Kings forward Matt Barnes was inactive for the first time this season for Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
Coach Dave Joerger gave a simple reason for the designation: rest.
Barnes, 36, had logged the fourth-most minutes (881) of any King this season and played in all but two games entering Tuesday.
He’s a real significant challenge for centers. There’s not very many centers who bust out and take the ball coast to coast on the drive and can cross over and everything else. And if there are, they’re usually smaller, not his size. He’s a unique talent and a very difficult guy to deal with.
Stan Van Gundy, Pistons coach, on DeMarcus Cousins
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“We might have to do that at different points for different guys, depending on if they’ve played the whole time or if they’ve been out due to injury or whatnot,” Joerger said.
Whether that will extend to DeMarcus Cousins remains to be seen. Cousins has played more than 300 more minutes than any other King this season – his average of 34.6 per game ranks 22nd among all players – and Joerger acknowledged Cousins has “carried the load for us quite a few nights.”
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy summarized why it’s difficult for the Kings to rest Cousins.
“He’s a real significant challenge for centers,” Van Gundy said. “There’s not very many centers who bust out and take the ball coast to coast on the drive and can cross over and everything else. And if there are, they’re usually smaller, not his size. He’s a unique talent and a very difficult guy to deal with.”
Joerger, who suggested fatigue might have contributed to Cousins scoring just 17 points in a loss to Golden State on Sunday, was asked what the coaches can do to mitigate the effects of Cousins’ heavy workload.
“It’s just part of January,” Joerger said. “You just have to fight through it. And you pick a night, somebody takes a rest.”
Starting lineup – Anthony Tolliver, who started just one of the Kings’ first 36 games, now has started two in a row.
On Tuesday, Joerger went with the starting five – Darren Collison, Garrett Temple, Rudy Gay, Tolliver and Cousins – he used against the Warriors.
Tolliver did not appear in 12 of the Kings’ first 20 games, but he averaged 25 minutes and 8.3 points over his last 16 games.
“I’ve never been too big on starting, not starting,” Tolliver said. “I just want to play. It’s not about starting or whatever. It’s about playing and helping your team win over the course of a 48-minute game.”
Trailblazer – Former NBA center Jason Collins, who in 2013 became the first active male athlete in a major U.S. professional sport to come out as gay, attended Equality Night on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center.
34.6 DeMarcus Cousins’ minutes per game, 22nd in the NBA
Collins, who made his historic announcement in a first-person article published by Sports Illustrated, received a loud ovation when he was introduced over the public address system during the first quarter.
Tuesday was the fourth time the Kings have held an Equality Night to celebrate the local LGBTQ community. The Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus performed the national anthem and video tributes were played throughout the game.
Idle rookies – Rookies George Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere also were inactive for the game.