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  • Mary Schwalm / AP

  • Mary Schwalm / The Associated Press

    Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots over Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Boston. Sullinger scored 31 points in the Celtics' 99-89 win. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Kings’ Cousins takes blame for loss, but Celtics’ bench is the difference

Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 - 9:55 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 - 11:26 pm

DeMarcus Cousins sat at his stall in the visitors’ locker room at TD Garden and repeated two themes:

The first was he was distracted before Friday’s game against the Boston Celtics. The second and most prominent was he said the Kings’ 99-89 loss was his fault.

It’s not often a player who scores 31 points and grabs 16 rebounds will say a loss was his fault, but Cousins did after Celtics center Jared Sullinger matched Cousins with a career-high 31 points and 16 rebounds.

“Lot of mistakes,” Cousins said. “Tough loss. I don’t think I came in focused, either. There were some outside things distracting me ... so I blame myself for tonight’s loss.”

Cousins would not say what had him distracted, but earlier Friday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver selected New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, not Cousins, as Kobe Bryant’s injury replacement on the Western Conference team for the All-Star Game on Feb. 16 in New Orleans.

Cousins believes he deserved to be selected by coaches as a reserve, but he’s the only player in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding who isn’t on an All-Star roster.

New Orleans, like the Kings (17-33), also has a losing record.

Cousins was asked if the announcement was the reason he wasn’t focused.

“I said I was not focused before the game, and I should have been,” Cousins said.

Kings media relations personnel then asked that the topic be changed and there was plenty to talk about from the game, namely how Sullinger was able to have his way against the Kings.

“He had an incredible game,” Cousins said. “There were a couple of possessions where I let him get some offensive rebounds on myself. Like I said, I take the blame for that.”

The Celtics outrebounded the Kings 52-47 and held a 21-18 edge in second-chance points, but the Kings felt like the margin was greater.

The Celtics (18-33) outscored the Kings 28-17 in the second quarter to lead 49-46 at halftime and took control with an 18-4 run to open the fourth quarter.

“We played decent defense at times, but we never finished up the defense with a gang rebound,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “Tip your hat to Jared Sullinger. He came out here and dominated us.”

Cousins took what Sullinger did personally.

“One thing I take pride in is rebounding and not letting the opponent rebound the ball, so I don’t think I did a good job of doing that,” he said. “That was one of the keys for them getting the victory tonight was them killing us on the boards.”

Malone said there was nothing Sullinger did that was out of the ordinary.

“Jared Sullinger outworked us, and that’s unfortunate,” the coach said.

The Kings played without starters Rudy Gay (illness) and Marcus Thornton (right hip contusion), but Boston was without its starting backcourt of Rajon Rondo (rest) and Avery Bradley (ankle) and still managed to win its third consecutive game.

That’s because the Celtics’ bench, which keyed a 10-0 run to start the second quarter as well as the fourth-quarter run, outscored Sacramento’s reserves 37-12, led by Jerryd Bayless with 19 points.

Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and six assists for the Kings. Derrick Williams, starting for Gay, had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Thomas and Bayless were assessed technical fouls in the fourth quarter after becoming tangled with Thomas standing over Bayless. Cousins had to step in to separate the two.

“I don’t like him,” Thomas said without elaborating. “End of story. He’s a fake tough guy.”

The Kings host the Celtics on Feb. 22. That’s plenty of time for Cousins to find his focus and for Thomas to still not like Bayless.


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

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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