Cousins: ‘It’s almost like we have to get hit first for us to react’
BOSTON – Heading into the fourth quarter, the Kings held a 72-69 lead but an eye injury that forced DeMarcus Cousins to head into the locker room let the Celtics regain the lead for the remainder of the period winning 97-92.
Cousins returned to the game and tried to will Sacramento back from the deficit but it was too much for him to handle. Cousins finished with 28 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
The Celtics were able to gain a 13-point lead in the first quarter as they went on two separate 8-0 runs on a remarkable 12-of-16 shooting start. Al Horford carried the Celtics in the first period scoring 12 points.
“It’s almost like we have to get hit first for us to react. It’s not good for us,” Cousins told the Associated Press. “We’re in the situation where we have to come in and be aggressive every night. If we don’t figure this out, we’re going to continue to have these kind of games and just another losing season.”
Despite slow starts from Cousins and Rudy Gay, the bench was able to bring Sacramento back from the 13-point deficit with their defensive pressure. The Kings went on a 13-0 run to end the first tying the game up at 29 heading into the second quarter.
“We got off to a really slow start,” Gay said. “They’re a good team but we shot ourselves in the foot today.”
The run continued into the second period when the Kings regained the lead for the first time since the first basket of the game. The Kings wouldn’t hold the lead for long as the second quarter served as a possession-by-possession battle for the lead. The Celtics would head into the locker room with a 47-46 lead at the half.
Cousins would score 10 points in the third quarter as the Kings went ahead 72-69 to start the fourth. A trip to the locker room to seal a cut over Cousins’ left eye forced the Kings to search for scoring halfway through the period. Gay wasn’t the answer late down the stretch as he went 6-of-14 for the game with a team high, six turnovers.
Cousins would re enter the game and immediately make an impact with free throws, a layup and a three point foul sequence. Cousins made a three-point basket with 31.8 seconds left, which cut the Celtics lead 95-92.
A great defensive possession by Cousins would force Thomas into a bad shot and gave the Kings the ball back with 9.7 seconds remaining.
The inbounds pass would go to Cousins where he forced a three looking for a foul on Horford and did not receive it. The refs held off on the whistle and Cousins muffed the ball, which would result in free throws to end the game in the TD Garden.
The bench provided a spark in the first period when the Kings went down early. Ty Lawson and Garrett Temple were able to force turnovers, which ultimately tied the game up at the end of the quarter.
Omri Casspi was used early and often as Gay was struggling. Casspi missed a couple of easy looks that came at inopportune times and also lost his temper at times during this game.
Willie Cauley-Stein again provided good minutes as he scored six points on three assists. Maybe he is not yet mentally developed but seeing him grow into his role is the most important task during his second season.
Matt Barnes had another Matt Barnes type game. Played great defense, received a technical foul and was able to rebound the basketball as he grabbed a team high 16. Barnes had two ugly turnovers in the open court right after two hard defensive possessions, which set the Kings back.
Where is Arron Afflalo? He has been really quiet over this road trip and hasn’t been able to grow into his own. Dave Joerger needs his two guard to provide more scoring because getting four shot attempts for five points is simply not enough.
Sacramento is now 1-2 on their five game road trip and plans to get back on track Sunday as they face the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Tip off is at 4:30 PM PST.