Bullies are bad, but viewers couldn’t help but marvel at DeMarcus Cousins’ menacing presence.
The Sacramento Kings hosted the Los Angeles Clippers for their third preseason contest on Monday, and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers elected to sit Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles’ offense was out of sync, and their interior defense was nonexistent in an 11-point loss.
Facing a pivot rotation of Byron Mullens, Lou Amundson and Ryan Hollins, Cousins tallied 31 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes leaving the game in the third quarter. He shot 11-of-18 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the charity stripe as he abused his lighter opponents with deep positioning and demoralizing putbacks.
It was the kind of performance that reminded the Kings organization why they gave the hotheaded center a four-year, $62 million extension in the offseason. Sure, he was battling bench players, but it helps his confidence going forward just the same.
In addition, Greivis Vasquez made his Sacramento debut getting the start from head coach Mike Malone and logging 11 minutes. The point guard was slowed by cobwebs, but he teased with his talents for passing the ball and driving to the hoop. Vasquez was replaced by Isaiah Thomas who scored 16 in 30 minutes.
Without their stars, the Clippers attack was disjointed as the team settled for jump shots too often. Darren Collison delivered a fine box score with 20 points and 10 assists, but Los Angeles only made 13-of-35 3-point attempts, while drawing nine foul shots to Sacramento’s 30. The Clippers were also buried on the boards collecting 29 rebounds to the Kings’ 53.
Part of the reason the Clippers relentlessly fired away from deep was due to the Kings’ sloppy perimeter play. This will need to be addressed in practice, but Malone should be happy with the club’s progress, and particularly Cousins’. Sacramento will play the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Photo Credit: Hector Amezcua / Sacbee.com