Statistical feats are often celebrated.
But the streamers and confetti don’t fall when impressive numbers are mixed with losing, which the Kings have done a lot of the past 10 seasons.
Over the past six seasons, DeMarcus Cousins has already left a mark in the Sacramento-era record books. He added another Tuesday by matching Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame guard Mitch Richmond for most 30-point games in a season with 26. Richmond performed that feat in 1996-97.
But that, with Rajon Rondo setting a record for most triple doubles in a season (six), came during the Kings’ 115-107 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
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It left the Kings 31-47 while the Blazers (42-37) moved closer to clinching a playoff berth while sweeping the four-game season series with the Kings.
Cousins would prefer to talk about making the NBA playoffs, which he’s yet to reach. Without that, all that’s left is talk of personal feats and the improvement of young players.
Cousins was asked if tying Richmond’s record meant something to him.
“No,” he said.
Cousins followed that up by adding: “ … if I was searching for a bright spot in the season, I guess you could say that.”
Cousins hadn’t played since last Wednesday’s win over Washington. He was suspended for the following game against Miami for his 16th technical foul of the season and was kept out of Saturday’s win at Denver with Rondo to rest. The Kings do not plan to play Cousins on the road the rest of the season.
When it came to talking about young teammates such as Eric Moreland, Cousins wasmore talkative.
“I think those guys are ready,” Cousins said.
Moreland, the ever-energetic second-year forward, played six minutes. Much as he does in practice, Moreland collided with Cousins while going for a rebound.
“Typical E-Mo,” Cousins said. “... I think he’s playing one or two other sports while he’s playing basketball. Love his energy, glad he’s on my team, and when he gets his chance he’s going to be a big spark for us.”
Cousins finished with 30 points and nine rebounds, but also had a team-high six turnovers. If the Kings stick to not using Cousins on the road the rest of the season, Saturday’s home finale would be Cousins’ final game of the season.
But there is one intriguing road game, the season finale at Houston.
There is a chance the Rockets will need to win that game to make the playoffs. Might that entice Cousins to be more than a spectator?
“That’s not a bad idea,” Cousins said.
The Kings, however, wouldn’t want to ruin Houston’s season at the expense of risking their own top-10 protected first-round pick if a win put the pick in jeopardy.
Rondo scored a season-high 27 points, and had 12 assists and 10 rebounds. The previous record for triple doubles in a season in Sacramento was set by Chris Webber, who had five in 1999-2000.
Even though the Kings rested three key players (Rudy Gay, Darren Collison, Kosta Koufos) and had two injured players (Omri Casspi, Marco Belinelli), the Blazers needed a late surge in the fourth quarter to win.
CJ McCollum led Portland with 30 points (he averaged 24.7 points in four games against the Kings this season). Damian Lillard had 22 points and eight assists. Forward Maurice Harkless had 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Portland outrebounded the Kings 49-34, including a 19-3 advantage in offensive rebounds. Portland outscored the Kings 26-9 in second-chance points.
The Kings also gave up 24 points off 19 turnovers.
“We were hanging in the game because of guts and more competitive spirit than skills,” said Kings coach George Karl. “We turned it over and didn’t rebound the ball and still fought our way into a game that was with five minutes to go, was right there if we made some shots and made some stops, could have turned.”