DeMarcus Cousins does not like the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, he hates them. Rightfully so as the Kings have gone just 6-20 against the Clippers since Blake Griffin has joined the league. In fact, the Kings have gone 6-20 mainly because of Griffin. Halloween night was no different for Sacramento. The Kings lost to the Clippers 114-109 for the second time in the three nights.
As the Kings have begun to come into themselves since their first game together, this may not always be the case for Sacramento. The Kings have aided their weaknesses that have plagued themselves in the past. Now a bigger, faster, and more versatile team the Kings can compete on a nightly basis.
Last season, the Kings went just 2-9 when Cousins was out with viral meningitis. Last night, the All-Star big man missed the second half of the contest with a sore Achilles. This was no issue for a much-improved team as the Kings were only outscored by one point in the entire second half.
Sacramento now has dependable role players who can step up and defensively create offensive opportunities. This is in no means a call to permanently play without the center. Just an indication that this Sacramento team is not only the best that Cousins has played with, but the best that Sacramento has had in 10 years.
The Kings may break the playoff drought as “Vintage Rondo” (21 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) and Rudy Gay (20 points and 9 rebounds) continue their play on the court.
The main highlight of the early success has to also be attributed to the Bench With Attitude or B.W.A. Darren Collison, Kosta Koufos, and Marco Belinelli played a huge and important role in the Kings late comeback. Thriving under Coach Karl’s system, these players have provided an immediate defensive impact and created a dependable trust on resting the starters. This will prove great benefits down the line.
Sacramento still needs to improve on their defensive consistency as Blake Griffin scored over 35, again, on the Kings. Griffin had 37 and 9 with an overall +/- of +23. Defended by rookie Willie Cauley-Stein early, it took Griffin awhile to be effective. Once Griffin stepped out of the pain and found his jump shot rhythm, he was able to take over the game.
The Kings look to bounce back this Tuesday as DeMarcus Cousins is day to day with an Achilles strain. The first of a back-to-back against both Memphis and Phoenix, the Kings should be incredibly competitive. Look for the Kings to finish the opening of their schedule .500 and in a great position to compete for the 8th seed.
10:30 PM ET, October 31, 2015
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Sac: R. Rondo 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl
LAC: B. Griffin 37 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl