The Kings wore their throwback jerseys Wednesday to honor the 1951 Rochester Royals team that won the NBA championship.
But on the court, the game was a throwback to a more recent time, when frustration and a mediocre product were the norm and center DeMarcus Cousins was dealing with issues involving controlling his temper.
Cousins was ejected for the first time this season in the Kings’ 106-84 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
It was the Kings’ most lopsided loss of the season and the second time in five games they have lost by at least 20 points. They’ve lost nine of their last 11 games and still look like a team trying to find its way in the eight games since Michael Malone was fired as coach.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Cousins always has played with an edge, but he’s been edgier than usual lately. He was given his first technical – just his second of the season – in the first quarter after yelling at officials over non-foul calls. The second technical and automatic ejection came when Cousins slung Boston guard Marcus Smart to the court after Smart hit him low on a box-out.
The Kings won’t know if Cousins is suspended for Thursday’s game at Minnesota until sometime before tip-off.
“The game started off rough, and I let my emotions get the best of me. And I let it carry over into that last play,” Cousins said. “I just can’t do that. I’ve got to be smarter, I’ve got to make better decisions.”
Cousins was injured on a similar play two seasons ago when Mike Dunleavy hit him low on a box-out.
Smart had been chirping at Cousins, who said he became angry when he believed Smart was too forceful while running through a screen earlier in the possession.
“It was the pick,” Cousins said. “He tried to run through my chest, and then he came and I felt he took a cheap shot on the box-out.
“Even with that being said, I’ve still got to make better decisions. I’ve still got to keep my emotions in check. Even with what happened, I think that still could have been avoided. I’m blaming nobody but myself on that.”
Cousins had a rough day (5-for-17 shooting, four turnovers), finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Rudy Gay was off, too, making just 4 of 19 shots and scoring nine points.
The Kings shot 36.8 percent and gave up big games to Jared Sullinger (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Evan Turner (career-high 11 assists, 10 points).
“We just didn’t seem like we had any rhythm from the beginning of the ballgame, whatever it was,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We just seemed we couldn’t get anything going. We missed shots, we got frustrated with ourselves, referees, everything was just off.”
Things were off most of December, including Cousins dealing with illness and the players not taking Malone’s firing well.
The Kings are 13-19 and 2-6 under Corbin.
“A lot of things happened; it’s tough,” Gay said. “It’s going to take a little while for us to get our rhythm; it’s going to take a little while. Maybe this is what we need to go through so we can get out of this hole and play a little better.”
The hope was this four-game trip would give the team time to bond, but the Kings have lost the first two contests.
“We can’t let some of the stuff that we can’t control as players affect how we play,” said forward Jason Thompson, who was out of the starting lineup for the first time this season and did not play. “So all the stuff, coaching changes, players being unhappy with certain situations, we can’t let it affect us, how we play as a team. Somehow we’ve got to take that adversity and generate it into playing better, playing harder and getting wins.”
Cousins, who now has three technical fouls, said his goal of five or fewer still is attainable.
“It’s a long season, but I’ll be fine,” Cousins said. “I still have that goal in mind.”