The bad thoughts were entering Kings coach Dave Joerger’s mind.
The Los Angeles Lakers were piling up technical fouls. Their coach, Luke Walton, was ejected in the first quarter, and the Lakers responded by outscoring the Kings 34-18 in the second quarter.
The Kings had also lost starters Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore to injuries in the first half.
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It had all the makings of another disappointing loss for the Kings.
Instead, the Kings regrouped and ran the Lakers off the court in the second half of a 116-92 victory Monday night at Golden 1 Center. The game ended a two-game losing streak for the Kings.
“Tonight it would have been easy to say, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Joerger said. “We’re down a couple guys, we’re not making our shots and it’s just a matter of time before Nick Young goes crazy and Lou Williams hits seven more 3s and so I was proud of our resilience.”
DeMarcus Cousins outscored the Lakers by himself in the third quarter, 16-13, as the Kings piled up 39 points, the most they’ve scored in a quarter this season. Cousins finished with 31 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
The Kings credited finding their stride in the third to improved ball and player movement, two areas the team has struggled with this season.
“We definitely needed it,” Cousins said. “We’ve hit a rough stretch lately so I think we picked up a good, solid win against a solid team. Hopefully we can build from this.”
McLemore left the game in the first with a left quad contusion thanks to a knee from Lakers center Timofey Mozgov. Gay left the game in the second quarter with a right hip flexor strain.
Garrett Temple started the third for McLemore and Omri Casspi replaced Gay as the Kings dominated the second half, which began with the Kings making 14 of 19 from the field.
Temple had 16 points and Casspi finished with 13.
“Obviously we made shots but the shots that we were getting were good shots,” Temple said. “It’s because we were moving the ball and were cutting with a pace, we had a real good pace to our offense.”
The game had plenty of whistles, too.
There were seven total technical fouls called in the game, including six on the Lakers.
Walton was ejected for two technical fouls with 4:14 left in the first quarter. He was angry that a foul wasn’t called on Cousins when he was tangled up with Julius Randle and that a foul was not called on Cousins after Randle landed on the floor.
“I just felt like I needed to stand up for my guys,” Walton said. “What happened on the floor wasn’t right and my only concern is our guys in the locker room and our team. If I feel like something’s not right, I’m going to stand up for my guys.”
Cousins was called for his league-leading ninth technical foul in the third quarter by official Monty McCutchen. If Cousins reaches 16, he’ll be suspended a game and another game every other technical after that.
“I don’t understand what he saw between me and (Brian) Shaw,” Cousins said. “Me and B. Shaw have talked trash since I came into the league, friendly trash talk. He didn’t like the curse words me and B. Shaw said so he gave us techs.”
Cousins said he’s not sure what he can do to avoid technical fouls at this point. Joerger said he hopes the league will rescind some of them, which can be done after review.
Cousins has not had one rescinded yet this season.
“I see how some guys talk to refs and it’s OK,” Cousins said. “And then it’s me. I don’t know. It depends on their mood.”