The Sacramento Kings have two home games this weekend to try to break a long losing streak in games in which DeMarcus Cousins is not available.
The Kings have dropped 16 in a row without the big man and get another chance to end that streak Friday night when they host the Indiana Pacers.
Sacramento (9-9) announced at Wednesday’s practice that Cousins has been released from the hospital after receiving treatment for a viral infection that will keep him sidelined through this weekend. He has missed three straight games, and the Kings are losers of a season-high four straight.
Cousins is averaging 23.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks — which would all be career highs. He will miss this contest as well as Saturday’s home game against Orlando.
The Kings have lost all 14 games the last two seasons without him, and 16 straight overall.
“Obviously, we want him to get healthy and get back as soon as possible, but as I told our guys after the game (Tuesday), we have enough players and enough talent, enough character in this locker room to step up and find a way to start winning some games,” coach Michael Malone said. “A lot of people will be quick to say that we haven’t won without DeMarcus this year or last year, but I think it’s time for that to come to an end.”
The Kings have actually shot 50.0 percent overall in the last three games without Cousins, including 52.0 — their second-best mark of the season — in Tuesday’s 117-109 loss to Toronto.
Sacramento has also outrebounded its opponent twice in that span, but accomplishing that could be difficult Friday. The Kings lead the NBA in rebound margin at plus-7.9 with Indiana second at plus-5.5.
“We have to a much better job of rebounding with DeMarcus being out,” Malone said.
Kings point guard Darren Collison will try to bounce back after he missed all five shots and was held to a season-low four points by the Raptors.
“We play a certain style of basketball when he (Cousins) is on the court, we’re more of an inside-out team,” Collison said. “Now we’ve gotta find a way when he’s not there, how we’re going to play.”
Indiana (7-12) seeks to avoid a winless four-game trip after Thursday’s 88-82 loss to Portland. Rodney Stuckey had 16 points for the Pacers, who shot 39.6 percent.
Coach Frank Vogel may be searching for answers after he benched starting guard Donald Sloan, who did not see action for the first time all season. Chris Copeland took Sloan’s place in the lineup and made 2 of 9 shots for five points.
Vogel was pleased with the defensive effort, as the Trail Blazers were held under 90 points for the first time.
“Any loss is frustrating,” he said. “But we grew on the defensive end. We gave up 116 points in Phoenix the other night. We wanted to get back to who we are, dominating with defense and rebounding, and we took a step toward that.”
The Pacers’ David West is averaging 20.1 points on 22-of-34 shooting in 15 games at Sleep Train Arena for his highest mark in any building.
Indiana has won four straight over Sacramento, though last season’s sweep featured a combined 104 points from Paul George and Lance Stephenson.