DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t miss a beat in first game back from illness
Sacramento lost to Milwaukee as DeMarcus Cousins returned from viral meningitis, but he hardly missed a beat.
It’s not a groovy time in Sacramento. The Kings just fired head coach Mike Malone, replacing him with interim Ty Corbin. They have lost 10 of their last 12, including a 2-8 stretch without center DeMarcus Cousins as he recovered from viral meningitis.
Cousins returned to the court on Thursday night, scoring 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, which is good news for Sacramento as it hopes to turn things around.
The bad news is that Cousins’ return came in a 108-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, when the big man’s stepback jumper fell short at the buzzer.
The defense wasn’t there on Thursday night for the Kings, who allowed the Bucks to go 13-for-23 from beyond the three-point line. It didn’t help Sacramento got sloppy with the ball, giving Milwaukee chances to run.
Cousins led his team’s 57-percent shooting night by going 8-for-12 from the floor. He was refusing to take shots outside of the post — save for his difficult final shot — and to that emphasis, he also got to the foul line 13 times. Cousins even dolled out this impressive bounce pass to Ramon Session, one of his five assists.
While Cousins rounds back into form, the Kings will be forced to figure things out. They fired a coach that had them 11-13 this year, which wasn’t far out of the Western Conference playoff picture and certainly had been influenced by Cousins’ illness. Sacramento was 9-6 after a Nov. 26 loss to the Rockets, Cousins’ last game before sitting out the next 10 because of his bout with the virus.
Corbin has lost his first two games as interim coach. While the rumors about the coaching search fly, Cousins’ job gets more difficult.
This summer, there were talks that he wouldn’t make Team USA over Mason Plumlee. Instead, he played a lead role in a gold medal win, saving his only double-double of the tournament for the final game. He began the season answering the doubters, who wondered whether his performance with the national squad would lead to Kings wins. The challenge has only grown.
Now, it’s on to helping Sacramento through a surprising coaching change.