SACRAMENTO, California - In what might have been the final game for the Sacramento Kings, former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins had a monster game in the finale of his tumultuous 2012-13 NBA season on Wednesday night.
With NBA owners considering whether to approve the sale and relocation of the Kings to Seattle, Cousins scored a season-high 36 points and grabbed a career-best 22 rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers before a sellout crowd of 17,317 at Sleep Train Arena.
Despite Cousins' performance, the Clippers beat the Kings 112-108 to secure homecourt advantage against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs. A Clippers' loss would have given the Grizzlies the homecourt advantage.
"I gave it my all," Cousins told reporters after the game. "I did it for the fans. It was also a statement going into next season. I want to do more for the fans and win more games."
The Kings finished the season with a 28-54 record, the sixth-worst mark in the NBA.
Cousins completed his third NBA season with averages of 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds in his 75 games, down from last year when he averaged 18.1 points and 11.0 rebounds in 62 games.
Cousins was assessed 17 technical fouls during the season, although two of them were rescinded by the league office, allowing him to stay under the threshold of 16 that triggers a one-game suspension.
Cousins was ejected from four games this season.
On March 11, Cousins was ejected for hitting Mike Dunleavy in the head with an elbow. The Milwaukee Bucks forward had undercut him under the basket earlier in the game. Cousins was ejected on Feb. 4 when he approached the officials at halftime of a game against the Utah Jazz after receiving a technical foul in the second quarter. Cousins also was ejected against the Jazz for picking up two technical fouls on Nov. 24. His second ejection came on Jan. 10 when he was assessed a flagrant-2 foul for smacking the Dallas Mavericks' Vince Carter in the face with his forearm.
Cousins was suspended three times during the season. He was suspended for two games by the NBA for a postgame confrontation with Spurs television broadcaster Sean Elliott in November. He was suspended for one game by the NBA for a low blow on Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo in December. Later in December, he was suspended indefinitely by the Kings for a halftime argument with coach Keith Smart, but the suspension was lifted after one game.
But the season also had highlights for Cousins, such as Wednesday night's game.
On Dec. 30, Cousins recorded the first triple-double of his career with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as Sacramento defeated the Boston Celtics 118-96.
In a 117-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns on March 28, Cousins scored 34 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. For a four-minute, 17-second stretch in the first half, Cousins was the only King to score, running off 17 consecutive points. Cousins outscored the Suns 17-12 during his hot stretch, when he made all seven of his shots and both of his free throws.