MINNEAPOLIS The official injury report said DeMarcus Cousins missed Sundays game against the Minnesota Timberwolves because of right knee tendinitis.
Kings coach Michael Malone said Cousins simply needed a break, deciding Cousins would sit out the game.
He needs a night off, Malone said. Hes been working his butt off the whole year, so it gives us an opportunity for some of these other guys to play and gives DeMarcus a chance to rest his body after a very long trip. Just a decision to give him some well-deserved rest. His body is pretty beat up.
With Cousins watching, the Kings fell to 0-10 without him this season as a late rally fell short in a 104-102 loss to the Timberwolves at Target Center.
The loss officially eliminated the Kings (23-44) from postseason contention. Sacramento has missed the playoffs the last eight seasons.
That is a formality, as the Kings began looking toward the future long before they were mathematically eliminated.
Malone said one reason he wanted to sit Cousins was to give other players a chance to play. Aaron Gray started for Cousins.
The Kings ended their season-long seven-game trip 2-5. The two wins came at Philadelphia and Milwaukee, the teams with the two worst records in the NBA.
The last two losses were similar in that the Kings had chances late in both games to win. As they did Saturday night in Chicago, the Kings committed just enough mistakes to come up short. They committed 17 turnovers, including seven in the fourth quarter when they led 95-94 with 1:26 to play after two free throws by Derrick Williams.
But Kevin Love answered with a three-pointer and Ricky Rubio stole the ball from Isaiah Thomas on the next possession, helping Minnesota hold off the Kings.
We were there, Thomas said. We couldve won the game just like (Saturday). I had a big turnover in the end. That was a bad one at a bad point in the game. We were in it, we had a chance to win, and we just couldnt capitalize on it.
Malone said its tough to win on the road when you beat yourself with turnovers but praised the effort of the Kings for the second game in a row.
Without Cousins, Williams played freely and aggressively against his former team.
Williams had 26 points and 11 rebounds. The last time he had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game was Feb. 28 against the Los Angeles Lakers, when he collected 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Cousins missed that game due to an NBA suspension for punching Houstons Patrick Beverley.
I think anybody who gets traded wants to play good against the team that traded them, Williams said. Its just human nature. I just wanted to be aggressive. I knew Cousins was going to be out and I was the next man up and coach really wants me to be aggressive.
Minnesota (33-32) also played without its starting center. Nikola Pekovic has a sore right ankle.
Rookie Gorgui Dieng started for Pekovic and posted season highs of 12 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and 37:09 of playing time.
Minnesota is 51/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and, with Pekovic out, didnt complain about not seeing Cousins.
I was surprised, said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. I didnt expect that. We didnt have our big guy playing, either, so maybe they were trying to be fair.