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It wasn’t easy but the Kings found a way to get the job done on Saturday, defeating the Knicks 135-129 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd at Sleep Train Arena.
On a night of high-octane offense and an uptempo style of play that Sacramento is embracing, defense once again was lacking as the Kings gave up a season-high 129 points.
"We can't be a team that tries to come out every night and outscore people, that's not us,” said Cousins. “We defend."
"It was even said after the game,” Cousins continued. “We got to go back to being our old team. Wanting to defend at a high level and taking pride in actually playing defense.
“As of right now, we’re taking steps back. We gotta get back on the right path,” said Cousins.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Kings start hot, need OT to beat Knicks]
The former Kentucky Wildcat returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s loss to the Suns with gastroenteritis and put up a game-high and season-high 39 points - just two points shy of his career-high.
The six-foot-eleven center scored nine of his points in overtime and had four in a 9-0 Kings run in the extra session.
“Cousins, who is an All-Star caliber player, he just forced the issue in overtime,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher.
The other theme that permeated the Kings locker room was that the squad needed this win badly.
“It was a very much needed win,” said interim Kings coach Tyrone Corbin. “Even though it wasn’t the prettiest basketball, we’ll take the win.”
Darren Collison’s individual stat line was almost perfect (9-10 FG, 3-3 3pt, 6-6 FT), recording his third double-double of the season including a season-high 27 points to go along with 10 assists in the victory.
“When you lose, you kind of forget – there’s a lot of guys dropping heads, starting to be discouraged – you kind of forget how to win some games,” said Collison who concurred with Corbin.
“It’s good to just get a win, get that feeling back and at the end of the day we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
“It was one of those things – however it happened, we needed it,’ said Rudy Gay, who scored 29 points.
“You can say what you want about how we won it, when we went to overtime. If you’ve got a player like (Carmelo Anthony) on the team then you’ve got a chance – he can hit shots, he can get hot,” Gay continued.
Gay and Anthony, who scored 36, both hail from Baltimore and their matchup was sensational.
“It was fun; it was like old times growing up,” said Gay. “Obviously he’s a great player and I like lining up with great players.”
For the Kings, winning is always fun.
Tremendous production from the big three of Cousins (39), Rudy Gay (29) and Darren Collison (27), who combined for 95 points in a winning effort.
The Kings inability to close out the Knicks with nine-point lead, 111-102 with 2:56 remaining in regulation.
Beyond the opponent or statistics, the Kings demonstrated resiliency in getting a win.
However, in a sloppy effort - failing to finish the game in regulation and allowing almost 130 points, Sacramento must improve to win more consistently.
“I don’t believe I played good basketball tonight,” said Cousins. “I was a step slow defensively . . . We didn’t play our best basketball. We got to do better.”