The past week has shown the many sides of DeMarcus Cousins.
Last Monday he was furious after the Kings lost their sixth game in a row. By Wednesday he apologized for the outburst while being defensive if anyone accused him of being the cause of negativity around the Kings.
There was the compassionate side of Cousins, the side he probably conceals best, when word spread he was donating the cost of funeral expenses for Jaulon Clavo, the Grant High School football player who was shot and killed last Friday.
Then there’s the side on the court that Cousins wants the world to see. He displayed his multifaceted game on both ends of the court, which helped the Kings win their third game in a row, 107-101, Sunday night over the Toronto Raptors at Sleep Train Arena.
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Cousins had 36 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal. He helped beat the Raptors by scoring in the paint and by raining down three-pointers and controlling the paint defensively to help the Kings overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Cousins said he never lost faith after the Kings’ 1-7 start. He missed four of those games with a strained Achilles’ tendon.
“I just spoke on what I believed in,” Cousins said. “At the same time, I never doubted this team from Day One. I believe in every guy in this locker room, and my feelings still remain the same. ... We’re just going to keep moving forward.”
It will be easier to move forward if Cousins continues to dominate and Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo play at a high level.
Gay had to be hospitalized and receive an IV on Friday after becoming ill, but he came back Sunday and scored 27 points. It was his second good showing after he opened the season in a career-worst slump.
Rondo had seven points, seven rebounds and 14 assists.
Now the Kings are 4-7 and feeling much better as they prepare for a trip that begins Wednesday at Atlanta.
“It’s the early season; we can’t give up on it,” Gay said. “We don’t have time to give up on it. I don’t think any of us in this locker room are going to just throw a season away. It’s just working hard and playing hard, playing together.”
Given injuries, roster changes and a tough schedule, it was unrealistic to expect the Kings to come out and dominate from the start. And they admit there is still a lot of work to do after 11 games.
But the Kings are more confident as their improvements lead to wins.
“(With Sunday’s) momentum and energy, we go out on the road and hopefully have a very good road trip,” said Kings coach George Karl. “We haven’t been on the road much, and I think we all know that it takes a little more to win on the road. But I think the momentum of winning three in a row can be a positive.”
Cousins will leave with the Grant and the Del Paso Heights community on his mind. He’d wanted his donation to be private, but good news about him can travel just as fast as negative publicity.
“It touched me,” Cousins said. “I’m a parent myself, and I couldn’t imagine losing one of my kids. I do have relations with people in that area and also other areas. It just touched home for me. It wasn’t really about me; it was more about the family, the kids.”
Cousins attends Grant football games, and it isn’t surprising to see him at Sacramento High basketball games.