DeMarcus Cousins made a statement last night, hell he’s been making statements all year. In the gut-wrenching 129-128 double overtime loss against the Charlotte Hornets, Cousins set a franchise record with 56 points. Combined with his then-career-high performance against the Pacers on Saturday when he put up 48, he now has recorded 104 points in the past two games.
Heading into last night’s tip-off, Cousins was named Western Conference Player of the Week, for the second time this season and fourth in his career, per NBA.com. This award was the result of leading his team to three straight victories while upholding an average of 36 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1 block spread out over 37.7 minutes per game. And then he showed out last night in way that drew attention around the association.
— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2016
Big Cuz is making a powerful run at capturing player of the month, putting up numbers no other big man is (landing his third game with over 40 points and 10 rebounds, per ESPN Stats & Info, no other player has more than one) while leading his team into the last playoff seed after starting at a dismal 1-7. Yet, we are left with this despicable reality:
This is your reminder that Zaza Pachulia & Enes Kanter got more All Star votes than Demarcus Cousins this year. pic.twitter.com/LmowMwTBBu
— pat muldowney (@patmuldowney) January 26, 2016
More and more I am reminded why the NBA All-Star protocol is utterly flawed and is not reflective of the greatest talent. It’s a popularity contest, an exhibition game, and the equivalent to a little league opening day parade. Players showcase their abilities—while playing no defense—and draw high television ratings. “But the game is for the fans,” you so often hear. Every game is for the fans. Every time an arena opens its doors it’s for the fans. Do the fans choose the starting five for those games? Nope.
The Kings are playing really good basketball. The fans have been waiting to get behind this style of team-play for years. If this grind continues, they will make the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
Another large feat was captured in last night’s performance, one shared by Cousins and Rajon Rondo, where Cousins achieved the 2nd-highest points with a teammate having at least 20 assists (Rondo) in NBA history.
After dominating for most of the game, Cousins fouled out on a very questionable call, and the game undoubtedly shifted. The end result was a heartbreaking loss that ended the teams winning streak.
My biggest take away from this game: the Kings need to take better care of the ball and tighten up their three-point defense. They turned the ball over 22 times, while the Hornets did just nine. They also gave up 44 three-point attempts, with the Hornets making 19—including the winning bucket.