Ex-Cats

DeMarcus Cousins’ big night leads Kings past Magic 97-91

The Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins (15) was congratulated by Omri Casspi (18) and Rajon Rondo after making a basket during the second half against the Magic. The Kings won 97-91.
The Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins (15) was congratulated by Omri Casspi (18) and Rajon Rondo after making a basket during the second half against the Magic. The Kings won 97-91. The Associated Press

At times during his career, frustration has gotten the best of Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.

He did the frustrating against the Orlando Magic.

Cousins had 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Kings held off the Magic 97-91 on Saturday night.

It was just the latest complete performance for Cousins, who has recorded four straight games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also went 13-for-15 from the free-throw line and had six assists, three steals and three blocked shots.

“I don’t think I was as aggressive as I usually am, but that’s just kind of how the game went,” the former University of Kentucky star said. “I didn’t really have to be as aggressive, we kept moving the ball.”

He was back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for hitting Atlanta’s Al Horford with a forearm to the head on Wednesday.

Cousins carried the offensive load for the Kings in the first half, scoring 15 points. Sacramento entered the night averaging nearly 104 points per game, but recovered from shooting just 37 percent from the field in the opening 24 minutes.

Rajon Rondo added 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Sacramento, which had lost two in a row. Marco Belinelli chipped in 13 points off the bench.

Trailing 65-61, the Kings outscored the Magic 22-2 in the final 5:03 of the third quarter to take an 83-67 lead into the fourth. Sacramento led by as many as 16 points in the final period.

Orlando surged within 87-80 in the fourth, but after Evan Fournier was called for a technical for arguing an offensive foul, the Kings got the lead back up to double digits.

“We came apart when the ball was thrown up tonight,” Magic coach Skiles said. “We just couldn’t find a way to stabilize ourselves.”

Tobias Harris led the Magic with 24 points. Fournier added 17.

The Magic were 1-for-8 from the field with five turnovers during Sacramento’s third-quarter spurt. Those five turnovers led to eight Kings points. Orlando also had just eight free-throw attempts for the game, compared to 31 for Sacramento.

After being benched in the second half of the Magic’s win over Minnesota on Wednesday, center Nik Vucevic started on Saturday and appeared more engaged on both ends of the floor.

He finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, but again sat the entire fourth quarter as the Magic tried to get back into the game.

DEFENDING COUSINS

Despite reportedly having issues at times with Cousins since taking over as Sacramento’s coach, George Karl scoffed at the notion that he is tough to coach.

“Cuz is a frustrated guy who wants to win,” Karl said. “Sometimes it gets to him maybe in a negative way, but he cares, he wants to win and he lashes out sometimes in maybe a disruptive way. But he’s doing it because he wants to win.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

One of the goals Skiles set for his team this season was to see it to improve on an opponent field goal percentage that ranked 28th in the league last season. It’s early, but entering Saturday the Magic were on track, allowing opponents to shoot just 42.3 percent this season. That ranked fourth among NBA teams.

KINGS 97, MAGIC 91

Sacramento

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

McLemore

25:10

3-12

2-2

1-3

2

3

8

Cousins

40:29

8-19

13-15

0-12

6

2

29

Cauley-Stein

17:16

1-5

0-0

3-5

0

3

2

Rondo

42:04

5-9

0-0

1-7

9

2

13

Collison

35:43

2-11

4-4

0-2

1

0

9

Casspi

31:49

5-11

0-0

3-11

2

3

11

Belinelli

26:43

3-7

5-6

0-2

3

2

13

Koufos

20:46

4-7

4-4

2-5

0

1

12

Totals

240:00

31-81

28-31

10-47

23

16

97

Percentages: FG .383, FT .903. Three-Point Goals: 7-20, .350 (Rondo 3-4, Belinelli 2-5, Casspi 1-3, Collison 1-3, Cousins 0-2, McLemore 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 16 (11 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Cousins 3, Cauley-Stein 2). Turnovers: 14 (Collison 4, Cousins 4, McLemore 4, Casspi, Rondo). Steals: 11 (Collison 3, Cousins 3, Rondo 3, Casspi, Koufos).

Orlando

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

Fournier

35:10

7-20

0-0

0-4

3

4

17

Harris

36:42

10-16

4-4

0-4

3

2

24

Vucevic

25:03

5-10

1-2

4-11

2

3

11

Payton

37:49

3-12

0-0

2-5

9

1

7

Oladipo

25:44

4-11

1-2

3-6

4

2

11

Hezonja

16:43

1-3

0-0

1-3

1

2

3

Gordon

20:34

3-7

0-0

2-7

1

4

6

Dedmon

3:48

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

2

0

Smith

9:11

1-3

0-0

0-1

0

3

2

Napier

11:57

1-1

0-0

1-3

3

1

3

Nicholson

7:21

2-5

0-0

2-2

1

1

4

Frye

9:58

1-4

0-0

0-4

0

1

3

Totals

240:00

38-92

6-8

15-50

27

26

91

Percentages: FG .413, FT .750. Three-Point Goals: 9-31, .290 (Fournier 3-11, Oladipo 2-5, Napier 1-1, Payton 1-2, Frye 1-3, Hezonja 1-3, Gordon 0-2, Harris 0-4). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 17 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Harris 3, Dedmon, Frye, Gordon, Smith). Turnovers: 17 (Payton 5, Fournier 3, Harris 3, Hezonja 2, Dedmon, Gordon, Oladipo, Vucevic). Steals: 8 (Fournier 3, Harris 3, Gordon, Vucevic). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 7:13 first; Coach Skiles, 4:11 first; Harris, 4:11 first; Fournier, 5:59 fourth. ifnnull;

Sacramento

27

26

30

14

97

Orlando

22

25

20

24

91

Att.—16,104 (18,500). T—2:10.

Officials—Tom Washington, Curtis Blair, Josh Tiven.

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