Although the Kings' winning streak is over, DeMarcus Cousins has provided Sacramento with a much-needed spark since his public run-in with coach George Karl.
Now titans will collide in the paint when he faces a center who has put up historic numbers.
Cousins will try to help Sacramento bounce back on its trip Thursday night by snapping a 13-game road losing streak against shotblocker Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat.
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Cousins has turned things around since having to issue an apology after a report surfaced that Karl wanted to suspend the All-Star for two games because he yelled profanity at the veteran coach following a loss to San Antonio on Nov. 9.
The mercurial big man has averaged 33.3 points in his last four games after scoring 24 and pulling down 12 rebounds in Wednesday's 103-97 loss at Atlanta. He had been scoring 21.8 per game on 37.1 percent shooting over his first four.
Sacramento (4-8) had won three straight since a team meeting that included upper management on Nov. 10 before its comeback fell short in the opener of a five-game trip. The Kings, who dropped to 0-3 on the road, ran off nine straight points to get within 99-97 before Paul Millsap's bucket all but sealed it with 15.7 seconds remaining.
''We let them play to their strength,'' Cousins said. "They play well off turnovers and bad shots, and we took some bad shots.''
Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double in six games. The star point guard, however, is looking to clean things up after committing seven turnovers in each of his last two.
Cousins has averaged 24.4 points and 13.6 rebounds in his last five games against the Heat, though he could have a more difficult time as Sacramento seeks its third win in the past 23 meetings and first win at South Beach since November 2001.
He'll likely be matched up against Whiteside, who is coming off his second career triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in Tuesday's 103-91 loss to Minnesota. The 7-footer, who spent his first two seasons with the Kings, became only the seventh player in league history with multiple points-rebounds-blocks triple-doubles.
Whiteside, averaging 15.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and a NBA-high 4.6 blocks, did not play in a 114-109 overtime win March 7 in the most recent meeting at AmericanAirlines Arena. He only played 15 minutes while battling foul trouble against Cousins in a 95-83 road win Jan. 16.
The Heat (6-4) are also looking to get back on track after they had won the first three of this seven-game homestand. They held Minnesota to 37.1 percent shooting - including 4 of 21 from 3-point range - but sent them to the line 35 times.
Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh totaled 20 points on 10-of-25 shooting for Miami, which was 5 for 24 from 3-point range, 14 of 30 from the foul line and committed a season-high 22 turnovers.
''You don't make open shots, you don't take care of the ball, you don't make free throws, you ain't winning that game," Wade said. "You put this one behind you and move on to the next.''
Wade has averaged 27.8 points with a 62.8 field-goal percentage in his last six home meetings with the Kings, who are 3-24 all-time at Miami.