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Kings win a rare laugher

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 - 11:29 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 - 6:06 pm

Forgive the Kings for not being accustomed to tradition when it comes to late-game behavior when they have a big lead.

As coach Michael Malone sent his reserves to the scorers’ table with the Kings comfortably ahead, the players still in the game didn’t foul to stop the clock and get their teammates in the game.

Rudy Gay tried, but couldn’t get a call.

DeMarcus Cousins wanted to stay in the game. Not to pad his stats, but considering how the Kings have managed to come up short in games more times than not, he wanted to make sure this one ended right.

It did, as the Kings crushed the struggling Orlando Magic 103-83 Friday at Sleep Train Arena.

“My thing was I wanted to finish this game out,” Cousins said. “I didn’t want any setbacks. That was my mindframe, I wanted to stay in and complete this assignment.”

The assignment was completed with a balanced offensive effort, led by Cousins’ 24 points and 14 rebounds. Cousins also had six assists. Gay had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings shot 51.3 percent and had five players score in double figures to win back-to-back games at home for the first time this season.

It was only the third time the Kings have shot above 50 percent, and the first time they won when shooting better than 50 percent.

The Kings limited the Magic to 33.3 percent shooting, a season-best defensive effort. Orlando’s point total was also a season low for a Kings opponent.

But the Kings didn’t exactly feel comfortable with a big lead, as evidenced by Cousins wanting to stay in the game late or their behavior during timeouts.

“The weird thing about our team is we were up by like 15 points at one time in one huddle, and we were acting like we were down,” said Malone. “There was no joy, and I said, ‘Fellas, I’m still trying to figure you guys out.’ And Quincy Acy said the same thing. He goes, ‘Fellas, what’s going on?’ 

The Kings (12-22) had lost two games to start this five-game homestand against teams with records below .500.

One of those teams, Charlotte, had lost five in a row before beating the Kings by 10 last Saturday.

The Magic had lost its last five games entering Friday’s contest and was without talented third-year center Nikola Vucevic because of a concussion.

It was also the third game of a five-game trip for the Magic (10-26), which has lost its last four road games in addition to its six-game overall losing streak.

With the Magic struggling and Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn pulling his key players, Malone pulled his key players, even if his leading scorer wanted to stay in the game.

“At the end, I wanted to get everybody out, and DeMarcus didn’t want to come out,” Malone said. “I have too much respect for Jacque Vaughn and that team where I’m going to get guys out. The No. 1 thing: I don’t want anyone getting hurt when you’re up by 20 points in the game. You always want to respect the game and your opponent.”

Jason Thompson had 14 points for the Kings. Derrick Williams (14 points, six rebounds) and Jimmer Fredette (11 points, three assists) also had solid games off the bench.

Isaiah Thomas struggled shooting, going 2 for 13. But he made a 3-pointer to extend his streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 28, fourth longest in team history.

Read more articles by Jason Jones

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