Kings stand firm to take sting out of Hornets

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Sacramento Kings held off a late-charging New Orleans Hornets to halt the visitors' 10-game winning streak with a 102-96 triumph on Saturday.

The Kings surged clear with a 12-0 run early in the second quarter to grab a 56-46 advantage by halftime on the strength of 58 percent shooting and a sensational first half from DeMarcus Cousins, who had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.

"Any young player needs to learn the league and what it takes. DeMarcus has made great strides in that regard," Kings coach Paul Westphal told reporters of his rookie.

Cousins finished the game with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, all team-highs, but ran into foul trouble, allowing the Hornets to capitalize on his absence to close to within two points with just under six minutes remaining.

The Hornets were unable to get any closer but challenged again with just under two minutes remaining when they trailed 96-94, before Cousins absorbed a charging foul from Marcus Thompson.

On the ensuing possession, the Kings pulled down three consecutive offensive rebounds and Samuel Dalembert completed the play with a basket to secure the victory.

"We had chances down the stretch, in the beginning of the second quarter they scored 12 (straight) and it was hard to recover from that. It felt like 20 because it was so easy and so quick," Hornets coach Monty Williams said.

"It's one of those games. We've seen these mistakes in past games and it just caught up with us tonight."

Tyreke Evans, who also missed significant minutes with foul trouble, scored 18 points for the Kings and Dalembert added 16 points off the bench. David West led the Hornets with 21 points and Chris Paul scored 19.

Kings forward Jason Thompson left the game in the first quarter after suffering a sprained right ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)