SACRAMENTO -- The home losing streak is over. After dropping seven straight at Sleep Train Arena, the Kings jumped all over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, coming away with a 116-94 victory while picking up win No. 28 on the season.
Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein has had a problem getting consistent minutes over the last month, but George Karl let the young fella play on Friday night in Sac. He responded to the extended look with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. The 22-year-old added six rebounds, two blocks and three steals in 29 minutes of play.
With only Alex Len to slow him, DeMarcus Cousins attacked the undersized Suns. Cousins looked like he had fresh legs after missing Wednesday’s contest in Minny, and the result was a 29-point, 11-rebound performance in three quarters of action.
Starting the first game of his career, Seth Curry looked nervous to open the game, missing his first four shots from the field. He recovered to post 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting in 28 minutes.
Rudy Gay hit for 15 points and pulled down five boards, Quincy Acy got hot late to drop in 14 points and seven rebounds, and Darren Collison added 11 points off the Kings bench.
While he didn’t have a big night offensively, Rajon Rondo set a new Sacramento-era single-season record in assists, passing Reggie Theus’ record of 788. He finished the night with four points and 12 assists.
The emergence of Devin Booker is one of the few bright spots for the Suns this season, and the rookie didn’t disappoint Friday night in Sacramento. The 19-year-old sharpshooter hung 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting on the Kings, chipping in four assists, five rebounds and nine turnovers for good measure. Yes, nine turnovers.
Brandon Knight was a late scratch for Phoenix with an upset stomach, leaving John Jenkins to start for the first time in a Suns uniform. The journeyman guard managed to score 11 points and grab eight rebounds for the shorthanded Suns.
Len has taken awhile to live up to his draft position, but he looked solid starting for the injured Tyson Chandler. The Ukrainian 7-footer scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes, many of which were spent battling Cousins in the post. Mirza Teletovic added 12 points off Earl Watson's Phoenix bench.
Cauley-Stein was a human highlight reel against the Suns. The rookie big man hammered down one alley-oop dunk after another on his way to a career-high.
The Kings took a 58-48 lead into halftime and then throttled the Suns 31-19 in the third to walk into the fourth quarter with 89-67 advantage.
Ben McLemore missed his 10th consecutive game with a non-displaced fracture in the tip of his right ring finger, but he told CSN Bay Area during pregame that he expects to return on Sunday when the team takes on the Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena. Marco Belinelli began the day questionable with a sore right foot, but he tried to give it a go. The veteran wing lasted 10 minutes before he called it a night.
The Kings return to their home court on Easter Sunday for a matinee against the Dallas Mavericks.