Sometimes, all you can do is sit back and say, ‘Wow.’
Those observing Kings center DeMarcus Cousins’ prolific third quarter Friday night against Brooklyn might know the feeling – heightened by the juxtaposition of what came before it.
“I stunk up the floor in the first half,” Cousins said.
That stench wafted from Cousins missing nine of his first 10 shots. Then, he masked it with the fragrance of a 30-point second half that featured a barrage of shots in the third, when Cousins scored 19 consecutive points to help the Kings win their second game in a row, 111-109, over the Nets at Sleep Train Arena.
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Rajon Rondo recorded his third triple double in four games as the Kings overcame a slow start behind Rondo (23 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) and Cousins, who finished with 40 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
The Kings needed Cousins and Rondo to play well because they were without forward Rudy Gay (stomach virus) and point guard Darren Collison (left hamstring strain).
Cousins made 8 of 11 in the third and 12 of 17 in the second half. Cousins said forward Caron Butler, who started in place of Gay, told him to stay aggressive after his rough start.
“I didn’t realize I was shooting that much,” Cousins said. “I didn’t realize what was happening until I came out. But you have nights like that.”
And Rondo has had many nights like his lately.
Rondo’s three triple doubles this season puts him two behind Chris Webber for the most in a season in the Sacramento era. Webber had five in the 1999-2000 season.
When the Kings came out slow, Rondo kept them in the game until Cousins got hot.
“I’ve had different types of point guards than Rajon,” said Kings coach George Karl. “The only guy I’ve coached who orchestrates a team as well is Andre Miller. But Andre never had the ability to rebound the ball. Rajon is a helluva rebounder. Not many players play the ball off the rim, play the ball before it hits the rim. ... It’s like a magnet.”
Rondo is averaging 46 minutes without Collison available, but he’s been filling the stat sheet. And Cousins was too much for Brooklyn center Brook Lopez.
“Cuz is quicker than people think he is,” Karl said. “And smarter and longer than people think he is. I thought Rondo ran the team pretty well, giving him good plays where he had him and (Marco) Belinelli on the second side ... pretty effective.”
Rondo’s rebounding, however, can be problematic. Sometimes, Cousins is far from pleased with it.
“No, it kind of gets on my nerves,” Cousins said with a laugh. “He’s stealing my boards.”
At one point, Cousins and Rondo collided because they were both going for a rebound, one that would have been Rondo’s 10th.
“I didn’t even see him but he gave me that look,” Cousins said. “But he got it.”
Karl also credited two reserves, guard Ben McLemore and forward Quincy Acy, for sparking the Kings late in the first half and starting the second-half surge. The Kings trailed by as many as 15 in the first half but Rondo, McLemore and Acy filled in the gaps to help the Kings (3-7) win again after their six-game losing streak.
Jarrett Jack led Brooklyn (1-8) with 21 points and 12 assists.