DeMarcus Cousins’ return to the Kings’ lineup isn’t just about added scoring. The Kings need him on defense, too.
After missing the previous two games because of a strained right calf, Cousins helped the Kings deliver one of their better defensive showings of the season in a 109-86 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday at Sleep Train Arena.
“Cuz is a good defensive player when he’s focused,” Kings coach George Karl said. “I think the stats show that. The stats are off the charts. Points per possession when he’s on the court is much more on the higher end. When he’s off the court, our points per possession is pretty negative.”
In addition to being one of the NBA’s better rebounders, Cousins entered Sunday leading the Kings in blocks per game (1.6) and was second on the team in steals per game (1.4).
Cousins is also adept at drawing charges.
You’re not welcome – For a player who didn’t spend much time in Sacramento, Ramon Sessions apparently didn’t leave a great impression with Kings fans.
Sessions was traded to Washington for guard Andre Miller last month after what he and the Kings would call a disappointing stint. When Sessions checked into the game Sunday, he was greeted with loud boos.
Sessions averaged 5.4 points on 34.4 percent shooting in 36 games with Sacramento. He signed a two-year deal in September, but the pairing of Sessions with Darren Collison and playing Sessions in three-guard sets didn’t materialize into an effective lineup.
Washington coach Randy Wittman has paired Sessions with All-Star point guard John Wall.
“Putting those two in there, size doesn’t hurt us. John’s big enough to guard some (shooting guards),” Wittman said. “Just sticking another playmaking player on the floor when we take Brad (Beal) out that can penetrate and make plays for others.”
Sessions is shooting 36.1 percent and averaging 6.2 points for the Wizards in 16 games. He had nine points, five rebounds and two assists Sunday.
Another lineup – Cousins was joined by Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum in the Kings’ 17th different starting lineup this season.