There’s no hiding DeMarcus Cousins’ frustration.
The season that was supposed to be different from his first five, the season in which he had a real chance to make the playoffs, is unraveling just like the others.
The Kings lost again, 108-99, to the Utah Jazz, on Sunday at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings have lost five in a row, nine of 10 and 17 of 22.
Cousins returned from his one-game suspension by General Manager Vlade Divac for conduct detrimental to the team and had 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals. It was the 10th time he’s had a double double with at least 30 points this season in a loss, the most in the NBA.
The former University of Kentucky star was banished for a game for yelling at coach George Karl during Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland.
“That wasn’t a suspension from the organization; that was one from the head coach,” Cousins said. “There’s a difference.”
Cousins was asked if he’d spoken to Karl.
“(Karl) hasn’t said a word to me,” Cousins said.
Cousins is not the only player who’s frustrated. There have been issues with practices, defensive concepts and player rotations all season.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Karl was supposed to maximize the more talented unit that Divac put together with the goal of making the playoffs.
Instead, the Kings are 25-40 and Cousins has expressed his frustration to Karl more than once, the last time leading to the suspension.
“I know for a fact there’s a lot of frustration in this locker room,” Cousins said. “I believe everyone believes we should be a lot better than we are and we’re just frustrated that we’re not. We haven’t performed to the level of expectations, so there’s a lot of frustration with that.”
Cousins has had a lot of instability in his Kings career — from having five head coaches, including three last season, and three general managers to dealing with rumors for years that the team would relocate.
He didn’t plan to add another season of discontent. Cousins has had issues with coaches — especially his first, Paul Westphal — but any issues with Karl were supposed to be buffered by winning.
Instead, the season has had plenty of drama with Karl’s job in question and the Kings falling in the standings.
“It’s a lot of chaos, a lot of chaos,” Cousins said. “Usually it’s just a frustration about coming out and winning games. But so much extra stuff this season, extra unnecessary stuff. It’s a lot of stuff within, a lot of battles, including guys who should be on your side. It’s probably one of the most frustrating ones.”
Opponents have no sympathy.
Utah (31-35) jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter and withstood the Kings’ fourth-quarter rally.
The Jazz exploited Sacramento’s season-long defensive problems, easily exceeding its season average of 97.9 points despite scoring just 47 points in the second half.
Derrick Favors had 28 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for Utah, and Gordon Hayward added 27 points.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” Karl said. “Losing causes different types of mental reactions, and Sunday afternoon games sometimes have a dullness to them. Defensively, we weren’t very good, and offensively we weren’t very good. For three quarters, we weren’t playing.”
Or as Cousins put it: “Terrible first half and a better second half.”
All part of a frustrating season.