Cousins suspended for punch to groin


Cousins suspended for punch to groin

The Kings will be without DeMarcus Cousins against the Bucks Wednesday night after his ill-advised swing of the arm aimed between O.J. Mayo's legs Monday; the star center was slapped with a one-game suspension Wednesday afternoon.

After the Kings' loss to the Mavericks, Mayo ripped Cousins:

“That guy has some mental issues, man,” Mayo said. “He’s a talented player. He has an opportunity to be the face of that organization, but I don’t think he wants it. He’s immature, man. Big maturity problem. Hopefully, he’ll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.”

[RELATED: Mayo rips Cousins]

Cousins has since responded:

“I heard,” Cousins said of Mayo's comments. “This coming from a guy that doesn’t have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? I’m fine with it. ... Is he a franchise player? So how is he going to tell me what I am?”

[RELATED: Cousins responds]

Cousins, 22, was suspended for two games earlier this season after a postgame altercation with Spurs analyst Sean Elliot.

The third-year big man is averaging 17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 30.7 minutes per game.


NBA Gameday: Kings open new arena looking to stun Spurs

NBA Gameday: Kings open new arena looking to stun Spurs

A night more than a decade in the making is finally here. The Sacramento Kings open their brand new, state of the art Golden 1 Center Thursday evening when they host the San Antonio Spurs in their home opener.

Fresh off a 113-94 win over the Phoenix Suns, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and the 2016-17 Kings roster look to make it two in a row against one of the best the league has to offer.

Tim Duncan is gone, retiring this summer after 19 seasons in the NBA. But the Spurs come in loaded with talent and primed for another long playoff run.

Sacramento showed a new offensive and defensive scheme against the Suns. It’s a work in progress, but their opening night results showed promise.   


Spurs by 8.5


Kings: 1-0, first place in the Pacific

Spurs: 1-0, first place in the Southwest


Rudy Gay vs. Kawhi Leonard -- Leonard has turned into the game’s best two-way player. He’s a perfect fit in Gregg Popovich’s offensive system and he is a one man wrecking crew on the defensive side of the ball. Gay is coming off an impressive opener where he scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He also came away with four blocks in 33 minutes. Sacramento needs another big game from Gay if they hope to stun the Spurs.


Kings: G Darren Collison (league suspension) out.

Spurs: G Danny Green (strained quad) out.


The Spurs swept the Kings 3-0 in the season series last year and have now won six straight against Sacramento. San Antonio leads the Kings 112-55 all-time and 84-39 during the Sacramento-era.


“I think the biggest difference is everybody is part of the offense. Obviously we have our guys can go get buckets, but when everybody has the freedom to attack and be aggressive and know that there’s time when we get ours, but for the most part, they need to be aggressive too.” -Rudy Gay

Rewind: Kings display depth in convincing season-opening victory

Rewind: Kings display depth in convincing season-opening victory

It’s just one game, but an outline is taking shape. The Sacramento Kings might be a newly assembled group with plenty of room to improve, but their 113-94 win over the Phoenix Suns in Wednesday night’s opener showed a quality lacking from previous seasons. This team is deep with NBA level talent and whether they win or lose, they look like a team that will give a fight night in and night out.

The Suns won just 23 games last season and they boast a roster with four teenagers and five total players under the legal drinking age. This isn’t a 67 win Spurs team like the Kings will face Thursday night at the Golden 1 Center, but they are still an NBA squad.

For most of the night, the Kings completely overmatched their young opponents on both ends of the floor. Sacramento took a 57-38 lead into the third quarter and looked like they might walk away with a huge blowout win to start the season. They pushed to lead to 26 multiple times, but then let off the gas.

“We didn’t stay consistent with what we’re doing to have the lead that we had, we broke down,” DeMarcus Cousins said following the game.

Phoenix made a run in the late third quarter and early fourth, cutting the Kings’ lead to 10 before Sacramento responded with a 12-1 run to put the game away.

“The funny thing about tonight, we had a spot that was kind of familiar from the past years, where we were up, but we let another team back in and gave them some energy and gave them some momentum going forward,” Cousins told CSN’s Kayte Christensen. “Usually it will turn into a game. But the difference this year is we poised ourself, shut the water off and got some stops”

The Kings didn’t play 48 minutes of quality basketball. They might not have even made it to the 36 minute plateau, but when they needed a big shot to break the Suns momentum someone stepped up. And when they needed a defensive stop, they had the ability to make one.

“We’re helping each other,” Rudy Gay said following the game. “That’s one of the things in camp that we wanted to make known - that we have to help each other, we have to be a team and play team defense and we did that today.”

It’s a mindset that head coach Dave Joerger has brought with him from his time in Memphis. It’s a grit and grind system that has proven to be very effective for the Kings’ new head coach.

“Defensively, when you get after people, 48 minutes is a long game to be locked and have that focus,” Joerger said. “When you just keep banging away at it and banging away at it, it becomes who you are.”

The Kings are working on the defensive identity that Joerger is preaching. It’s a work in progress, but one that has been missing from Sacramento for quite some time. While the starting unit looked a bit lost on the defensive end to start the game, they made adjustments to stop the Suns interior attack. They also held a quality perimeter shooting Phoenix team to just 4-of-16 from long range.

On the offensive end, Sacramento shared the ball as 11 of the 12 players that took the floor scored a basket and nine players scored six or more points.

“I think the biggest difference is everybody is part of the offense,” Gay said. “Obviously we have our guys who can go get buckets, but when everybody has the freedom to attack and be aggressive and know that there’s time when we get ours, but for the most part, they need to be aggressive too.”

Cousins led the way with 24 points on just 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and Gay added 22. Veterans Matt Barnes (14 points) and Garrett Temple (12 points) helped lead a bench unit that outscored the Suns second team 48-34.

The Kings will face a different beast Thursday night in their home opener. San Antonio is fresh off a drubbing of the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and have been in Sacramento awaiting the return of the home team. Back-to-backs are never easy, but this one feels especially cruel by the NBA schedule makers.