Sacramento Kings

Others must step up in Cousins’ absence

Many opposing coaches have described the Kings as a physical team.

That doesn’t fit quite as well when DeMarcus Cousins is in street clothes.

The center missed his fourth consecutive game Friday because of a viral infection. Coach Michael Malone doesn’t expect the team to become timid with Cousins out.

In some of the Kings’ losses this season, teams have won because they have taken the figurative fight to them.

“I know our big guys have no problem being physical in the paint, posting up, and our most physical player is (out),” Malone said. “In his absence, we need everyone else to take on that same mentality and not shy away from contact. We’re at our best when we attack, we get to the foul line, we set our defense.”

More dirty work – With Cousins out, the Kings are missing the NBA’s leading rebounder at 12.6 per game.

To fill the void, the Kings need their guards to help.

“If our bigs are helping on dribble penetration or guarding the ball on pick-and-rolls, our smalls have to be engaged, too,” Malone said. “And the best rebounding teams are those that have all five on the floor rebounding.”

Sloan watch – The Indiana Pacers recently went to Rodney Stuckey as their starting point guard, but that doesn’t diminish what Donald Sloan did filling in for George Hill, according to coach Frank Vogel.

Sloan, a Kings summer league player in 2010, has started 18 games but did not play Thursday against Portland after struggling recently.

Sloan is averaging 11.3 points and 5.0 assists, easily career highs.

Vogel said before the Pacers played the Kings on Friday at Sleep Train Arena that Sloan has been good for the team.

“We hit a home run; he played great for us,” Vogel said. “He’s going to play great for us when his number’s called. Shot making, playmaking off the bounce, solid on the defensive end. Gave our team an offensive confidence that we were going to get the job done.”

More national exposure – The Kings’ game Tuesday against the Lakers in Los Angeles will air on NBA TV as well as CSNCA.

It’s not the same heated rivalry of more than a decade ago, but with Lakers star Kobe Bryant close to passing Michael Jordan for third on the all-time scoring list, NBA TV added the game to its schedule.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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