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  • MARY ALTAFFER / Associated Press

    The Kings watch during the second half. DeMarcus Cousins, second from right, said, "I can't keep blaming it on myself."

  • MARY ALTAFFER / Associated Press

    Instructions from coach Keith Smart are falling upon the players' deaf ears, DeMarcus Cousins says.

  • MARY ALTAFFER / Associated Press

    The Knicks react in the second half after one of their 19 successful three-point attempts. All-Star Carmelo Anthony, third from left, played only 27 minutes and finished with nine points.

Kings hit rock bottom in blowout by Knicks

Published: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 - 9:04 am

NEW YORK – DeMarcus Cousins leaned back at his stall in the visitors' locker room at Madison Square Garden, dressed all in black.

Despite his apparel, Cousins made it clear he's not the villain from his point of view.

And after the Kings' worst loss of the season, 120-81 to the New York Knicks on Saturday night, Cousins said he's doing his part to try to make things work.

The game wasn't even that close. Sacramento saw an early 18-6 lead evaporate thanks to a 50-15 run by the Knicks, who led by 50 in the fourth quarter.

The Kings have lost four of five on their six-game trip, their longest of the season, and have trailed by double digits in each loss.

Asked why the Kings keep digging deep holes, Cousins said, "Because we won't listen to what coach (Keith) Smart says."

The Kings (17-32) have dropped three in a row and eight of their last 10 games.

Asked what he could do to help the team turn things around, Cousins said, "I think about that all the time. All the time … I can't keep blaming it on myself."

Cousins said he is doing his best to follow Smart's game plan.

"I'm trying," he said. "Sacrificing my game every night."

Asked what Smart has pointed out as problems, Cousins offered an explanation.

"On the defensive end, we're not redding (hedging) on screens, and offensively, bigs have to do a better job of rolling (to the basket)," Cousins said.

Cousins' frustration has boiled over on the trip, during which he hasn't played well for the most part.

Cousins is averaging 13 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 blocks, 2.0 steals and 3.4 turnovers on the trip. In the lone win at Washington, he sat out the fourth quarter partly because of his defense against Emeka Okafor, who had 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Cousins had his best game of the trip Saturday, getting 25 points and nine rebounds. But he also had the worst plus/minus rating of any King at minus-34.

Before the game, Smart addressed Cousins' frustrations with the offense. The coach said Cousins still needs to put in more effort by running the floor to produce easy scoring opportunities and create chances with his rebounding.

Friday's game plan was to slow the game down to keep Cousins more involved. The Kings still trailed big in losing at Philadelphia and scoring 80 points.

"A good player figures out a way to stay involved in the game by getting to the offensive glass when that's a strength that you have," Smart said. "And running the floor and getting some early paint catches."

The 50-point deficit against the Knicks (30-15) was the Kings' largest this season.

"Never in my life," Cousins said when asked if he'd ever been down by 50 in a game. "Not even pickup."

Tyreke Evans called it "the worst game of my career," adding he'd never trailed by 50 in a game.

Evans said some responsibility falls on the players.

"Coach keeps saying blame it on him, but we're the ones out there playing," Evans said. "Can't blame everything on him."

Asked his level of frustration after the latest loss, Cousins said, "I'm just trying to stay quiet."

So is that hard to do?

"Yeah," Cousins said followed by a chuckle.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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