Martell Webster

Martell Webster flushes on DeMarcus Cousins (VIDEO)

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Since his suspension earlier this season, DeMarcus Cousins has gone an absolute tear. In nine games in January, Cousins is averaging 21.7 points a game on 50 percent shooting to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 4 assists a contest. Through double-teams and everything else, Cousins has plowed through the competition and bolstered a Kings offense that has had prolonged stretches of competence when the right backcourt is in place.

If Cousins has a hole in his skill-set, it’s contesting shots at the rim. Cousins instead prefers to set his feet and take charges, and he was 5th in the NBA in that category. Technically, a charge taken is much more valuable than a blocked shot because it guarantees possession and gives the opponent a personal foul, but often times there isn’t enough of an opportunity to react, get out of the restricted area, and take a charge. Against the Wizards last night, one of those times came up.

And as a result, Martell Webster came up big. Here’s Webster’s big jam over DeMarcus Cousins:

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.