The Bee's Jason Jones' three takeaways from Sacramento King's loss to Washington Wizards
If the final score wasn’t enough, DeMarcus Cousins could look at the box score and have even more reason to be disgusted.
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat had 27 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
The points and rebounds were season highs for Gortat, who entered Monday averaging 12.8 points and nine rebounds.
“You know that bothers the (heck) out of me,” Cousins said. “He had a great game, but, like I said, I’m following defensive schemes.”
At the end of the night, it was the injury-depleted Wizards who looked good in a 113-99 win Monday night at Verizon Center.
Perhaps more startling than the Kings allowing the Wizards to shoot 50.6 percent for the game (58.3 percent from three-point range) and giving up a career-high 19 assists to John Wall was how Gortat had his way all night. He outran Cousins down the court for easy looks and benefited from Wall’s passing.
Cousins had another bad shooting night, missing 14 of his 22 shots to finish with 22 points. He added eight rebounds.
“It’s tough to guard anyway,” Cousins said of containing Wall’s drives and passes. “Following defensive schemes, that’s all. (Coaches) felt that was the best way to guard it.”
Meanwhile, Gortat made 12 of 19 shots and looked like the All-Star from a season ago that Cousins was.
“I would think the film will show he got a lot of shots in the open court,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I know he outran us for three, maybe four, maybe five easy ones. ... My feel was the open court was killing us.”
“I don’t feel we made any adjustments when it was needed at the time,” Cousins said. “They came out early, but we still managed to keep it a game the entire game, except toward the end. Just out of sync. It was rough.”
The score was tied 84-84 after three quarters even though the Wizards had outplayed the Kings most of the night. All it took was an 8-0 run to start the fourth to end the Kings’ chances.
The off shooting night was the latest for Cousins, who despite averaging 24.5 points and 10.5 rebounds entering Monday has looked uncomfortable much of the season. He’s out on the perimeter more, which Karl concedes is contributing to his career-low 42.0 shooting percentage this season. Cousins’ rebounding numbers (10.6) are on pace for his lowest since he averaged 9.9 his third season.
That’s due partly to his career-low 2.4 offensive rebounds per game.
“I’m trying to find my way right now,” Cousins said. “This is new to me; it’s a new playing style to me. I’m just trying to be coachable.”
Karl said the times Cousins was beaten down the floor or didn’t make it across halfcourt weren’t the only problem with the Kings’ transition defense. He pointed to guards going for steals when they got back that led to open threes and layups and said he would not put all the blame on Cousins.
“We’ve always had a little bit of a problem protecting Cuz at times,” Karl said. “When we don’t play big, we sometimes have trouble protecting Cuz in his runbacks.”
The Wizards’ strategy was to run Gortat as much as possible. In the past, Cousins might counter by going on the post more to draw fouls. He attempted seven free throws against the Wizards.
Gortat attempted only four free throws, but many of his opportunities came on easy looks.
“He got out and ran all night long,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Gortat. “He had four or five layups by outrunning. That’s what he did consistently all night. He didn’t get a layup out of it every time, but he ran, and it made Cousins run up and down the floor and made him work on the other end.”
Karl said fatigue was a factor for the Kings, who were playing their third game in four nights.
Maybe that’s why Gortat knew to keep running.