If you live, work, or play in Sacramento I’m sure you’ve seen the new Sacramento Kings billboards. There is one in particular right off of I-80 that reads “Bigger. Badder. Better.” One player, who is pictured on that billboard, and a handful of other billboards around the area, is Kings Rookie DeMarcus Cousins. He and his teammates took on the Detroit Pistons in a matinee game Sunday at ARCO Arena, whether they lived up to the third and final word of the billboard is still yet to be determined.
The Detroit Pistons started the season off with five straight losses but won three of their last four before they suited up to play the Kings.
Sacramento on the other hand won two of their first three but have lost five straight counting tonight’s frustrating 96-100 loss. This being the fourth straight game the Kings were held under 100 after scoring over 100 in their first four games.
Although the Kings were able to take the lead early in the first quarter, something they weren’t able to do in the games they’ve won thus far, the Pistons took the lead midway through the first and didn’t look back.
“They had some big time shot makers making shots,” said coach Westphal. “Ben Gordon walked up with a coldblooded three and then hit that one from the corner. It was really contested. (Tayshuan) Prince made some huge plays and huge buckets. We didn’t quite get it done.”
While the Kings have struggled turning the ball over as of late, that wasn’t the reason they fell in this one. You can point the finger at the two most important lines on the court, the free-throw line and three-point line (and yes, I know it’s not technically a line). The Kings shot 66 percent from the foul-line and 11 percent from the arc, making only 2 of 18 three-pointers. While the Pistons made one more three and shot half as many as the Kings. Detroit also made 15 of their 19 free throws.
“We’re getting the shots we want. As a team we just need to knock ‘em down,” said Luther Head after the game. “As shooters, we need to take it a little more personal than that, that’s what we’re here to do.”
Head scored 13 points off the bench, shooting five for eight and making one the teams two three-pointers. Jason Thompson was also strong off the bench, scoring 10 points and grabbing 5 boards in his 17 minutes of play. Tyreke Evans, who scored 20 points this afternoon, logged almost 40 minutes in on the floor but it was apparent that the nagging ankle injury is still with him.
A lot has been expected from “Boogie” Cousins and he knows it. He also knows that with being a rookie, he’s not going to get many calls his way.
“I can’t control the refs,” said Cousins, who had four fouls and picked up an early technical after voicing his opinion. “If I get the calls, I get them. If I don’t I just try to play through it, that’s basketball. That’s the way it is.”
Cousins, who was recently taken out of the starting lineup, came off the bench and had a rough night, turning the ball over six times. Although he did tally eight rebounds, he’s still got a lot to learn, and that will come in due time.
Unlike the Kings, the Pistons had bright spots throughout their box score. Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince combined for 27 points, making 13 of 23 shots. Young point guard Rodney Stuckey added 17 points and 7 assists on the afternoon as well.
The Kings will have some time to work on those not so “free” free-throws Monday and Tuesday before they host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
The jury is still out on that billboard, but by the end of the year maybe, just maybe, the Kings will have us thinking that the third word on that billboard is more accurate than that second word.
Photos Courtesy of Steven Chea