SACRAMENTO -- Needing a win in the worst way, the Sacramento Kings fought through the Dallas Mavericks hack-a-Rondo strategy and came out victorious on Monday evening. With the 112-98 win, Sacramento snapped their two-game losing streak and improved to 7-12 on the season.
DeMarcus Cousins shook off a lower back strain that had kept him out of his previous three games. The Kings’ 25-year-old center struggled from the perimeter, hitting just one of his eight attempts from behind the arc, but he still managed to help the team. Cousins finished the night with 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes of action.
Facing his former team, Rajon Rondo turned on the jets on the offensive end, scoring 21 points and handing out five assists. The Mavericks turned to fouling the four-time All-Star to force the 37.5 percent free throw shooter to beat them from the line. He hit 7-for-14 from the stripe in the win.
Rudy Gay had gone just 8-for-33 from the field combined in his previous two contests. With Cousins back in the fray to draw some of the attention, Gay found a rhythm. The veteran finished with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds
George Karl turned to seldom used Seth Curry to provide a spark and the guard did just that. For the second night in a row, the 25-year-year old brother of league MVP Stephen Curry found his range. Curry dropped in eight points in 20 minutes of action.
Darren Collison came off the bench to score 15 points and Omri Casspi added 10 on 4-of-8 shooting.
Chandler Parsons paced the Mavs with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Zaza Pachulia added 13 points and 10 rebounds and first ballot Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 13.
It wasn’t pretty, but Cousins dominated the Mavericks late, scoring 16 of his 31 points in the deciding fourth quarter. Sacramento is a different team with their star center on the floor.
Sacramento trailed the Mavericks 58-54 at the intermission, but they clamped down on defense in the third quarter, holding the Mavericks to just 13 points on 5-for-22 shooting. The Kings didn’t shoot much better, but they mustered a 22-13 advantage in the quarter and took a 76-71 lead into the fourth where they put Dallas away.
Cousins returned to action after missing the previous three games with a lower back strain.
The Kings leave early Tuesday afternoon and fly to Mexico City for a Thursday evening matchup with the Boston Celtics.