After trailing the Phoenix Suns by 12 points late in the first quarter yesterday, the Sacramento Kings became aggressive and stayed aggressive for the rest of the game, beating the Suns 109-95.
Rookie center DeMarcus Cousins had an impressive debut in a Kings uniform, scoring 16 points on 61.5 percent shooting and grabbing 16 rebounds in a little less than 30 minutes. The crowd was in awe when he pulled off a dunk similar in style to Dwight Howard.
“I thought DeMarcus gave us everything we’re looking for,” Kings head coach Paul Westphal said. “In the post and both ends of the floor, he showed why we think so highly of him.”
Although Cousins put up impressive numbers in his debut, his face lit up with a smile when he heard that former Kentucky teammate and Washington Wizards guard John Wall had 21 points and nine assists in his debut. “Looks like I have to do a little more,” Cousins said jokingly. “I thought I played a decent game but I’m trying to catch up with John.”
Though Wall and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin are considered to be the frontrunners in the Rookie of the Year race, Cousins can be thrown into the mix as well.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans was pretty good for the Kings as well. He scored 26 points on 52.9 percent shooting in less than 28 minutes of play. “I felt pretty good,” he said. “I think I came out real slow in the first half but I picked it up in the second half, got the job done and we were all happy we came out with a win.”
Evans was testing out his improved jump shot against a different team for the first time. Instead of pulling the ball to the back of his head, he shot the ball in front of it. He made four out of nine of his jumpers and was two-for-three behind the arc. “I feel good,” he said, taking jump shots. “I think it’s big progress. It’s changing and I’m happy about it.”
Suns guard Steve Nash played less than six minutes that game, but was impressed as he watched Evans from the bench. “The sky’s the limit,” he said about Evans’ future. “He’s a great athlete, has a great feel for the game [and is] very skilled. I’ll think he’ll go as far as he wants to.”
Jason Thompson had 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Marcus Landry, brother of Kings power forward Carl Landry, had 11 points starting at small forward on the team. Omri Casspi came off the bench for 11 points and 7 rebounds. Both Cousins and Thompson grabbed five offensive rebounds.
Samuel Dalembert, Hassan Whiteside and Darnell Jackson did not play due to injuries while Francisco Garcia was away from the team due to personal reasons. Connor Atchley and Joe Crawford did not play despite being in uniform.
Veteran Suns forward Grant Hill turned 38 years old yesterday but played less than six minutes against the Kings. He is entering his 16th season in the NBA.
The Kings will play at home against the Clippers tomorrow at 7 pm PST.