John Wall can see what's brewing Sunday when he faces his old teammate from Kentucky at Verizon Center. DeMarcus Cousins is rarely in a good mood when competing anyway, but now that he feels overlooked for the All-Star Game he'll be even more focused vs the Wizards. "I know DeMarcus got a chip on his shoulder," Wall said. "The rest of the season he's definitely going to be on a rampage."
Cousins, averaging 23 points and 11.7 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings, wasn't chosen as the injury replacement for Kobe Bryant in next weekend's showcase in New Orleans. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, who also spent one season at Kentucky before turning pro, was selected by Commissioner Adam Silver.
So nevermind the Kings (17-33) and their recent struggles. The Wizards (24-25) tend to have difficulty beating teams of this nature anyway. Cousins, who was taken fifth overall in the 2010 in which Wall went No. 1, said he was angry and didn't play his best in a 99-89 loss at the Boston Celtics on Friday, when he still had 31 points and 16 rebounds. Wizards center Marcin Gortat will have his work cut out for him.
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"Some guys will use it as motivation. Some guys will find excuses. My hope with DeMarcus is that he was in the conversation this year. He didn't make it probably because of our record and being in the Western Conference. It's loaded. A lot of talented big men," Kings coach Mike Malone said. "Anthony Davis is the injury replacement. Anthony Davis is a hell of a young player. Kudos to him.
"My hope is that DeMarcus will use this as fuel and motivation to say, 'OK, not only do I have to be a good player, average 23 and 11, I have to be a good player and win. I got to lead my team to wins. The only way you get respect in the league is by winning. No one cares about 25 and 10. If you win games, you get your team to the playoffs, you put your team on your back, that's when you get the respect from your peers and the coaches in the NBA. Right now thats the thing he has not been able to do. That's the next step in his maturation. He's gotten better. He's put up All-Star numbers. I think he's the best center in the NBA. If we can start winning on a consistent basis, then he'll get his just reward."