Live from the locker room: Kings vs. Raptors

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins battles Chuck Hayes and Kyle Lowry for a rebound. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Here is the latest news live from Sleep Train Arena:

  • From shootaround until a few minutes after 6 p.m. PST, DeMarcus Cousins had the look of a player ready to make his return to the court tonight.  But after trying to go through warm-ups, the flu bug won out and the Sacramento Kings will once again be without their No. 1 option.
  • While Cousins was away from the team, coach Malone received solid contributions from both Reggie Evans and Ryan Hollins.  Hollins came up big in San Antonio, dropping in 15 points and grabbing six rebounds, while Evans couldn’t be stopped against the Grizzlies on Sunday, off the bench.  “It always creates an opportunity,” Michael Malone said of losing a player to illness or injury.  “Obviously it’s a matter of guys stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity.  We saw it the other night in San Antonio, Ryan Hollins comes out and plays terrific for us.  Last game at home against Memphis, Reggie comes out and gets 20 and 17.  So those are back-to-back games where somebody took advantage of the minutes created by DeMarcus being out.  It’s always about opportunity.”
  • With Cousins out, Malone is likely to start Ryan Hollins for the third straight game against third-year big man Jonas Valanciunas.  Rookie Eric Moreland will take Cousins’ spot on the roster.
  • Ramon Sessions has received the bulk of the reserve point guard minutes behind starter Darren Collison, but that will likely change tonight against the Raptors.  “We are always as a staff, we are going to evaluate where we are, who we’re playing and who’s going to give us the best chance to win,” Malone said.  “Tonight’s a great example.  They have a young man coming off their bench who’s a prolific scorer in Lou Williams and let’s not be silly, Ray McCallum is one of our best defenders.  So there’s a good chance Ray McCallum plays tonight because he’s one of the few guys that may be able to bother Lou Williams a little bit.”
  • Toronto lost a huge asset late last week when All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan went down with a torn adductor tendon.  There is no word on how long DeRozan will be out, but it sounds like an injury that could take a while.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".