The Sacramento Kings are off to a 5-1 start this season after coming from behind to defeat the Phoenix Suns last night in double overtime, 114-112. This is the franchise’s best start to a season since the 1999-2000 season when the team was lead by players like Chris Webber, Jason Williams, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic.
The name to know from this year’s team is DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins, who has been as good as any player at his position so far in this young season. Boogie is averaging 24.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and over a block a game for a team that was almost moved from Sacramento just a few short years ago.
Cousins was a played very well for Team USA this past summer as they won the Gold Medal of the new FIBA World Cup Tournament, but this is ultimately where new Boogie was first revealed to the world. Old Boogie would have definitely let his emotions get the best of him and he would not have held back against Lithuania and Toronto Raptors Center Jonas Valanciunas, but not New Boogie!
Did you see how Valanciunas flinched? That’s the effects of Old Boogie are still lingering in players’ minds, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Boogie has quickly become my favorite player to watch even though most of his games start at 10 p.m. eastern time and do not end until well after midnight. He is so talented offensively and, as Sacramento proved last night against Phoenix, this team is good enough to be in every game no matter who the opponent.
Now back to last night. The Kings found themselves down 11 with 7:28 remaining in the fourth quarter on the road against a very good Suns team. At this point I am sure very few people thought the Kings would extend the game 10 extra minutes, especially if I told you Boogie would foul out with 34 seconds left IN REGULATION.
The Kings rallied behind Cousins and even took a two-point lead with 1:37 left in the fourth, 99-97, after Cousins got fouled, made the layup and made the free throw that followed. Boogie fouled out, as I mentioned, for setting a moving screen that probably should not have even been called.
Old Boogie would have sat on the bench and pouted that the call didn’t go his way, but not New Boogie. Cousins could be seen standing and cheering, as well as talking with Head Coach Mike Malone with one of his arms around his coach’s shoulder (Old Boog would have had his arms around his coach for a very different reason).
The Kings would find themselves down seven early in the first overtime, this time without Cousins on the floor. It was Darren Collison who would lead the young Kings back to force a second overtime where they would hold on to win thanks to P.J. Tucker and one of the Morris twins missing shots in the final seconds of the game. (I know it was Marcus who missed a 16-foot jumper, but its more fun to pretend no one can tell them apart so the twin complex lives on). Boogie finished with a game-high 25 points and 18 rebounds in just 35 minutes of what turned into a 58-minute game.
Sacramento finally has a basketball team that appears ready to compete again for years to come thanks in large part to the play of a new and matured Boogie Cousins. Second year owner Vivek Ranadivé is not afraid to spend money for players who are undervalued simply because of their contracts (see Rudy Gay “I am a new owner and I want to make a move just to make a move” trade from last year), so more head scratching moves appear to be on the horizon.
The Kings are in a better place and the team actually has a personality in addition to being competitive on the court. I expect the Kings to continue having success this season, that is, as long as Omri Casspi continues to make sure Boogie has his head[band] on straight.
Boogie and Omri Vine: https://vine.co/v/OeOtLxUmjAw/embed/postcard?related=0