The Kings are still waiting for the return of their top player, but there’s no telling when DeMarcus Cousins will be back.
Cousins missed his third consecutive game because of a lower back strain Saturday night when the Kings lost to the Golden State Warriors 120-101 at Oracle Arena. He has missed eight of Sacramento’s 18 games this season.
Seven of the absences have been due to injury and one was for a league suspension for a forearm to the head of Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford.
“I think he’s frustrated,” coach George Karl said. “I think he really wanted to play this weekend, but I think it’s just best that he doesn’t.”
The Kings were designed to be deeper this season to withstand injuries, but losing Cousins is still a lot to overcome; the Kings are 1-7 without him.
Cousins was injured Monday against the Charlotte Hornets. The Kings host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, then leave Tuesday for their game against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City on Thursday.
Karl was unsure whether Cousins would play Monday.
“I’m hoping,” Karl said. “I think it’s still hopeful right now. It’s not definitive.”
Cousins did not take the bus ride from Sacramento with the team for Saturday’s game.
Even better – The Warriors are 18-0, the best start in NBA history.
Considering the Warriors were 67-15 in the regular season en route to winning last season’s NBA championship, some fall-off would not have been surprising.
But the Warriors are playing as if they plan to challenge the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record for the best regular season at 72-10.
“I think there’s a cockiness that comes from winning a championship that usually brings complacency with it,” Karl said. “But they are playing at a high, high level and Steph (Curry) is video-gameish. That’s what I’d call it.”
Curry, the reigning MVP, was averaging a league-high 32.6 points entering Saturday even though he’s sat out multiple fourth quarters because the Warriors were blowing out their opponent. He scored 19 points in 29 minutes Saturday.
“I think sometimes he’s playing with the game a little bit,” Karl said. “He makes unbelievable shots. I mean last night (41 points through three quarters against the Phoenix Suns) was a show.”
Available – Kings forward Caron Butler (sprained left ankle) was available Saturday after missing two games, but he did not play.