Kings notes: Cousins attends summer finale

Published: Saturday, Jul. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 21, 2013 - 10:46 am

LAS VEGAS – The player who has been described as the Kings' cornerstone took in the summer league finale from the end of the bench.

Center DeMarcus Cousins arrived Friday morning and watched the Kings end their summer league season with their only victory, 93-87 over Atlanta at Cox Pavilion.

"He was our good-luck charm," said Kings summer league coach Chris Jent. "If he'd been here all week, we might have got some more wins."

Cousins flew in from Southern California and played at Impact, a training facility popular with NBA players, before attending the summer league game.

Cousins will return to Las Vegas next week as part of the USA Basketball minicamp.

Cousins did not speak with the media, except for an interview on NBA TV. He was asked about the changes to ownership, the front office and coaching staff as he enters his fourth NBA season.

"To be honest, we came into every season with something to deal with," Cousins said. "Just make the best of it and try to stay focused and play your game."

Cousins said he continues to work on his overall game but with a special emphasis.

"I really want to improve the defensive end this year," Cousins said. " … That's my main thing – just being better on the defensive end."

When former coach Keith Smart benched Cousins late in games, it was usually for defensive reasons.

The coaching staff and players were happy to see Cousins at Friday's game.

Other veterans attending games were Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette, Jason Thompson and recently acquired Luc Mbah a Moute.

Rookie guard Ben McLemore, who scored 23 points in the second half, said Cousins gave him a pep talk at halftime.

McLemore said Cousins told him to "keep working, keep your head in the game, keep playing ball."

Kings coach Michael Malone, general manager Pete D'Alessandro and former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, a general partner in the new ownership group, visited Cousins and his family in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., earlier this month.

Consolation – Friday's games were for teams that had been eliminated from the summer league tournament.

The remaining eight teams resume tournament play today.

Stoppage – With 7:43 left in the third quarter, the Chicago vs. Dallas game was stopped because of a leaky roof during a thunderstorm.

The roof leaked in front of Dallas' bench. Play resumed after a brief delay, and an attendant used towels to keep the floor dry.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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