DeMarcus Cousins, the fifth overall pick in the draft after playing just one season at Kentucky, enjoyed a productive NBA debut, getting 16 points and 16 rebounds for Sacramento, which pulled away in the fourth quarter.
There are some definite changes this year for the Suns, who are playing without Amare Stoudemire, last season's leading scorer who signed as a free agent with the New York Knicks. Gone also are key reserves Leandro Barbosa and Lou Amundson, who helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals last season.
The Kings, who finished last in the Pacific Division with a 25-57 record, are again relying on youth. Cousins is projected to be the big presence the Kings have needed for years. Cousins and Evans, last year's Rookie of the Year, are expected to give the larger, more physical Kings a solid 1-2 offensive weapons, which was evident against the Suns.
It was an impressive first game for Cousins, who ended the first quarter with a driving finger roll at the buzzer. He was 8 of 13 from the field and helped the Kings to a 47-36 rebound advantage. The only downside for the rookie post players was picking up five fouls and committing five turnovers.
Suns point guard Steve Nash spent more time on conditioning, hopping on one foot and doing various stretching exercises during timeouts. He finished with two points and two assists in six minutes. Grant Hill, who turned 38 on Tuesday, also played sparingly, scoring two points in six first-quarter minutes.
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