Now that it's official that the Sacramento Kings are out of the playoff race with an eye to next season, they could be an easy mark when they host the Wizards on Tuesday (CSN+, 10 p.m. ET).
The Kings (23-44) have lost five of the last six games, including Sunday at the Minnesota Timberwolves when coach Mike Malone held out their best player, DeMarcus Cousins. The official reason was called right knee tendinitis and he's being listed as day-to-day.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Malone said this was the actual reason: "He needs a night off. He’s been working his butt off the whole year, so it gives us an opportunity for some of these other guys to play and gives DeMarcus a chance to rest his body after a very long trip. Just a decision to give him some well-deserved rest. His body is pretty beat up.”
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That means younger and more inexperienced players for Sacramento may get more run vs. the Wizards (35-31), who will be starting a four-game road trip that'll last six days. The Kings just completed a seven-game road trip with Sunday's 104-102 loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves and only will have Monday off before facing a team in the playoff hunt.
They're 0-10 without Cousins, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Gray. Malone said he wanted to give Gray more time. Cousins' absence also meant a heavy dose of Derrick Williams, a forward who scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the team that originally drafted him Sunday.