Short-handed Kings resting DeMarcus Cousins against Rockets

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It’s one thing for the Cavaliers to rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for tonight’s game against the Grizzlies. Cleveland is first in the East and playing to maximize its odds of winning in the playoffs.

But the Kings resting DeMarcus Cousins? Sacramento is 2.5 games and one spot out of postseason position, and merely making the playoffs is the primary goal.

Yet, that’s just what the Kings will do against the Rockets tonight.

James Ham of CSN California:

Due to Cousins’ heavy workload so far this season, the Kings have decided to rest their starting center Wednesday night.

Forward Rudy Gay and guard Ben McLemore have both been ruled out due to injuries suffered against the Lakers.

The Kings outscore opponents by 1.9 points per 100 possessions with Cousins on the floor and get outscored by 12.5 points per 100 possessions when he sits. If this isn’t throwing the game, it’s close.

Maybe that’s the right move. Perhaps, resting Cousins tonight will increase Sacramento’s expected win total. The Kings were definitely underdogs in Houston anyway. A fresher Cousins could help in future games.

But even in an era that places unprecedented emphasis on rest, it’s still jarring to see a team with so little margin for error sit a healthy 26-year-old who’s so integral to its success.