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DeMarcus Cousins on Kings’ pursuit of playoff berth: ‘It’s eating me alive’

The Sacramento Kings currently are on the outside looking in as it pertains to sitting in the top-eight of the Western Conference, residing in 11th place.

Still, the Kings (17-27) are within sniffing distance of the Denver Nuggets (18-25) for the West’s final playoff spot. And the notion that the Kings are so tantalizingly close to being in the mix has DeMarcus Cousins experiencing a roller coaster of emotions.

Saying a postseason berth for the first time in his NBA career is “my only goal this season,” it’s clear Cousins has his eye on the prize … only said pursuit apparently is causing some serious stress in his life on a day-to-day, game-by-game basis.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive — every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins said after Monday’s 109-104 win over the Detroit Pistons, via CSN Bay Area’s James Ham. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings, as has been the case throughout Cousins’ tenure with the team, haven’t been the model of consistency this season. And as always, the team all too often is afflicted by an overabundance of drama and once again has been plagued by the annual trade talks surrounding Cousins, the team’s best — not to mention enigmatic — player.

Cousins, though, praised the team’s ability to overcome such obstacles and distractions and remain in the hunt for a postseason berth.

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

With the Portland Trail Blazers (19-27), New Orleans Pelicans (18-27) standing between the Kings and the eight-seed, the team will have some obstacles to overcome to make the playoffs. But with nearly half the season remaining, the Kings have the opportunity to either rise to the occasion or wilt under the pressure.

For Cousins’ sake, let’s hope it’s the former, not the latter.

[CBS Sports]