Cats in the NBA: Cousins shines

Recapping the last week of NBA action for Kentucky players in the league, including a monster effort by Sacramento Kings center/forward DeMarcus Cousins against the Phoenix Suns.

Last week, NBA headlines were held hostage by the unbelievable winning streak put together by the Miami Heat. On Wednesday, the 27-game streak was put to rest as the Heat fell to the Bulls 101-97.

Although Marquis Teague got the dreaded "DNP" in that game, former Wildcat Nazr Mohammed was a factor in the big win for Chicago, scoring six points, grabbing three rebounds and recording two steals in 160 minutes off the bench.

Week 22 also saw DeMarcus Cousins play arguably his finest game to date as a pro, tallying 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns.

"We have a unique big man," Kings coach Keith Smart said during his post-game press conference. "(Cousins) is a unique big man who can play big but has the skills of a guard and a perimeter player. He has the total package."

Cousins was on his way to a career night before opting to sit the entire fourth quarter as his team had a sufficient lead at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. The Kings eventually won 117-103. It was the fourth time in his career that Cousins has scored at least 30 points to go along with more than 10 rebounds.

In his follow-up performance against the Lakers, Cousins managed 19 points and 11 rebounds, but he missed three 3-point attempts in the final 20 seconds as the Lakers held on to a 103-98 victory.

Meanwhile, another former Cat has seen his role increase of late with the Lakers. Jodie Meeks is getting more PT as a result of Metta World Peace's recent surgery. Meeks has benefited by seeing more than 35 minutes of playing time in each of the last three games for LA.

"Obviously I've been playing a lot, but Mike (D'Antoni) allows me to play well," Meeks told RealGM in reference to his new role as the Lakers try to chase down the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The Lakers are battling a number of teams, including the Utah Jazz, for the playoff berth. On Wednesday, Utah center/forward Enes Kanter went down with a shoulder injury against the Phoenix Suns, making the Jazz path to the postseason even more difficult.

Kanter dislocated his shoulder while diving for a loose ball and colliding with Hamed Haddadi of the Suns. The key reserve is currently listed as day-to-day to make a return to the court.

Anthony Davis leads all rookies in double-doubles this season at 17. Most recently, Davis logged 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Hornets defeated the Cavaliers 112-92. Darius Miller added eight points off the bench as he continues his production for the Hornets as a part of their second unit.

"Darius has been playing super consistent," Hornets forward Ryan Anderson told the Associated Press after the game. "He's just a solid player. He's not going to try to do too much."

In the past 10 games, Miller has played an average of 21 minutes per game for the Hornets. The 23-year-old rookie seems to have solidified his role after a short stint with the franchise's D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy.

Week 23
Tuesday, April 2
L.A. Lakers (Meeks) vs. Dallas Mavericks 10:30 pm on TNT

Thursday, April 4
Chicago Bulls (Mohammed & Teague) @ Brooklyn Nets 7:00 pm on TNT
Oklahoma City Thunder (Liggins & Orton) vs. San Antonio Spurs 9:30 on TNT

Friday, April 5
Charlotte Bobcats (Kidd-Gilchrist) vs. Miami Heat 8:00 pm on ESPN

Sunday, April 7
Oklahoma City Thunder (Liggins & Orton) vs. New York Knicks 1:00 pm on ABC
L.A. Lakers (Meeks) @ L.A. Clippers (Bledsoe) 3:30 pm on ABC

*Showing only nationally televised games featuring former UK players

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