DeMarcus Cousins is in only his fifth season and he’s already statistically one of the best players of the Kings’ Sacramento era. But wins haven’t come with regularity, so the All-Star center isn’t exactly celebrating his personal accomplishments.
Cousins had 39 points, 20 rebounds, three blocks and two assists Friday, but the Kings’ four-game winning streak came to an end in a 102-88 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
Cousins became the second-leading rebounder in Sacramento history with 3,673, passing teammate Jason Thompson (3,661).
Cousins also matched Thompson in blocks with 382, tying them for fourth place in Sacramento history.
“It’s a great pleasure to be in Sacramento, so for me to be one of the guys near the top is an honor, but I don’t really keep up with it,” Cousins said.
It was Cousins’ fourth game this month with at least 30 points, and his second game with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds.
But the Kings have lost both those games, so Cousins wasn’t smiling about his statistics.
“It’s whatever,” Cousins said. “If you don’t get the W, it don’t really matter.”
The Kings had been winning with contributions from multiple players. Outside the starting frontcourt of Cousins, Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi, it was an off night for Sacramento.
“We never got a flow, we never got a rhythm to our offense other than Cuz,” said Kings coach George Karl. “He had a great night. We just never found a rhythm to the game to give us the confidence to win on the road.”
Cousins got the Kings off to a good start, but the Pelicans, who had lost four in a row, were able to win because former King Tyreke Evans had his way, along with the New Orleans bench.
Evans outscored Sacramento’s four guards (Ray McCallum, Ben McLemore, Andre Miller, Nik Stauskas) 25-18. Evans had 10 assists, while the Kings’ guards had seven.
“You kind of want at least one guy to jump into the fray a little bit,” Karl said. “We didn’t get it (Friday).”
Saucy – Some of the best nicknames in basketball history are tied to on-court play.
Stauskas can thank a typo for his.
Mistakes on names in closed captions aren’t unusual, but the misspelling of Nik Stauskas as “Sauce Castillo” caught on quickly as his nickname.
Stauskas finds it comical his new moniker began with a mistake, but he said he’s accepted that many Kings fans would prefer to call him Sauce Castillo.
Fans turned Sauce Castillo into a nationwide trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday night after the Kings’ win at Phoenix.
Stauskas’ teammates have picked up on it, too.
“They call me Sauce now,” Stauskas said. “They just call me Sauce. I think it’s a pretty cool nickname to have. Sauce.”
Cousins had the Kings’ nickname market cornered with “Boogie,” but he might have competition from the rookie.
“If it sticks, it sticks,” Cousins said. “He’s taking it and running with it.”
The Kings’ merchandise department took notice. By Friday, Sauce Castillo-themed T-shirts were on sale on the team website.
“It’s cool that the fans are embracing it, and I think it’s funny,” Stauskas said. “As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.”
The nickname had picked up national attention by Thursday morning, with multiple outlets reporting on the Sauce Castillo craze.
Stauskas first heard about it Tuesday following Sacramento’s win over Philadelphia. It took off a day later when he scored 13 points in the Kings’ win at Phoenix.
“I heard it really briefly after the Philly game,” Stauskas said. “Then after the Phoenix game, more people kept tweeting me about it, so I asked what it was and what it meant. That’s when I figured out it was a closed-captioning error on the TV and people started calling me Sauce Castillo.”
Mullin rumblings – Hall of Fame player Chris Mullin has been an adviser to principal owner Vivek Ranadive, but with Vlade Divac now in a front-office role there has been speculation over Mullin’s future.
When Steve Lavin stepped down Friday as head coach at Mullin’s alma mater, St. John’s, multiple reports named him as Lavin’s possible successor.
Mullin is one of the biggest stars to come out of St. John’s.
Mullin has been tied to a coaching job before. He was a possibility for the Kings’ job after Michael Malone was fired Dec. 14.