Judging by how he grabbed rebounds during Sunday’s win at Toronto, DeMarcus Cousins is taking the Kings’ early-season rebounding issues personally.
The Kings’ inability to rebound consistently is not just a big-man problem. But when a team struggles, the instinct is to see how many rebounds the centers and power forwards are collecting.
“I’m just trying to make sure my effort is there the whole night,” Cousins said after getting 14 rebounds in the Kings’ 96-91 victory. “I know there’s been a lot of games – well, a couple of games – where I haven’t gotten 10 rebounds, and that’s not me. Just trying to make sure I leave it all out there on the floor.”
Rebounding isn’t solely Cousins’ responsibility, but he’s determined to get the Kings on track on the boards.
Cousins has had 10 or more rebounds in only three of the first eight games and is averaging 9.1. That’s not horrible, but his career average is 10.7. Cousins broke a streak of three games in single digits.
The Kings outrebounded the Raptors 47-43, just the second time this season they’ve had an edge on the boards.
Asked about Cousins’ rebounding against the Raptors, coach Dave Joerger said the two-time All-Star can’t do it by himself.
“Everybody got a defensive rebound. That’s what we really needed, everyone to pitch in,” Joerger said.
Defensive rebounds have been a problem for the Kings. In their five losses, defensive breakdowns led to numerous second-chance points for the opposition.
Entering Monday, the Kings were allowing 11.5 offensive rebounds per game, eighth most in the NBA. Conversely, Sacramento was grabbing 9.9 offensive rebounds per game, 20th in the league.
The Kings use many small lineups, including 6-foot-7 Matt Barnes occasionally at power forward. Barnes, Joerger’s do-it-all reserve, had 10 rebounds Sunday.
“You’ve got to want to rebound,” Barnes said. “ … When I’m going up against a bigger guy, I’ve just got to outwork him.”
The Kings acknowledge they are in transition, and perhaps they will work out some of their troubles. Joerger shortened his rotation Sunday, a surprise considering it was the second night of a back-to-back.
“Just wanted to shorten it, give guys a longer chance to play in a rhythm together,” Joerger said.
Barnes concurred with Joerger’s strategy.
“I just think he went with the older guys (Sunday),” Barnes said. “That’s no knock on our younger guys. Their time will come. I just think he went with the older guys, guys he knows are going to be ready, and it worked.”
Even though the Kings went 1-4 on their trip, winning the finale with good defense could was encouraging.
After starting 1-7 last season, the Kings are 3-5 after Sunday’s morale-boosting victory.
“I think it gives you confidence that we do what we can do and you have that focus,” Joerger said.
Cousins, knowing he’ll shoulder the blame if losses pile up, is attempting to block out the noise and push the Kings forward.
“Just trying to find another level to help this team win,” he said.
Farmer waived – The Kings waived guard Jordan Farmar on Monday.
Farmar, who was cut after training camp, was re-signed Wednesday after the team was granted an extra roster spot when Darren Collison was moved to the NBA suspended list after the first five games. .
Collison will return from his eight-game suspension Tuesday and play against the New Orleans Pelicans at Golden 1 Center. The league suspended him after he pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor domestic battery.