Blake Griffin has dominated DeMarcus Cousins in their matchups, powering a season sweep by the Los Angeles Clippers last season.The power forwards meet for the first time this season Saturday night when Griffin and the Clippers try to drop Cousins' Kings to 0-6 on the road.Los Angeles (9-6) is 6-1 against Sacramento (4-11) over the last two seasons since Cousins came into the league. Griffin is averaging 20.6 points on 60.2 percent shooting to go with 12.0 rebounds per game in those meetings while Cousins is averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 boards and shooting 35.7 percent.Cousins' scoring average against the Clippers is his worst against any Western Conference foe. He grew so frustrated after fouling out in 18 minutes in a 93-85 home loss to Los Angeles on April 5 that he called Griffin an "actor." Two days later, Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 109-94 home win over Sacramento.The Clippers went 3-0 against the Kings in 2011-12.While the duel inside could prove decisive, Los Angeles figures to have an advantage on the perimeter if Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans misses a second straight game.Evans sat out Friday due to a bruised left knee in a 97-92 home defeat to Indiana. He is averaging a career-low 14.9 points, but had netted 21.0 per game over his last five outings.His absence could make it easier for Chris Paul, who had 23 points and 11 assists in Wednesday's 101-95 home win over Minnesota. The Clippers ended a season-high four-game losing streak.The game marked the season debut for Chauncey Billups, who started and had seven points and three assists in 19 minutes in his first action since Feb. 6 after recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon."Now that I'm back, I look forward to regaining my old form," he told the Clippers' official website. "And I'm going to be very patient with that. Just me being back is a success and a blessing, so I'm going to be happy with that until everything else kind of comes around."Clippers leading scorer Jamal Crawford is only averaging 11.5 points on 32.5 percent shooting in his last four games."I find myself in the corner just waiting on the action, when I have to go make the action happen," Crawford said. "That's who I am and that's what I'll get back to doing.Griffin had 18 points and six boards Wednesday as he bounced back from a season-low, four-point effort two nights earlier against New Orleans.Cousins, meanwhile, had 19 points and 16 rebounds Friday for his first double-double in six games. The big man, however, struggled to make 5 of 17 shots, and is shooting 42.0 percent on the season."Yes, he forced too many shots tonight," Kings coach Keith Smart said of Cousins. "He needs to start taking those shots that are available."The Kings are one game worse than their record after 15 games last season and enduring their worst road start since going 0-9 to begin 2007-08."I just knew our team could be better and much further along than where we are right now," Smart said. "I am very disappointed."
The Sacramento Kings hit the Big Apple Sunday evening in hopes of snapping their two-game losing streak. Standing in there way is a rebuilt and reinvigorated New York Knicks team.
DeMarcus Cousins had his four-game streak of games with 30 or more points snapped Friday night. He finished the game with 28, but he missed a two-minute stretch in the mid-fourth quarter with a cut next to his right eye that required eight stitches after the loss to the Celtics.
New York is coming off back-to-back wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves and they are 7-3 over their last 10. Carmelo Anthony leads the way, averaging 22.6 points per game, but second-year big Kristaps Porzingis and veteran Derrick Rose are both posting big numbers under head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Knicks by 2
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Rudy Gay vs. Carmelo Anthony -- These two grew up in the same area of Maryland and know each other very well. After a quick start to the season, Gay’s numbers have dropped over Sacramento’s last eight games. He comes in averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 34.7 minutes per game. Anthony hasn’t showed any signs of slowing in year 14. The 11-time All-Star is a tough cover and Gay will have his hands full.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 7-12, fourth place in Pacific
Knicks: 10-9, third place in Atlantic
Kings: No injuries to report.
Knicks: C Joakim Noah (ankle) questionable, Courtney Lee (ankle) questionable.
Sacramento swept the Knicks last year 2-0 in the season series. The Kings hold a 153-142 advantage over the Knicks all-time, but New York leads 33-29 during the Sacramento-era.
“If we don’t figure this thing out, we’re going to continue to have these types of games and just another losing season.” -DeMarcus Cousins following the Kings loss in Boston on Friday night
BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center.
He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant.
And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder.
Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free.
“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.
That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins.
But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs.
“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.”
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