DeMarcus Cousins said after Friday’s loss to Houston that the Kings needed to play a more complete game, starting with not getting buried in the first quarter.
That wasn’t working out too well Sunday, when the Kings fell behind 22-13 in the first quarter against the slumping Brooklyn Nets.
But Cousins helped keep the game within reach, scoring 12 points in the first quarter. In the third quarter, the Nets had no chance of stopping him as he scored 18 of his game-high 37 points and led the Kings to a 122-105 victory at Barclays Center. It was Brooklyn’s seventh consecutive loss.
The Kings have won three of their past four games. They had lost seven consecutive road games to the Nets.
18 Points by DeMarcus Cousins in the third quarter against Brooklyn
Cousins passed Chris Webber for third place in team history in Sacramento-era scoring with 8,846 points.Webber has 8,843.
Mitch Richmond (12,070) and Peja Stojakovic (9,498) hold the top spots.
During his seven seasons, Cousins also has passed Webber in rebounds, steals, double-doubles and free throws made. Adding scoring to that list was humbling for Cousins.
“That’s incredible,” Cousins said. “I really don’t like to speak on Chris Webber’s legacy, especially in Sacramento. He’s the biggest icon to walk through the city. I’m honored and excited. I never thought that would happen. It’s dope.”
Cousins’ dominance in the third quarter helped turn around a game that the Kings trailed 59-58 at halftime. Cousins’ output matched that of the Nets, who were outscored 34-18 in the period.
““If we are playing the right way, I know at some point we are going to – I don’t know how to explain it – just go to another level. It is unexplainable. It happened (Sunday). We were able to get the game out of reach and seal the victory.”
Cousins also had 11 rebounds, four steals, two assists, a blocked shot and only one turnover.
“(Cousins is) a difficult cover because he can play facing you or with his back to the basket, he can shoot a little bit, he can drive a little bit,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “He creates a lot of contact and goes to the free-throw line. You look at that, and you say, how can you take him for granted? He had 37 points and 11 rebounds.”
The Kings (7-10) survived a late push by the Nets (4-12) after Matt Barnes was ejected. He was called for a flagrant foul 2 on Sean Kilpatrick that ignited a 12-2 run by Brooklyn.
With the Kings leading 99-93 with 6:54 to play, they scored 16 unanswered points to put the game away.
“I was scared there for a second because they went on a run, and I was like, man, did I cost the team the game?” Barnes said. “So I was nervous back here (in the locker room), but we regained focus, went on a run of our own and closed the game out strong.”
Joerger was pleased with the Kings’ composure after Barnes’ ejection.
8,846 Career points by DeMarcus Cousins, third in team history in the Sacramento era
“It’s a tough deal because it can mess up a game,” Joerger said. “Guys can get emotional, and (the Nets) play fast anyway, but we did a good job and slowed ourselves down. We didn’t settle for jumpers; we got into the paint.”
Rudy Gay had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Kings. Darren Collison scored 18 points, and Ty Lawson had 13 points off the bench.
Kilpatrick led the Nets with 22 points, and Brook Lopez had 17 points and seven rebounds.