DeMarcus Cousins summed up the Kings’ loss Tuesday night in four words.
“Good, hard, competitive game.”
That was true. But his brief responses to the few questions he took were likely intended to avoid expressing his true feelings, which could have led to a fine from the NBA for criticizing the officials.
Cousins was called for six fouls in the fourth quarter and fouled out with 30.6 seconds left in regulation as the Kings fell 108-96 in overtime to the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Kings dropped to 0-2 on their five-game trip after Cousins fouled out for the second time in three games. He was whistled for three offensive fouls. The last one led to his exit, and it came against former teammate Hassan Whiteside, who has gone from not good enough to be a King to the darling of South Beach.
The last All-Star to record six fouls in one quarter was the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul in November 2012, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond most recently achieved the dubious feat in November 2014.
Cousins finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and the Kings missed him in overtime, when they were outscored 17-5. But the Kings missed a lot of shots all night, finishing at 38.2 percent, including 5 of 23 on 3-pointers. The also gave up 21 points off 15 turnovers.
The struggles on offense are negating the Kings’ efforts on defense. Miami shot just 43.0 percent but had a 22-6 advantage in fast-break points partly because of Sacramento’s turnovers.
Kings coach Dave Joerger elaborated more than Cousins about the officiating, but he did so trying to keep the league out of his pockets.
“Very remarkable, unbelievable,” Joerger said. “I just watched them. Unbelievable. That’s all I can say. I can’t say anything about it. I don’t understand.
“Truth be, in my opinion, Carmelo (Anthony), DeMarcus, physical guys, Kawhi (Leonard), LeBron (James), they create a lot of contact, so they’re difficult to officiate. there’s no question about it. That’s all I can comment.”
Joerger did comment on the offense, which admittedly is behind schedule compared to the defense, the focus for most of training camp.
The turnovers and poor shooting make it hard to win, especially on the road. Joerger said the Kings have taken some bad shots. After Monday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, he said the Kings fell in love with jump shots too much for a stretch.
“We’ve got to make some shots,” Joerger said. “Our defense is on the run. It’s hard for our defense to be on the run. It’s hard for any defense in the league to be on the run.”
Despite the problems, the Kings had a chance for a victory at the end of regulation, but Rudy Gay missed a potential winning jumper at the buzzer.
In overtime, the Kings couldn’t keep up with the Heat. Gay said the Kings, playing their third game in four nights, could have just been exhausted.
“I think it could be that,” Gay said. “It could be mental toughness. They made some tough shots. We didn’t execute like we should have. They executed. That’s pretty much what it is.”
Gay had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Arron Afflalo added 18 points for the Kings (2-3).
Goran Dragic led Miami (2-2) with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Tyler Johnson came off the bench to add 22 points, seven in overtime, and Dion Waiters scored 20.
Gay said all the Kings’ problems are correctable.
“We’re trying to make the right play,” Gay said. “We had a tough win and some tough losses. (The day off Wednesday) will give us a chance to reload, and hopefully we’ll beat the Orlando Magic (on Thursday).”