This was the kind of game in which it was easy to get stuck watching DeMarcus Cousins.
It’s just not fun when the Kings still lose by 20 points.
“Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “He was pretty good. He had a nice ballgame.”
It wasn’t a nice game for the Kings, who were held to a season-low point total in being drubbed by the Dallas Mavericks 99-79 Sunday at American Airlines Center. With the loss, the Kings ended their three-game trip 1-2, losing to a Mavs team that entered Sunday tied with Philadelphia for the worst record in the NBA.
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The Kings’ offense was problematic most of the game. Though Cousins dominated the undermanned Mavs with 33 points, only one other King scored in double figures, and Sacramento shot just 39.5 percent.
Their 3-point shooting was off again, as the Kings went 8 for 31 from beyond the arc.
It didn’t help that the team’s second-leading scorer, Rudy Gay, missed his third straight game because of a strained right hip flexor.
“We took a lot of quick shots,” Joerger said. “We played out of too much random offensively, and we didn’t play with enough force defensively, and that’s about it. They were good. They made shots, especially early.”
The Kings (10-17) didn’t lead and trailed by double digits most of the second half. Dallas (7-20) shot 56.8 percent in the first half.
“We’ve got to come out and be the aggressor, that’s just plain and simple,” Cousins said. “We can’t get off to slow starts. We can’t let a team gain confidence. We’ve got to be the aggressors every night.”
And they also have to make shots, especially open ones. Subtract Cousins shooting 12 for 24, the rest of the team shot 18 for 52.
“Me personally, I had a bunch of shots I need to make,” said guard Garrett Temple. “When you’re starting backcourt goes 2 for 18, it’s going to be tough to win games.”
And the Kings cannot get caught up watching Cousins have his way and not get involved. Cousins said the Kings had good shots, but they could have done more to get better shots as a team.
“They were good looks,” Cousins said. “The offense could have been better. We could have made it easier on ourselves with more movement, more cutting, trying to get more shots at the basket. But even with the misses, I think they were good, quality shots. It’s just one of those nights where shots aren’t falling.”
While any King not named Cousins struggled to score, Dallas found balance with six players scoring in double figures, led by rookie Dorian Finney-Smith’s season-high 17 points.
Dallas’ starting backcourt of Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews each had 15 points. Forward Harrison Barnes also had 15 points.
Devin Harris scored 14 points off the bench and former King Seth Curry had 13 points.
Ty Lawson was the only other King to reach double figures with 10 points.
Temple said defenses aren’t necessarily taking the Kings out of their offensive plan. The Kings just need to be diligent in carrying out their cuts and movement away from Cousins to make the offense work at its best, he said.
“It’s just us needing to consistently keep that going,” Temple said. “When Cuz has it in the post, we have to have movement on the backside. We can’t stand still and allow him to go one-on-one. And when we stand, they key on him.”