Posted January 05, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Brook Lopez is the highest scoring center in the NBA, but DeMarcus Cousins isn't far behind.
Although Cousins got the better of the most recent matchup, it was Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets that emerged with the win.
The centers will be matched up for the final time this season as the Nets and Sacramento Kings attempt to continue their respective surges Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Lopez leads all starting centers with an average of 18.9 points, while Cousins has 17.1 per game and has added 10.3 rebounds.
Cousins was much more productive than his counterpart on Nov. 18, scoring 29 points while holding Lopez to 13. However, Brooklyn (18-15) won 99-90 for its sixth victory in the last eight meetings.
Both teams enter this matchup having won four of five with their respective centers playing key roles.
Lopez is averaging 24.8 points and 9.0 boards while hitting 60.0 percent from the floor in that span, while Cousins has 19.4 points and 14.0 rebounds in five games since missing two due to a team suspension for unprofessional behavior.
Cousins had one of the best games of his career in Friday's 105-96 win at Toronto, scoring a season-high 31 points and matching a career best with 20 rebounds.
''He had the right energy to start the game, he had the right mindset of not trying to score 50 but trying to let his teammates play,'' coach Keith Smart said. ''He's in a good spot as a basketball player right now and he's only going to get better.''
While Lopez is surrounded by All-Star guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, Cousins' play for Sacramento is vital with swingman Tyreke Evans out with a knee injury.
That's likely why Smart called him, "the guy who makes it all work for us."
The Kings (13-20) surely see that as a welcome change for Cousins, a noted malcontent who has already been suspended three times in less than three full seasons.
"He's involved and he's understanding the game better," said John Salmons, who had 20 points Friday. "He's understanding what it takes to win. He's trying to do to things for this team to move up in the standings and make a playoff push."
Salmons is averaging 15.0 points in his last four games, but he had just two in nearly 28 minutes against the Nets in November.
The Kings notched their second straight road win Friday after winning once in their first 14 games away from home. They haven't managed a three-game road win streak since March 23-27, 2011.
"We're playing some good team basketball," Cousins said. "It doesn't matter who's having a good night, let's feed them the rock. That's been our mindset and it's been working."
The Nets, though, have a three-game home winning streak against the Kings, and Lopez has totaled 55 points and 19 rebounds in the past two.
He had 27 points and 13 rebounds before Johnson hit the go-ahead jumper with 0.7 seconds left in Friday's 115-113 double-overtime win at Washington. Johnson finished with 18 points, while Williams added 24 with 10 assists.
"That's what big-time players do. We put him in a good position to make the play, and he made the play," coach P.J. Carlesimo said of Johnson after improving to 4-1 since taking over for the fired Avery Johnson.
Johnson wasn't very good against Sacramento two months ago, making 1 of 10 shots from the floor and finishing with 10 points. He had been averaging 24.4 points over the previous eight meetings.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Sources say that the Celtics are working on a deal involving several players in a trade for the Sacramento Kings' mercurial center, one that may soon be complete.
Is Demarcus Cousins on his way to Boston?
When the Celtics waived two prospects Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado earlier Sunday morning, it was seen as minor cost cutting moves. Both of their contracts were about to become guaranteed and the Celtics didn’t want to deal with it.
That may not have been the case reports CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely.
#Celticstalk: The #Celtics decision...
CLEVELAND -- DeMarcus Cousins is standing near his locker in the visitors dressing room, dancing and playfully yelling at teammates scattered across the room.
Hey, stop singing in the shower, man, Cousins says, to no avail.
Its as if hes making noise just for the sake of it. Since no one is actually responding, its fairly evident the fourth-year center hasn't quite emerged...
The rumor of the night: DeMarcus Cousins to the Boston Celtics. Rumors of a Cousins trade are nothing new. But Sunday night, AM 1510 NBC Sports Radio in Boston reported that Celtics GM Danny Ainge was working on a deal for the disgruntled Sacramento Kings center.
Among the names in a rumored deal: Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley. Not all...
Well, it was fast:
#Celticstalk: The #Celtics decision to waive Vernado AND Joseph, opens the door for what one league source says may be a "blockbuster" deal.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) January 7, 2013
After some minutes of playing around with names in our heads, Blakely brought us a familiar name:
#Celticstalk: The name that keeps coming up with everyone...
TORONTO - Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins says he has had difficulty finding his rhythm this season. Don't tell that to the Toronto Raptors. Cousins had season highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds and the Kings defeated the Raptors 105-96 on Friday at Air Canada Centre for their second win in a row. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Raptors...
Brook Lopez scored 18 points in 17 minutes to lead six players in double figures, and the Brooklyn Nets got a nice effort from their reserves in beating the Sacramento Kings 113-93 on Saturday night for their third straight victory.
One night after needing two overtimes to escape with a 115-113 victory in Washington, the Nets made sure the starters weren't too taxed. Deron Williams...
According to CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely, the latest buzz around a trade for temperamental big man DeMarcus Cousins is the Kings seeking multiple young players and draft picks.
While the Celtics could pull off such a move, in a package based around Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger with others such as Courtney Lee, Fab Melo, Brandon Bass, etc., Danny Ainge should walk away and...
In the grand "That NBA Lottery Pick" highlight vault, let's mark this clip from Wednesday night's Cleveland Cavaliers/Sacramento Kings game as a "right place, right time" moment.Nearing the three minute mark of the fourth quarter, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins came up with a steal of Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and appeared to have an easy lay-up.That...
DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 31 points and matched his career high with 20 rebounds, John Salmons scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Sacramento Kings beat the Toronto Raptors 105-96 on Friday night.
Jason Thompson scored 14 points and Isaiah Thomas had 11 as the Kings won their second straight road game. Sacramento had gone 1-13 away from home before...
WASHINGTON -- Joe Johnson sank the game-winning jumper with 0.7 seconds remaining in double-overtime, and Brook Lopez had 27 points and 13 rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets survived for a wild 115-113 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday. After the Wizards drained final-second shots to force both overtime sessions, Johnson returned the favor with a deep bomb from the right wing...
posted by Romy AquinoPOUND THE ROCK STARS - On a nightly basis, no matter how good or bad the Raps play, no matter if they blow out a team or if they get blown out and no matter if they win or lose, these are the Raptors with the best 'Pound the Rock' status for the night.FINAL SCORE: KINGS 105, RAPS 96 SEASON RECORD: 12W-21LPOUND THE ROCK STAR #1: KYLE LOWRYLINE...