Sacramento -- The Kings were blown out by Dallas 101-78 at home on Thursday and DeMarcus Cousins has had enough.
“To come in and lay down like we did is unacceptable,” Cousins said. “Have some self respect. Act like you care. That’s what it’s coming down to.
"There’s nothing wrong with the team. It’s the same team that was winning. Ain’t nothing changed but the attitudes with the guys in this room.”
The frustration is understandable.
Sacramento (17-31) has lost 10 of its last 11 games and is now 6-18 under Tyrone Corbin as its head coach since taking over for the dismissed Michael Malone.
“We’re not going there,” Cousins repeated when asked multiple times about the coaching change. “We’re past that.”
When asked if this was the most frustrated he’s been in his four and half season’s in Sacramento, Cousins responded, "Absolutely."
Dallas (34-18) bounced back after a loss to the Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday to win in Sacramento without an injured Rajon Rondo and with Dirk Nowitzki on the sidelines resting.
But for the Kings, it’s not about the opposition, it’s about getting back on the right track.
Cousins knows leadership is vital to the team.
“The only thing I can do is lead by example . . . my body language has been bad as well, I need to straighten it out myself,” Cousins said. “I need to lead by example.”
Cousins admitted that the team has had player-only meetings, but is not sure at this juncture how effective they would be.
“We’ve had player-only meetings. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll get anything out of it. It’s something within each guy in this locker room. It’s about . . . self respect, having some type of pride and taking your job seriously. Coming in every night ready to play, regardless of the circumstances.
“Just man up and play, man. Just play hard. If we play hard and we get our brains beat in, I’m fine with that. But to just come out and lay down like we did tonight is unacceptable.”
The expectations for the Kings this season were not high, but that changed, buoyed by 9-6 start before Cousins went out with viral meningitis.
Sacramento hasn’t made any significant personnel moves, but the tailspin has ensued.
“We’re the same team. That same team that everyone was praising at the beginning of the year . . . so yes, we can do it, we just have to change our attitude," Cousins concluded.
However, getting it right on the floor has never seemed so distant.
The sole bright spot was Cousins’ 30th double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
To play giving your best effort and lose is okay, but the Kings failed to play with the vim and vigor you’d expect.
To get blown out by the Mavs when they're without Rondo and Nowitzki, and you desperately need a win, just can’t happen. But it did.
It’s a new low point of the season for the Kings.