Kings vs. Jazz: DeMarcus Cousins needs to get back on track against Al Jefferson

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The match-up of the game for Friday is DeMarcus Cousins vs. Al Jefferson.

There are two things you can say about DeMarcus Cousins' Wednesday performance against Dwight Howard and the Lakers:

1. It was pretty bad.

2. He never stopped working.

That's its own brand of progress, I suppose. Cousins, save a couple of sweet plays, was awful until the final minutes of the game. His shot attempts were erratic, forced and ugly. He leaned on that familiar propensity to foul when he (or a teammate) was beat, and he didn't exactly race up the court on many possessions. But he kept believing he could damage the Lakers, and he did. He scored on three straight possessions to ice the game, with two pretty lay-ups and a drawn foul. He never stopped fighting.

If Dwight Howard caused a lot of those problems through most of Wednesday's game, we'd expect Cousins to have an easier time against Al Jefferson on Friday as the Kings meet the Jazz. Jefferson's a quality player, worthy of All-Star consideration even in a stacked West. But he's not nearly the defender that Howard has been.

If last season is any indication, Cousins will be featured against the Jazz. In 2011-12, Boogie averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds, shooting just 41 percent with 2.5 turnovers per game. Jefferson, meanwhile, averaged 19-9 on 52 percent shooting against the Kings.

Here's to hoping Cousins can be more efficient than he's been and help the team move forward toward some consistency.

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