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Warriors beat Kings; Cousins beats a chair

DeMarcus Cousins on loss to Golden State Warriors

Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins talks to media members following the teams loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
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Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins talks to media members following the teams loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

A chair on the Kings’ bench bore the brunt of DeMarcus Cousins’ frustration.

The Kings center delivered a combination of punches to the chair in the second quarter after being called for his third foul, earning his 10th technical foul of the season.

So, is the chair broken?

“Hopefully,” Cousins said.

Even though that display might suggest otherwise, Cousins said there’s no need to panic or be frustrated about the Kings’ three-game losing streak after the Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start for a 117-106 win Sunday at Golden 1 Center.

“I don’t think we’re struggling,” Cousins said. “I think we’re still in a good place. I think we’ve got a good chance of making this thing happen. We’re having these stretches in games that’s killing us.”

The Kings led by 16 points in the first half, but the Warriors roared back, outscoring the Kings 39-22 in the third quarter to take control.

It was tough night for Cousins. He had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, but he also had seven turnovers and shot just 4 of 11.

Rudy Gay led the Kings with 23 points.

“DeMarcus had a tough night,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “Definitely teams are keying in on him.”

Joerger said Cousins is “exhausted” and suggested he might need a night off, while also crediting Golden State’s defense.

“He’s been carrying the torch for a long time,” Joerger said. “It seems perhaps maybe longer than just this year. Is there a night off coming or something? He had a tough night.”

During the losing streak, Cousins is shooting 17 of 45 (37.7 percent). The Warriors used center Zaza Pachulia and others to swarm Cousins consistently and force Cousins to drive to the basket in a crowd.

Cousins said teams are taking a more aggressive approach lately.

“A lot more hands on,” Cousins said. “I can tell they’re being a lot more physical with me, especially when I’m driving to the basket. I’m taking more bumps than usual when I’m driving to the basket. I don’t really understand why that’s allowed, but that’s the case right now.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to find a counter for that. It’s tough right now, but I think I’ll find a way to adjust to it.”

Cousins entered the game fourth in the NBA averaging 9.6 free-throw attempts a game. He attempted nine Sunday and is averaging 7.7 attempts during the losing streak.

“They’re loading up and the last couple of games he hasn’t been getting as many calls as he’d been earlier in the year,” said forward Anthony Tolliver. “It’s up to him and up to us to make adjustments and try to figure out ways to open up those lanes a little bit more for him.”

The Kings attempted nine more free throws than the Warriors on Sunday. A bigger problem was Golden State outscoring the Kings 28-3 in fast-break points and having a 52-36 advantage in points in the paint.

“Kind of let them get going in transition a little bit (in the third quarter),” Cousins said. “A couple of breakdowns for us, I had some costly turnovers that led to some opportunities for them.”

The Warriors (32-6) excel in the open floor because they have shooters like Stephen Curry (30 points), Kevin Durant (28 points) and Klay Thompson (18 points).

But the Kings made it easier for them, too.

“They’re not difficult to guard in transition if you communicate and you’re focused and you’re not arguing with the referees after turnovers and missed shots,” said guard Garrett Temple.

Referees can be a convenient excuse when a team struggles. That can be especially true for Cousins because his physical style does not always result in whistles in the Kings’ favor.

Still, the Kings (15-22) have to play through the calls that do not go in their favor.

“The officials aren’t on anybody’s side at the end of the day,” Temple said. “Both teams argue with officials, but it seems, especially that third quarter, we seem to let it get to us even more than usual. And (the Warriors are a different team on the break than normal teams. They have three dead-eye shooters and a power forward that can pick you apart in terms of his passing. So in that regard you can’t be 4-on-3 because it’s going to end up in a 3(-pointer) rather than a two.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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