December 13, 2014

Even with DeMarcus Cousins back on the floor, it appears the Sacramento Kings will have a hard time ending their current slide.

They've rarely had any success against the Detroit Pistons in recent years.

Looking to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat, the lowly Kings also try to end their lengthy struggles against the visiting Pistons on Wednesday night.

Back from missing four straight games with a strained Achilles, Cousins had 21 points and 12 rebounds but went 5 of 20 from the field and committed four turnovers in Monday's 106-88 loss to San Antonio. Marco Belinelli scored 17 and Omri Casspi added 16 as Sacramento (1-7) shot 40.5 percent while scoring its fewest points of the young season.

With the franchise off to its poorest start since going a club-worst 1-13 in 1990-91, Cousins mentioned a players-only meeting would be scheduled for Tuesday. Sacramento dropped a season-high eight in a row from Jan. 13-30 in 2014-15.

''We've got some issues in the house we need to figure out," Cousins, who has averaged 21.8 points, 11.3 boards and 3.5 turnovers in four games, said after he recorded his 200th double-double.

''But just to make it clear, I believe in every single person in this room. We got to stay together. I feel like when those issues are fixed, winning will come.''

The Kings can start by improving on the defensive end, where they rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed (110.6 per game) and are last in defensive field-goal percentage (49.3). The Spurs shot 52.9 percent from the field and broke open a tie game with an 11-0 third-quarter run.

''I've been in positions where you have bad starts. I've had everything in my life, from six straight to nine straight,'' said Sacramento coach George Karl, who has used seven different starting lineups. ''We just have to play more 48 minutes of basketball, more solid basketball and more together basketball.''

That's rarely seemed the case while the Kings have dropped 12 of 14 against Detroit (5-2). They've averaged 92.2 points and shot 40.4 percent during a five-game series slide that dates to a 105-103 home victory Nov. 7, 2012. Cousins has totaled 47 points and 24 rebounds in his last two at home against the Pistons, but last faced them there Nov. 15, 2013.

Detroit is off to a solid start but needs to bounce back after it fell to 3-1 on the road with Monday's 109-95 loss at undefeated Golden State. Reggie Jackson and rookie Stanley Johnson each scored 20 and Andre Drummond added 14 with 15 boards for his seventh double-double in as many games, but the Pistons committed 20 turnovers and allowed 35 fast-break points.

"That was the difference in the game," said Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy, whose club committed nine turnovers in Sunday's 120-103 win at Portland. "We made bad decisions passing the ball and turned it over too much ... I thought (we were) forcing too many plays, one dribble too many."

Jackson, who scored 40 on Sunday, has averaged 25.0 points in the last five games and should be fine after taking a knee to the thigh Monday.

Drummond, who has 48 of Detroit's 106 offensive rebounds, is averaging 19.4 points and a league-leading 19.6 rebounds. He's recorded a double-double in three of the last four against Sacramento.

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