SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein followed a breakout offensive performance with 21 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Sacramento Kings over the Dallas Mavericks 133-111 on Sunday.
The Mavericks have dropped three straight and 10 of 12. They are ninth in the Western Conference and trail Houston by half a game for the final playoff spot.
Cauley-Stein, the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft, set a career high with 26 points on Friday night against Phoenix and followed up with just his second 20-plus point game.
Darren Collison had 17 points and Seth Curry and Ben McLemore each had 14 for the Kings. Rajon Rondo had 11 points and 11 assists.
Raymond Felton had 15 points and both J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki had 14 for the Mavericks. Wesley Matthews and David Lee each scored 12 points. Dallas has lost three of four meetings this season to Sacramento.
Cousins was dominant inside, hitting 7 of 12 shots and getting five assists. He sat out the fourth quarter and played 28 minutes. The Kings shot 62 percent and made 9 of 20 3-pointers.
The slumping Mavericks (35-38) fell to three games under .500 for the first time all season. They have made the playoffs in 14 of the past 15 seasons, missing out only in 2012-13.
Curry was scoreless in the first half but made two 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the third quarter, when the Kings outscored Dallas 39-33 to increase their lead to 23 points.
The Kings showed more energy in the opening half, getting good looks on offense and frustrating Dallas at times defensively. Cousins scored 14 points and both Collison and Cauley-Stein had 10, helping the Kings take a 63-46 lead by intermission.
Mavericks: Deron Williams missed his second straight game with an abdominal strain and returned to Dallas for testing. He will also miss Monday’s game in Denver, which is the conclusion of a four-game trip. … Zaza Pachulia was called for a technical in the second quarter and Matthews got one early in the third. … Nowitzki had scored 20 or more points in the previous nine games he played. He sat out Friday’s loss at Golden State.
Kings: McLemore played in a reserve role. He missed the previous 10 games with a finger-tip injury. … With 29 wins, the Kings are one victory away from their first 30-win season since winning 38 games in 2007-08. … Curry made his second straight start, the first two of his NBA career.