The end of this season is beginning to feel a lot like the end of the Paul Westphal coaching era in Sacramento.
There are obvious issues between center DeMarcus Cousins and coach Keith Smart, like there were with Cousins and Westphal.
And just like the end of Westphal's time before he was fired early in the 2011-12 season, Cousins found himself in an unusual spot Friday night coming off the bench.
Cousins played just nine minutes all in the second quarter of the Kings' 117-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins was benched for the first time this season when healthy and dressed for a game. In December, Smart left Cousins in Sacramento for a road game in Portland as part of a disciplinary action for a verbal altercation in Los Angeles.
Smart offered no reason for benching Cousins and not playing him in the second half.
"It was my decision," Smart said. "A coach's decision."
Cousins said there was no need to have a talk with Smart about the decision.
"Nope," Cousins said. "It's his decision."
Cousins then was asked if he was given a reason for the benching.
"I don't have to be given a reason why," Cousins said. "He's the coach."
Cousins then described how he found out he was not starting.
"I walked into shootaround, and (Smart) was like 'Tyreke (Evans), Isaiah (Thomas), John (Salmons), Patrick (Patterson) and J.T. (Jason Thompson), y'all starting,' " Cousins said. "That's how it went."
Cousins was asked if he expected to start Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"You never know," said Cousins, who had six points and two rebounds.
What is known is Cousins yelled at Smart after fouling out of Wednesday's game against Houston and Smart did not take kindly to it.
Cousins also has been frustrated with Smart's substitution patterns, most notably two games last month in Oakland where he didn't play in the fourth quarter.
Cousins said he didn't know if or when he'd play in the second half.
"I wasn't expecting anything," Cousins said. "If it happened, it happened. If it didn't, it didn't."
Cousins played in the second quarter, when the Mavs scored 41 points, to match the most allowed by the Kings in a quarter this season.
It was part of a poor defensive effort that saw Dallas (37-39) score 99 points in the final three quarters on 38-of-67 shooting (56.7 percent).
Marcus Thornton also did not play in the second half. Smart said there was no story to that decision, and that he simply decided to go with a different lineup.
"It was a coaching thing, and we lost the game so, hey, I'll take the blame," Smart said. "Every loss that we have I'll take the blame. I have (49) of them."
Some of the Kings were surprised not to see Cousins or Thornton in the second half, too.
"It was tough, but I mean, you have to be ready," Evans said. "You're professionals, so when Coach calls your name you have to be ready."
Isaiah Thomas led the Kings (27-49), who have lost three in a row, with 29 points. Evans had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Thompson started at center for Cousins and had 16 points and a season-high 16 rebounds.
Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.