs on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

That's because the Kings center was limited to 22:58 on the floor because of foul trouble. Cousins was called for five fouls, the third time in six games he has played 25 minutes or fewer because of fouls.

Cousins' fourth came as the Kings were rallying in the third quarter and he blocked a shot by Duncan.

"Y'all saw the game," Cousins said. "I really don't have to talk much about it. It was still a good team, but I'm not blaming my teammates for this loss."

Without Cousins to worry about for important parts of the game, Duncan found his rhythm. He finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, four blocked shots and three steals.

Cousins finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

Kings coach Keith Smart said Cousins' foul trouble "changed the game. I won't go too deep into it, but having one of our best players, a post-up guy who was ready and engaged to have a good game tonight, that changed a lot. He couldn't do what we needed him to get done."

Cousins eventually settled in a bit during the fourth quarter and had a spirited matchup in the post against Duncan.

The play was physical, and there was talking between Cousins and Duncan but nothing that appeared out of the ordinary.

"It was a competitive big-man battle," Cousins said. "But some people want to say people are immature and go on TV and make comments about it."

Cousins was upset about comments made by Spurs television analyst and former NBA player Sean Elliott but didn't elaborate.

Regarding his matchup with Duncan, Cousins said: "Trash-talking is part of the game. I have the utmost respect for Tim Duncan. So me trash-talking Tim Duncan is not being disrespectful.

"I understand he's going to be a Hall of Famer. He's the greatest power forward to ever play this game. But for (Elliott) to go on TV and say the comments that he said, that's immature."

Cousins has said in the past how much he likes playing against Duncan, who is in his 15th season.

"Me and Tim, we're good," Cousins said.

The Kings, meanwhile, continue to be slowed by poor shooting.

Sacramento (2-4) forced 20 turnovers by the Spurs (5-1) and attempted 91 field goals, 19 more than San Antonio.

But the Kings made three fewer shots from the field in shooting 35.2 percent (32 of 91).

The Kings failed to capitalize on their easy shots, making only 25 of 52 shots in the paint. The Spurs made 20 of 31 shots in the paint.

"Overall, we're just not shooting," Smart said. "If we make 15 of the shots in the paint that we had, it's a different story. But obviously the long perimeter shot is not working right now, either."

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