Jackson on Kings: 'They present a lot of challenges'
"It’s going to be tough. He’s one of the best bigs in the league." -- Andrew Bogut on DeMarcus Cousins. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Programming note: Coverage of Warriors-Kings on CSN Bay Area starts at 7:00 with Warriors Pregame Live, followed by NBA basketball at 7:30.
It doesn’t matter that the Sacramento Kings have the worst record in the Western Conference. Against the Warriors this season, the Kings are perfect.
Both early-season wins came at times when the Kings were struggling. The first snapped their three-game losing streak to open the season; the second ended a five-game skid in December.
“They’re a team that has played well at us individually and collectively,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “They’ve given us some problems. They can score, they’re very physical. They’re a better rebounding team than a Toronto team that outrebounded us (Monday).”
Demarcus Cousins has a lot to do with the Kings’ rebounding success and is a player Warriors center Andrew Bogut has come to respect.
“It’s going to be tough. He’s one of the best bigs in the league,” Bogut said. “Physical presence, he’s been playing very well for them. Got to do you work earlier against him and hopefully make him drift out and shoot jumpers.”
Cousins has averaged 23.5 points and 11 rebounds against the Warriors this year, but Bogut was limited to just 19 minutes in the first meeting and did not play in the second. It’ll be a good test for Bogut, who returned to the lineup Monday to play a season-high 30 minutes after missing the previous six games with a protruding disk in his back.
Bogut’s numbers -- four points, eight rebounds – didn’t scream impact, but it was clear he impacted the game positively for Golden State. As a player who adjusts shots in the interior, rebounds and passes effectively, the Warriors are missing key elements when he’s sidelined.
“I’m not a numbers guy. There’s other guys in the league who can get big numbers and still be on losing teams,” Bogut said. “I don’t mind if I’m not scoring. I just try to defend and rebound and make the right play and make the right pass.
“Some nights I’ll have big numbers, some nights I won’t. I don’t look too much at the numbers column, I look more at the letters column. If we have more Ws than Ls then that’s the most important thing.”
With Bogut in the lineup the Warriors are 7-6 (.538) and without him they’re 27-21 (.563). With such a small sample size with him in the lineup, it’s unfair to draw any firm conclusions, but his health is paramount moving forward.
Bogut said he still doesn’t have his touch back and until he does, he’ll continue to be a pass-first player on offense.
“We know exactly who he is and he gives us a totally different weapon than what we have,” Jackson said. “We saw some flashes (Monday), now it’s about getting him as healthy as possible and then getting great minutes.”
Wednesday’s game against Sacramento is the second on the team’s current seven-game home stand. The Warriors sit a game ahead of Houston for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference, a game and a half ahead of Utah and three ahead of the Lakers, who remain on the outside looking in.