Kings, Pistons enter matchup in opposite emotional states (Jan 23, 2017)
The final seconds of their last game left the Sacramento Kings infuriated. The final second of the Detroit Pistons' last game produced euphoria.
Those two teams come into their meeting at The Palace on Monday night in very different moods.
A questionable foul call against center DeMarcus Cousins with the score tied proved pivotal in the Kings' 102-99 loss at Chicago on Saturday night. That nullified a fast break for the Kings and the Bulls' Dwyane Wade hit one of two free throws with 14 seconds remaining.
"It's deflating," Kings guard Darren Collison told the media afterward, including ESPN.com. "It's hurtful. We felt like we played a great game throughout the whole game, we played hard. We played together as a team. And the way the game ended, the way it (was taken) away from us, it hurts."
Cousins, who sarcastically praised the officials afterward, saw his huge night go to waste. He erupted for 42 points and 14 rebounds, but the Kings (16-27) lost their fifth straight.
"He keeps getting better and better," coach Dave Joerger said. "He's hard to guard. Guys love him, we love him, and he's made major strides in a lot of areas. And I think he still has room in his game to keep adding things."
The problem for Joerger and the Kings is finding other options to complement their star player. They lost their No. 2 scorer, small forward Rudy Gay, for the season on Wednesday when he ruptured his left Achilles tendon.
Cousins was the only Kings player in double figures against the Bulls. Garrett Temple and Arron Afflalo started at the wing positions and combined for 17 points while going 6 of 18 from the field.
Sacramento's lone win in the last nine games came against the Pistons. The Kings erased an 18-point deficit and Cousins sank two late 3-pointers in a 100-94 victory at Golden 1 Center on Jan. 10.
That began a three-game losing streak for Detroit, but it has since rebounded to win three in a row, including a 113-112 victory over Washington on Saturday. Marcus Morris' putback with two-tenths of a seconds remaining rescued the Pistons (21-24), who gave away a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"Even at halftime, I said the reason we were ahead was we were playing really hard," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought our energy was really, really good. I don't think we played real well, obviously, with 20 turnovers and 33 fouls. But you have to win some games like that."
Van Gundy doesn't expect much of a carryover into Monday's game.
"It's just one more in the left-hand column," he said. "Statement games, emotional wins -- it's a win, it's one game. I have been at this too long (to think otherwise). It moves you on to the next game."
Van Gundy's club survived an off-night from its top player, center Andre Drummond, who played just 18 minutes and scored three points because of foul trouble.
Drummond also struggled against Cousins in the first meeting, scoring just nine points.
The Pistons are getting healthier. Power forward Jon Leuer, who missed that game with a bone bruise on a knee, returned Saturday and scored 10 points off the bench.
Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remained sidelined for the third straight game with a rotator cuff strain. He's questionable to play on Monday.