Programming note: Pacers-Kings coverage starts Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Kings Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (territory restrictions apply) Channel locations
The Kings (9-9), in the midst of a four-game losing streak, will try to do something they haven’t done without DeMarcus Cousins: Win.
Cousins, who has missed three consecutive games, is home resting after being released from the hospital for treatment of a viral infection.
“A lot of people will be quick to say we haven’t won without DeMarcus last year or this year (0-14) but I think it’s time for that to come to an end,” Kings coach Michael Malone said.
[RELATED: Cousins admitted to hospital]
The Kings will have that opportunity again as Cousins has been ruled out for Sacramento’s next two games -- hosting the Pacers (7-11) on Friday and the Magic (7-14) on Saturday.
The 6-foot-11 center has delivered prodigious production, averaging career-highs of 23.5 points (sixth in the NBA) and 12.6 rebounds per game (first in the NBA).
“Obviously, we want him to get healthy and get back as soon as possible,” Malone said. “As I told our guys after the game (Tuesday vs. Toronto), we have enough players, enough talent, enough character in this locker room to step up and find a way to start winning some games.”
“We’ve got to step up and play,” Darren Collison said. “The thing about the NBA is one guy goes down, another guy has to step up.”
Consistency, especially on defense, has proven elusive for Sacramento.
In the Kings nine wins, they’re allowing 97.9 points. In their nine losses they’re allowing 105.2 points.
“That’s the thing we’re battling right now,” Malone commented. “How do we become a more consistent team?
The Kings played one half of good defense against the Grizzlies, allowing 39 points in the second half. They played two quarters of defense against the Raptors, allowing a 26-point second and a 25-point fourth.
“We can’t do that," Malone said. "We have to be a team that plays for 48 minutes.”
Also, worthy of note is the need to fill the rebounding void left by Cousins, the league's leading rebounder. Sacramento actually leads the NBA in rebound margin at plus-7.9.
While Toronto outrebounded Sacramento by just one, the Raptors also cashed in on 11 second-chance points in the fourth quarter of the Kings 117-109 loss on Tuesday.
However, there is still confidence that the squad can break the Kings' 14-game schneid over the past two seasons without Cousins.
“We’re a good ball group,” Collison concluded. “We’re great with him, but we’re a good ball group without him.”
“We’ve got to find a way to win.”