Blazers prepare for “talented” Kings, Cousins
Heading into Friday’s game which is the first of a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings, the Portland Trail Blazers talked about how they need to focus on what they do but also the challenges presented by the Kings and specifically DeMarcus Cousins.
“He’s tough,” said Aldridge of Cousins. “I don’t think you can stop him because he is so talented. He can go either hand. He can spin off you go jump hook. He can shoot the face up jump shot. It’s just about trying to make his looks look tough.”
Thomas Robinson, Cousins’ former teammate in Sacramento, thinks that there is nobody like Cousins right now in the league.
“Probably the biggest you can face on the court. He’s one of the best big man if not arguably one of the best big man in the game,” Robinson said after Thursday’s practice. “Nobody can do what he can do at his size. Shoot like he can, move like he can. The game, there is nobody like him in the league.”
Terry Stotts talked about how practices with Cousins at USA basketball made an impression on Damian Lillard.
“He’s a very talented big man. You ask among players at the USA basketball, he made a very big impression for example on Damian,” Stotts said.
Aside from preparing for a big man of Cousins caliber and a different looking Kings team with a new coach, Stotts and players talked about the importance of sticking to who they are.
“I get back to what’s important for us,” Stotts said. “Like any game, pick and roll defense has been very solid and continue to be important. We have to shore up our offensive rebounding and we have to shore up our transition defense.”
Aldridge said that the Blazers problems on defense have come from not cleaning up the garbage on defensive possessions and a lack of reaction in getting back on defense.
“It’s just focusing on getting back on defense,” Aldridge said. “If you can get the rebound go after it if not just get back on defense. We’re just standing around too much. I think when a shot goes up people are just watching instead of reacting.”
Aldridge says that the Blazers “will be better” if they can rebound better and do a better job of getting back in transition.