The Sacramento Kings already have had to endure an extended stretch without DeMarcus Cousins, and now they’re facing the possibility of having to play without Rudy Gay for multiple contests.
He’s questionable Saturday night as the Kings look to avoid a fourth loss in five games when they complete a six-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sacramento’s 5-1 start to the season included a 98-92 road win over the Clippers on Jan. 2 behind 34 points and 17 rebounds from Cousins and 25 points from Gay to end a five-game losing streak in the series.
The Kings (16-23) were 9-6 when Cousins began battling viral meningitis and dropped eight of 10 during his absence from Nov. 28-Dec. 16. Now they may have to face a second straight game without Gay, who is averaging 20.4 points.
He sat out Friday’s 95-83 loss to Miami with a left knee sprain suffered in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Dallas. Gay is considered day to day.
Reserve Carl Landry missed his first game of the season due to a sprained right wrist, and it’s unclear if he’ll be in the lineup against the Clippers (26-14). Omri Casspi returned after missing the last six with a knee contusion and scored two points in nearly 17 minutes off the bench.
Cousins had 17 and 11 boards for his 23rd double-double, tied for second-most in the NBA and one behind Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic despite playing nine fewer games.
Sacramento scored its fewest points in 15 games since coach Tyrone Corbin took over for the fired Mike Malone on Dec. 15.
”I thought we couldn’t create pace all night,” Corbin said. ”Miami wanted to play at a slow tempo, so we talked about creating pace and pushing the ball down the floor. We ended up falling into a trap and playing at a pace that was favorable to the other team.”
Cousins had only three points in the second half and committed eight of the Kings’ 15 turnovers overall.
"Right intentions, wrong decisions," said Cousins, who has averaged 29.0 points and 14.8 rebounds in his last six against the Clippers.
The Kings have dropped three straight and five of the last six home meetings with Los Angeles, which had won six of eight before falling 126-121 at home to Cleveland on Friday despite Blake Griffin’s 34 points and 10 rebounds.
Coach Doc Rivers’ son, Austin, became the first player in NBA history to play for his father and went 0 for 4 in 12 minutes off the bench in his first game for the Clippers.
"I don’t think we played that well offensively," said the elder Rivers, whose team was outscored by eight in the fourth quarter and allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 55.4 percent overall. "When you score 121 points, I don’t expect to make that comment."
Los Angeles has played only once away from home over its last 11, a 100-94 win at Portland on Wednesday that ended a five-game road losing streak. It has allowed an average of 108.3 points in its last six on the road.