The Kings held on to defeat the Pacers 99-94 in Indiana on Saturday night, ending an eight-game losing streak - Sacramento’s longest of the season.
Sacramento’s big three of DeMarcus Cousins (20), Rudy Gay (31) and Darren Collison (23), who average a combined 60.3 points per night, put up 74 points on to propel the Kings to the win and a 2-0 season sweep over Indiana.
It was the Kings first victory since a 103-84 victory over the Cavaliers January 11 at Sleep Train Arena.
“It feels good, we needed to get a win, a tough road win,” Kings coach Tyrone Corbin told reporters in Indianapolis. “We were able to stick it out at the end to get it.”
Sacramento (17-29) led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter and bent - but did not break - in the fourth quarter.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Kings hold off Pacers to snap losing streak]
The Pacers (17-32) cut the lead to three points at 97-94 on a George Hill 3-pointer with six seconds remaining in the game but Rudy Gay iced the win with two free throws with five seconds left capping a game-high 31 point night.
“I thought we did a good job of executing down the stretch,” said Darren Collison to reporters after facing one of his former teams. “We moved the ball and we got good shots.
“The last couple of games it seemed like we were more one pass and take a quick shot. So I thought we moved the ball tonight and got better shots.”
The Kings' center agreed with his point guard.
“I thought we did a good job of executing down the stretch,” DeMarcus Cousins commented to the media at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I thought we stayed poised, when we faced a little adversity, we didn’t get rattled.”
The Kings had to finish without Cousins, who fouled out with 1:46 remaining and the Kings leading 93-85. The 6-foot-11 center did contribute 20 points and 19 rebounds while he was on the floor - his 28th double double of the season.
Sacramento desperately needed a good start versus the Pacers and jumped out to a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter, 34-21 behind 12 points from Collison in the opening stanza.
“That is something that is being preached to us,” Cousins commented on starting strong. “I thought it helped set the tone, having our three primary guys get off to a good start. I thought it allowed everybody else to get into a flow.”
Gay was special, scoring 31 points and earning the respect of the opposition.
“I just tried to make things very hard for him,” Pacers small forward Damjan Rudez told the media in Indianapolis after the game. “I figured my length might bother him in some ways if I pushed up on him. I tried to stay aggressive and have him make tough shots.
“A guy like that, a great offensive talent, one of the elite offensive guys in the league, it’s not easy to stop him completely,” Rudez said.
“I just told the guys we needed to execute because we had the lead and we did not need to hurry,” said Corbin to the media after Saturday’s bounce back win. “The guys did a great job especially after playing last night and coming here to get the win.”
The Kings big three of Cousins, Gay and Collison led the way snapping the funk of an eight-game losing streak going for a combined 74 points.
Sacramento’s inability to put the Pacers away after leading by 20 points in the third quarter.
The Kings came out and took control, outscoring the Pacers 34-21 in the first quarter and their offense in the first half was scintillating, producing 64 points.
Sacramento was decisive on both ends of the floor and once again demonstrated the type of basketball that the Kings are capable of playing.
The challenge now is to do something the Kings haven’t done since November - win two games in a row.