DeMarcus Cousins points the finger at George Karl for his one-game suspension

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Even the return of franchise player, DeMarcus Cousins, couldn't help the Sacramento Kings out of their recent slump.

They've now lost their last five straight - including the battle with the Orlando Magic that Cousins was suspended - and the ongoing comments between their star center and coach George Karl is not helping matters.

The Kings recent run of 1-9 has left them languishing in eleventh place in the Western Conference. That's a run of form that can only be matched by the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently prop up the Eastern Conference and sport the worst record in the league.

Barring a sensational run of form, the playoffs have seemingly slipped away from the California-based franchise, but the lingering tension between Cousins and Karl refuse to dissipate so readily.

Speaking after Sunday's 108-99 home loss to the Utah Jazz, Cousins left nothing to interpretation when it came to his recent suspension and what caused it.

"That was no suspension from the organization. That was one from the head coach. There's a difference," Cousins said. "There's been so much extra stuff this season. Extra, unnecessary stuff. There are a lot of battles between guys that should be on your side. I would say that this [loss] is one of the most frustrating ones."

Prior to Sunday's contest, Karl refrained from diving into the details of their relationship and what it would take to fix it. Instead, the 2013 NBA Coach of the Year insisted he had handled things rather well with the two-time All-Star and that gaining a win against the Jazz was his primary concern.

"In general, I think, professionally, I've done my job," Karl said. "There will be an opportunity to talk with Cousins. We've exchanged pleasantries, but nothing in depth. I am not going to communicate how we evolve in this. The best thing for everybody, for Cousins, for me, the team, is to get a win."

With the Kings in the season-deflating form that they are, and with the incessant finger-pointing that continues to riddle their progress, it doesn't seem like we've seen the last of this story.

Cousins has the propensity to be a real difference maker in Sacramento. The 25-year-old is fourth in points scored and fifth for rebounds in the entire NBA this season. There's no doubt Karl has a superstar on his hands with leading light potential.

The center's averages of 27.4 points and 11.5 rebounds a night this campaign indicate a significant contribution from his part, but Karl has suggested that it's his side's defence that needs to buck up their ideas.

Karl told the Sacramento Bee following Sunday's defeat: "I'm looking for defense. I'm looking for some pressure, some presence."

Rajon Rondo
Sacramento Kings
Pacific Division
Western Conference
DeMarcus Cousins

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