It took DeMarcus Cousins only one game to match his season high for three-pointers.
Cousins is speeding through the figurative green light he now has to shoot from the perimeter, making 4 of 5 three-point attempts in the Sacramento’s season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-11 forward-center became an All-Star largely because of his ability to overpower opponents. Now he’s showing off the shooting touch he’s longed to prove he has.
Cousins made 4 of 22 three-point tries in 2012-13 and 2 of 15 over the next two seasons.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Kings coach George Karl likes the effect of Cousins’ outside shooting on the offense.
“I think it’s explosive, and it also helps your spacing,” Karl said. “It allows the ball freedom to go where it wants to go.”
First start – Kings rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein made his first regular-season start Friday when the Kings hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena.
Karl chose not to start Cauley-Stein on Wednesday because he didn’t want Cauley-Stein to have to defend Clippers star Blake Griffin. The Lakers have no comparable big men, so Cauley-Stein replaced Kosta Koufos in the starting lineup.
Before tipoff, Cauley-Stein said his approach did not change as a starter.
“Nah, just stay in a good place I guess,” he said. “Don’t get over-hyped, just be content until the ball goes up and then play as mind-boggling as you can.”
Scott recalls time in Sacramento – Lakers coach Byron Scott is best known as a Lakers player. But he got his first coaching experience as an assistant under Rick Adelman from 1998 to 2000 before becoming the head coach of the New Jersey Nets.
“I have great memories,” Scott said. “Vlade (Divac), I don’t know what his (current) position is – general manager, president ... having him here, Chris Webber – (that) was my first stint at coaching. ... I have a lot of fond memories of being in this building.”
Scott said he has enjoyed the atmosphere at Sleep Train, which is in its last season.
“I’m going to miss (the arena) because it was fun here and it was loud,” Scott said. “The fans here were fantastic the years I was here as a coach and obviously as an opponent. The fans in Sacramento are some of the best in the league.”
Measuring greatness – Karl was asked about Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who is in his 20th season but has missed most of the previous two seasons with injuries.
Karl said Bryant is still to be feared.
“Kobe has the greatness of taking good defense and killing it,” Karl said. “He had a stretch in the second quarter against Minnesota (Wednesday) where the defense was perfect and he made 10 points. He can make tough shots. He might be the best tough-shot maker, along with some of the greats. He might be one of the best ever.”