DeMarcus Cousins has lived in foul trouble lately.
In his previous five games entering Saturday’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs at Sleep Train Arena, Cousins had averaged 5.4 fouls and fouled out twice.
Cousins had another rough start against San Antonio, picking up two first-quarter fouls.
“It’s a tough one, and it’s that catch 22,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “We’re not nearly as dangerous of a team, especially offensively, when he’s not on the floor because of his ability to score, get to the free-throw line and generate looks for his teammates.”
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Shortly after picking up his second foul, Cousins was called for a technical foul, his second in two games.
Cousins has been among the leaders in technical fouls every season since entering the league in 2010, and he said his goal this season was five or fewer.
That’s something Malone keeps in mind.
“I’ve also got to monitor where he is mentally,” Malone said. “Is he allowing the foul trouble to take him out of the game, and if he is, I have to get him out because he’s not only hurting himself, but he’s hurting the team. Every game becomes a different scenario.”
That means Malone will manage Cousins’ fouls game by game.
“Some nights when he picks up two quick ones, I’ve got to get him out and trust our bench and give him an opportunity to go back in maybe in the second quarter before he picks up his third,” Malone said.
Saturday, Cousins played nine minutes before he picked up his second foul and sat out the rest of the first half while the Kings took a 45-38 halftime lead.
Focused on themselves – There’s no point in asking Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to size up the competition.
He isn’t paying attention, at least not at this point of the season.
“I watch a lot of film on us,” Popovich said. “I figure that we’re the team I should take care of because we don’t do everything perfectly. If we did everything perfectly, we’d probably not lose many games. If Sacramento did everything perfectly, they probably wouldn’t lose many games.”
Brief homestand – Saturday’s game was the first of a three-game set at Sleep Train before the Kings leave on their second four-game trip of the month.
The Kings will host New Orleans on Tuesday and Chicago on Thursday. The Bulls game will be nationally televised on TNT.