Cousins, Kings top Cavs
Sacramento, CA – DeMarcus Cousins recorded a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds on Monday, as the Sacramento Kings held off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 124-118, at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins also added six assists, while Marcus Thornton poured in 20 points off the bench for the Kings, who snapped a four-game skid.
"We definitely took a step forward tonight and that's a good thing," Cousins said. "It feels good to come in and get a win, especially after that embarrassment (a 29-point loss to Miami), it feels good."
Dion Waiters netted a career-high 33 points and Tristan Thompson tallied 17 points and 15 boards in the setback, Cleveland's third in a row.
Sacramento held a comfortable 69-57 advantage at the break and held the Cavs at bay throughout the third until a Kyrie Irving turnaround sparked a 9-2 surge to bring the visitors within 86-83 with 1:18 left in the third.
Two free throws from John Salmons sent the Kings into the fourth with a six- point edge before the home team netted the first four points of the final frame to push the margin to 97-87 just over a minute into the fourth.
Cleveland answered with a 7-0 surge to pull within 97-94 and the teams exchanged blows from there until Jimmer Fredette followed a three- point play with a pair of free throws to make it 106-98 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the fourth.
The Cavs pulled within four following a Thompson tip-in with 1:20 to play, but Tyreke Evans answered with a layup and the Kings knocked down 6-of-8 from the free throw line over the final minute to hang on for the victory.
Early on, a Waiters three-point play knotted the game at 23-23 with just under two minutes left in the first, but the Kings closed the quarter on an 8-1 surge, capped by Thomas Robinson's alley-oop slam just before the first- quarter buzzer to take a 31-24 advantage after 12 minutes.
After Cleveland opened the second stanza on a 7-0 run to pull even, Thornton knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 9-1 Sacramento run that found the home team holding a 40-32 edge with 8:39 left in the first half.
Sacramento built its lead to 60-47 with just under three minutes left in the second before Thompson and C.J. Miles combined on a 10-2 run to bring Cleveland within 62-57 with 1:10 left in the half.
The Kings, though, scored the final seven points of the stanza to take a 69-57 edge into the locker room.
"(Cousins) is a beast down there and he is tough," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott admitted. "He's playing well. Tonight was no different."
Cleveland fell to 5-19 on the road ... Sacramento improved to 11-10 at home ... Robinson finished with career-high tying 12 points for the Kings ... Cleveland outscored the Kings, 33-18, in second-chance points.