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  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Suns guard Goran Dragic, left, fouls Kings guard Isaiah Thomas on his drive to the basket Friday at Sleep Train Arena. Thomas led the Kings with 27 points.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Kings center DeMarcus Cousins grabs one of his 14 rebounds Friday against the Suns with forward Luis Scola defending.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, left, battles for the ball against against Suns guard P.J. Tucker during the Kings' win Friday.

In a rare display of team play, four Kings score at least 20 to eclipse Phoenix

Published: Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 12:13 pm

If the Kings can maintain the attitude they displayed Friday night, they have a chance to finish the season on a high note.

"I don't give a … about the stats," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "I'm just happy for the win."

The Kings managed to win Friday night, beating the Phoenix Suns 121-112 at Sleep Train Arena.

The victory over the injury-depleted Suns prevented the Kings from falling percentage points behind Phoenix and New Orleans for the worst record in the Western Conference.

And it took some impressive stats – what Cousins said he doesn't care about – to pull off the win.

The Kings had four players score at least 20 points, led by Isaiah Thomas with 27. Tyreke Evans had 25 points, Marcus Thornton had 23, and Cousins finished with 22.

It was the first time since Jan. 16, 2009, that four Kings – John Salmons, Kevin Martin, Jason Thompson and Brad Miller – all managed to reach 20 points.

And it was Cousins who set the tone early.

Cousins made the same number of shots in the first quarter (three) as he had in the previous two games. Cousins scored 18 points and had seven rebounds in a strong first half.

"You have bad games; you have bad nights," Cousins said. "Sometimes, you have a stretch of them; sometimes, it's one night. Just bouncing back from them is the biggest thing, and I feel like I did that tonight."

Cousins took advantage of the Suns being without injured starting center Marcin Gortat and his backup, Jermaine O'Neal, to get the Kings off to a good start.

But the second half was uneven, as Cousins picked up his third and fourth fouls in the first five minutes of the third quarter and had to sit.

Cousins picked up his fifth foul with 10:53 left to play but was not taken out. Keeping Cousins in paid off, as he grabbed four of his game-high 14 rebounds and had four of his team-high seven assists in the final period.

Thornton scored 10 in the final quarter and Evans had nine points.

The Suns cut the Kings' lead to 98-94 with 6:50 to play. But Thornton made two threes as part of a 13-6 run that gave the Kings enough distance to withstand the final push from Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Goran Dragic.

"In that situation, I'm just trying to give the team a boost, make plays," Thornton said. "I've been a playmaker, making clutch shots since I've been here, so I'm just trying to keep that going."

Evans, often criticized for his inconsistent perimeter shooting, made a career-high four three-pointers.

"I just try to shoot it without thinking," Evans said. "If it goes in, it goes in. They leave me open, so I have to knock them down. That's what I did tonight."

The scoring numbers were possible because the Kings (22-42) managed to share the ball, finishing with 30 assists.

"There are nights where they don't share the ball," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "This has to be something that they grow at, and it has to become part of every game. That's how you become a pretty special basketball team."

The Suns (21-41) totaled a season-high 33 assists, led by Dragic with 16.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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