Kings can't overcome slow start in loss at Detroit
The losses continue to pile up, and DeMarcus Cousins continues to put up impressive statistics.
It all leaves the Kings’ All-Star center with an empty feeling.
As the end of the regular season nears, the Kings’ focus has become playing spoiler, and even that’s not working out.
The Kings lost to the Detroit Pistons 115-108 Friday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
While the Pistons kept themselves in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference, the Kings fell to 26-42, guaranteeing their 10th straight losing season. They suffered their 11th loss in the last 13 games.
Cousins had 31 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. But that wasn’t enough to overcome another slow start in which the Kings fell behind by 18 in the first quarter.
But playing for pride in March as they try to ruin the playoff hopes of teams like Detroit is an old, sad refrain.
“I love the game, I love to compete, that’s what drives me every night,” Cousins said. “But to come in season after season and try to stop another team from making the playoffs, that’s old. I want to be in the playoffs.”
Cousins is the only player in the NBA in the top five in scoring and rebounding. Cousins was a second-team All-NBA pick last season and is well on his way to another All-NBA team selection.
However, the only thing that overshadows his individual play is the Kings’ lack of success.
Cousins has 18 30-point, 10-rebound double doubles this season. That’s the second most in Sacramento history. Chris Webber had 20 in the 2000-01 season.
That doesn’t excite Cousins.
“I’m past the point where I even worry about stats,” Cousins said. “I’m just trying to win the game. That’s my main focus; that’s all I can do. Just trying to play my part.”
Winning is tough when you spot the opponent an 18-point lead.
The Kings fueled Detroit’s offense with turnovers, surrendering 39 points in the first quarter, the Pistons’ season high for a quarter. The Pistons scored 10 points off Sacramento turnovers in the first quarter.
“You’re playing short-handed, and you dig a big hole,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I mean just to stay in the game in the first half took a lot of energy, and we were the better team in the second half.”
The Kings have a habit of falling behind big, and many explanations have been thrown out, including lack of focus or energy. Whatever the reason, allowing 67 first-half points was too much on Friday. Turnovers and giving up three-pointers were culprits again.
“I wish I knew the answer,” Cousins said. “Same mistakes have been killing us all year.”
Sacramento outscored Detroit 54-48 in the second half.
But the game is four quarters, and winning the final two isn’t good enough. Even though the Kings rallied and tied the score in the fourth, they never took the lead.
“Slow start, slow end,” said forward Rudy Gay. “We just have to put together a whole game of good basketball.”
By time the Kings got rolling and played better three-point defense, Marcus Morris already had made six threes, tying his career high. He also made six against the Kings in December 2014. Morris’ made threes all came in the first half. He finished with 24 points.