Posted December 24, 2012 on AP on Fox
It appears the Sacramento Kings can play well without their controversial leading scorer and rebounder, DeMarcus Cousins. With Cousins not in the arena due for disciplinary reasons, the Kings were an effective, unselfish team. Now the question is whether they can keep it up. Marcus Thornton scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to help the slumping Kings snap Portland's five-game winning streak with a 108-96 victory over the Trail Blazers on Sunday night. Cousins, who is the starting center, was suspended indefinitely Saturday for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team. The third-year player and Kings head coach Keith Smart had a confrontation during halftime of Friday's 97-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Smart told Cousins to stay in the locker room and not join the team for the second half. Sacramento had six players in double figures and recorded a season-high 31 assists against Portland. The Kings pulled away in the second half, shooting nearly 71 percent after the break. Using its eighth different starting lineup this season, Sacramento had a season-best 45 field goals. ''We were missing DeMarcus, so we had a different lineup out there and it worked out tonight,'' said James Johnson, who made a rare start at power forward while Jason Thompson moved to center. ''We were a small team tonight so we ran fast and played very unselfish.'' Both Thornton and Salmons helped spark the second-half surge after both were relative non-factors in the opening half. The pair combined for 31 second-half points, helping the Kings pull away. Thornton made 8 of 11 shots in the second half and finished with four rebounds and four assists. Salmons had 13 of his 15 points in the second half and also added seven rebounds and seven assists. ''John is a very unselfish player and can get his own shots,'' Thornton said. ''He got going in the second half. Me and the first half didn't do so well. But I came on at the right time and got hot in the second half.'' Already ahead by nine points, the Kings opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Thornton, to build their lead to 87-71. The Blazers trailed by at least 12 the rest of the way. ''I just think it was one of those games where the other team played better than us,'' Portland rookie guard Damian Lillard said. ''There probably were some defensive mistakes we made that we shouldn't have and they took advantage of it.'' Former Blazer Travis Outlaw had a season-high 15 points and Isaiah Thomas added 11 for the Kings, who had lost six of their previous seven games. Both Thompson and Johnson chipped in 10 points. ''It's definitely fun playing against some former teammates,'' Outlaw said. ''I wish I could go out and do it against other teams that well. Everybody got great looks at the rim tonight. We played very unselfish.'' LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who have lost two of three meetings with the Kings this season. Lillard had 15 points and seven assists, Nicolas Batum scored 17, and JJ Hickson had 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Kings haven't said when Cousins will be allowed to rejoin the team again. He was told not to attend the game. Cousins is averaging team bests of 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds. ''There are a few things we need to sit down and talk about,'' Smart said. ''We have a couple of days before our next game and our executive staff will discuss things and go from there.'' Sacramento also played without starting guard Tyreke Evans, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee. Evans, the Kings second-leading scorer, has missed 8 of the past 12 games. ''I thought they played very well without their key players,'' Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ''In this league when players are missing for whatever reasons the other players take that as an opportunity to play well.'' The scoring of Thornton kept the Kings on top in the third quarter. The streak-shooting Thornton had 11 points and Brooks hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, helping Sacramento carry an 80-71 lead into the fourth. Outlaw keyed a second-quarter effort by Sacramento's reserves. He had 13 points and Thomas had eight points and five assists, helping the Kings outscore Portland 28-15 and take a 49-42 lead into halftime. Trailing by 10 early in the second quarter, the Kings responded with a 15-0 run to take a 36-31 lead. Notes: Portland made just 7 of 24 from 3-point range. ... Blazers starting guard Wesley Matthews has a left hip injury and didn't travel with the team. Seldom-used Victor Claver started in the Blazers backcourt. ... Outlaw's 13 points in the second quarter was two more than his season high entering the game. He scored 11 points against the Blazers in a Kings victory in Portland on Dec. 8. ... The two teams don't play again until Dec. 26 in Portland.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
HE'LL NEVER LEARN

Kings suspend Cousins indefinitely

The Kings have suspended DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely following his latest outburst, an argument with coach Keith Smart.

