DeMarcus Cousins has been dominant in January, and the Kings have played their best basketball of the season.
The NBA recognized Cousins’ recent performances, naming him Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday after he led the Kings to a 3-0 record. Cousins averaged 36.0 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 block in 37.7 minutes per game.
He had double doubles in all three games, including a career-high 48 points and 13 rebounds in a 108-97 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. In a 112-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Cousins had 36 points and 16 rebounds. And in a 91-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, he had 24 points and 15 rebounds.
Cousins has won the weekly honor four times overall and twice this season. He also is the first player in the franchise to have at least 108 points and 44 rebounds in a three-game span since Oscar Robertson had 109 points and 44 rebounds in 1961-62 with the Cincinnati Royals.
“I think it’s deserved, no question about that,” coach George Karl said. “I think his desire right now is to get the All-Star berth. I’d be kind of shocked if he doesn’t get the votes of the coaches. He’s been so impressive and doing it with a winning team, with a much more mature, emotional balance. Good stuff all the way around.”
The NBA will announce All-Star Game reserves Thursday. Cousins is expected to be on the Western Conference team after being added as an injury replacement last season.
It wasn’t a surprise that Cousins received the weekly award. The Kings entered Monday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at Sleep Train Arena on a five-game wining streak and were 8-3 in January.
Karl, however, admitted he was not keeping tabs on when the award would be announced.
“I’m always happy and hopeful for those things,” Karl said. “But you have to understand, during the season I don’t even know when those things come out. Today’s Monday, right? We’re playing Charlotte tonight. That’s what day it is.”
Charlotte’s Kemba Walker won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor. He averaged 34.8 points, 6.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 3-1 week.
Charlotte coach Steve Clifford could not recall an instance where both conference Players of the Week faced off the day the award was announced.
“I would think it’s pretty unique, to be honest,” Clifford said.
Never forget – It’s been nearly six years since Spencer Hawes played for the Kings, but their fans have not forgotten his loyalty to his hometown.
During the Kings’ relocation sagas, Hawes made it clear he favored the franchise moving to Seattle. He grew up in the Seattle area.
Now with the Hornets, Hawes was booed loudly whenever his name was announced or he touched the ball.
Family affair – Kings guard Seth Curry had at least one Charlotte employee who wanted him to do well. His father, Dell, is an analyst for the Hornets’ television broadcasts.