DeMarcus Cousins is still very good, and the Kings still have a lot of work to do.
How Cousins dominated in his return to Sacramento underlined both of those points.
Cousins had 41 points, 23 rebounds and six assists as New Orleans (2-3) overcame a 19-point deficit to knock off the Kings 114-106 Thursday night at Golden 1 Center. It was Cousins’ first game in Sacramento since being traded in February.
The Kings started fast and led 40-27 after the first quarter, but couldn’t sustain that momentum into the second half. Cousins, Jrue Holiday (20 points) and Jameer Nelson (18 points) were enough to overcome Anthony Davis (knee) sitting out.
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De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 14 points. Zach Randolph added 13. The Kings (1-4) have lost three in a row.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Perhaps it’s time to start three guards
Though the Kings opened strongly Thursday, they could get a boost from having Fox in the starting lineup. He has already shown coach Dave Joerger he can be trusted late in games, and the electricity when he’s on the floor is undeniable. A Fox-George Hill pairing could be fun with either Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic as a third guard in the lineup.
Star power matters
The Pelicans roster is not what one would call deep, but having Cousins mattered in the New Orleans’ comeback. The Kings lack that go-to player, so when they hit a rut in the third quarter, they were left searching for someone to pull them out of it. That player might end up being Randolph, who can still be effective in the post.
Scoring droughts are still a problem
The Kings had 70 points at halftime, but just 36 the rest of the game. A slow start to the third quarter doomed the Kings and allowed New Orleans to get back in the game. It was assumed the Kings would have problems scoring at times this season, and that’s been the case regularly.