DeMarcus Cousins Suspended Indefinitely

DeMarcus Cousins has had his fair share of issues during his young career, particularly during this season. It seems like he’s always in the middle of something that smells like trouble, and he tends to be the cause. He is the epitome of the unbelievably dysfunctional Sacramento Kings. Now, it seems like his own organization is sick of his behavior. Via Marc Spears of Yahoo!, Cousins...

Yippee skippee everybody!!!! DeMarcus Cousins is coming back to the team!!! Hugs and kisses ...

In case the title didn't give it away, you can probably tell that I'm filled to the brim with overreaching pride that DeMarcus Cousins can now return to the court to complain about foul calls, pick up technical fouls, argue with everyone on planet Earth and probably all the characters from "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", and kill a teddy bear in a fit of rage...

Sacramento Kings reinstate C DeMarcus Cousins

The Sacramento Kings have reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins after a one-game suspension for ''unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.'' Cousins practiced with the Kings on Monday. Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento's loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Smart...

DeMarcus Cousins throws another temper tantrum

At this point DeMarcus Cousins himself would admit that he has some growing up to do. Cousins remained in the locker room during the second half of the Sacramento Kings’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Cousins decided that it was wise to get into a very viewable argument with head coach Keith Smart on Friday.  Please Click Here To Read This Story & Watch A Cousins Video

Kings reinstate suspended Cousins

The Sacramento Kings have reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins after a one-game suspension for ''unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.'' Cousins practiced with the Kings on Monday. Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento's loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Smart...

DeMarcus Cousins Suspended Indefinitely by Kings After Being Suspended by League Twice This Season

DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended indefinitely by the Sacramento Kings for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.” Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie announced the move Saturday. Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento’s 97-85 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night...

Sacramento Kings Reinstate DeMarcus Cousins

The Sacramento Kings reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins on Monday after he served a one-game suspension. Cousins was suspended by the team for Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but was reinstated Monday and practiced with the Kings. His suspension was a result of a verbal altercation between Cousins and Kings head coach Keith Smart during halftime of Sacramento’s...

Sacramento Kings big-man DeMarcus Cousins suspended indefinitely

Tweet The laboring Sacramento Kings will be without their leader in points, rebounds and steals per game for the immediate future, as DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins has been suspended by the team. The team came out with a press-release this afternoon on NBA.com saying, “Sacramento Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie today announced that the [...]

DeMarcus Cousis Reinstated From ‘Indefinite’ Suspension After One-Game Absence

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings have reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins after a one-game suspension for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.” Cousins practiced with the Kings on Monday. Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento’s loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night....

Kings reinstate C Cousins

The Sacramento Kings announced Monday that they reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins, effective immediately. Cousins practiced with the team in Sacramento. It was his first time on the court with his teammates since screaming at coach Keith Smart at halftime during Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The team suspended Cousins on Saturday. Cousins, 22, has had runs...

Kings find smooth sailing without Cousins

SACRAMENTO -- No one wanted to speak directly to the obvious. Perhaps it was just a mere coincidence that the Sacramento Kings had a season-high 31 assists and made a season-high 45 field goals Sunday, one night after the organization suspended center DeMarcus Cousins for unprofessional behavior. The Kings used a power-packed second quarter to lead them to a 108-96 victory over...

NBA Roundup: Kings reinstate suspended Cousins, Celtics' Wilcox out 3-4 weeks

The Sacramento Kings on Monday reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins. He had been suspended since Saturday after screaming at Kings coach Keith Smart during Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Cousins, 22, has had runs-ins with team management throughout his three years with the Kings, but told USA Today on Monday that he wants to stay in Sacramento. He admitted he "...

Should the Celtics make a play for DeMarcus Cousins?

The Kings recently suspended the talented, but troubled DeMarcus Cousins for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.  Cousins says he wants to remain in Sactown, but does the team still want him? The Celtics could sure use a 22-year-old, 6-11 forward who averages 16 ppg and 9.6 rpg. In a column that’s all speculation, Chris Sheridan comes up with Four Ways...

Kings-Trail Blazers Preview

The Sacramento Kings didn't need their leading scorer and rebounder to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in their most recent game. DeMarcus Cousins will at least be at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night, but it remains to be seen if he'll make it onto the court. The volatile big man has been reinstated from his suspension in time for the second leg of this home-and-home...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.