Cousins, Kings deal Wizards costly defeat, 120-111
BY JEFFREY WEIDEL
Mar. 31, 2016
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A third straight playoff appearance is looking unlikely for the Washington Wizards.
DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four blocks, and the Sacramento Kings dealt a severe blow to the Wizards' playoff hopes with a 120-111 victory on Wednesday night.
The Wizards dropped their second straight and fourth in five games, falling 3 ½ games behind Indiana for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
The latest loss didn't sit well with Bradley Beal, who made it clear that the Wizards' effort was lacking.
"There was no sense of urgency to me. It felt like we gave up," said Beal, who scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. "We're just not hungry enough. If guys don't want to play they need to sit down. I'm not giving up yet."
With the goal of playing spoiler, the inspired Kings led most of the game. They assumed the lead for good early in the third quarter and never trailed again in winning for third time in four games.
Sacramento took advantage of a lackluster Washington defense, shooting 56 percent, made 8 of 18 3-pointers and having 27 assists.
"This team is capable of scoring points and we tried to outscore them. Our defense was non-existent," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "You should win every game if you score 111 points and you are defending the other team."
Otto Porter had four 3-pointers and scored 20 points for the Wizards. John Wall contributed 14 points and 13 assists, but shot 4 of 16 and had five of the Wizards' 20 turnovers. Nene scored 15 points and Markieff Morris had 13.
Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi scored 15 points apiece for the Kings. Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 11 assists before he was ejected after getting a double technical in the closing seconds of the game. Darren Collison had 13 points and 10 assists and Kosta Koufos had 12 points.
The victory was the third straight at home for the Kings and gave them their first 30-win season in eight years. However, the Kings will miss the playoffs for a 10th straight season.
Sacramento's bench scored 49 points.
"We just took advantage of their second unit," Collison said. "We've got good players off the bench for us that have been playing well all season. Koufos had a good game, Omri had a good game, and Ben (McLemore) came in and did some good things on the defensive end."
Cousins got off to a great start in the opening quarter, scoring 11 points in seven minutes. He had been outplayed by Marcin Gortat in a loss earlier this season when the Washington center had a season-high 27 points and 16 rebounds.
Cousins hit consecutive baskets to increase the Sacramento lead to 112-97 with a little over 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. He clearly outplayed Gortat, who made 2 of 9 shots and had six points and 12 rebounds.
But Cousins also received his 16th technical of the season, which will trigger an automatic suspension for Friday's game against Miami if it is upheld.
Cousins usually earns his technicals by saying something inappropriate. This time it was for clapping after a turnover that resulted in the technical with 6.7 seconds remaining in the game. Rondo drew a double technical at the same time and was ejected.
"They said it was a violation and we clapped. I guess they didn't like that," Cousins said in a courtside TV interview right after the game.
"It's kind of unfortunate that it happened. I really don't know what to say about it," Cousins said in the Kings locker room. "If I say something I'll get punished and if I don't say something I'll get punished. I really don't know what the answer is anymore. I'm highly disappointed in what just happened."
Wizards: Porter scored 13 points in the third quarter. ... Wall had his 47th double-double for points and assists. ... The Wizards, who are 17-20 on the road, conclude a five-game road trip Sunday against the Clippers.
Kings: The team announced earlier Wednesday it had signed Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac to a multiyear contract. Divac, 48, played 16 seasons in the NBA, including six with the Kings. ... Seth Curry started his fourth straight game and had five points. He had averaged 15.7 games in his previous three starts.
Wizards: At Phoenix on Friday.
Kings: Host Miami on Friday.