DeMarcus Cousins ranks 11th out of 12 Sacramento Kings players in three-point shooting percentage this season. He’s 4-21 from beyond the arc, good for a mark of 19 percent.
This is a relevant statistic in light of the events that took place on the Kings’ final meaningful offensive possession during Saturday night’s 103-98 home loss to the Lakers.
With the Kings trailing by three and in possession of the ball, and with a full 24-second shot clock to work with, Cousins finds himself on the perimeter in isolation, with Dwight Howard defending. He pump-fakes Howard — successfully — before leaning into him and forcing a wild shot, in what was an obvious attempt to draw the foul.
The referees either thought Howard recovered in time to re-establish position before Cousins jumped into him, or they simply weren’t willing to blow the whistle on a play like that with the game on the line. It’s worth noting that most of the time, players who get their defender to leave his feet and then initiate contact on the shot attempt are awarded free throws in similar situations.
The fact that Cousins attempted to pull this off, given his extremely low shooting percentage from three-point distance and with 20 seconds still left on the shot clock, wasn’t a great basketball decision. The one that followed was even worse.
Howard deflects the ball to John Salmons, so the Kings still have a chance to recover from Cousins’ poor choice. Salmons passes it back to Cousins, who, perhaps looking for redemption, immediately launches another three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining.
The shot was short off the front of the iron, and the Kings earned their 47th loss of the season.