Cousins' 40 points, Rondo's triple-double lift Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo are becoming quite the tandem for the Sacramento Kings. They relied heavily on the pair Friday night against the Nets.
Cousins had 30 of his season-high 40 points in the second half and added 13 rebounds and Rajon Rondo delivered another triple-double to help the Kings beat struggling Brooklyn 111-109.
It was the second straight victory for the Kings, who had snapped a six-game losing streak on Wednesday night.
Cousins scored in a variety of ways in the second half. He made 3s, muscled his way inside for baskets, and converted off the dribble in producing a dazzling second half that helped rally the Kings from a six-point halftime deficit.
"Cousin does everything: rebound, hit 3s, block shots, pass the ball. He is quite a unique player," teammate Kosta Koufos said. "I'm just glad he's on our team."
Rondo is an offseason pickup who has solidified the Kings point guard spot, a franchise problem for many years. He became the first Kings player in the Sacramento era to have three triple-doubles in four games.
Rondo had 23 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the 25th of his career in the regular season (he has 10 more in the playoffs). Reserve Ben McLemore had a season-high 15 points and Marco Belinelli had 14.
"I kind of get caught up watching him (Rondo) play. It's just amazing being able to watch his effort on a nightly basis," Cousins said. "But as far as his rebounding it kind of gets on my nerves. He's stealing my boards, man. But man, he plays every spot on the floor."
Jarrett Jack had 21 points and 12 assists for the Nets, who have opened the season with a 1-8 record.
Brook Lopez had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Thaddeus Young had 16 points and nine rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 points and Joe Johnson scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
After Rondo missed two free throws, Bogdanovic hit a corner jumper to pull the Nets to within 111-109 with 1.8 seconds left. A turnover on an inbound play by Rondo gave Brooklyn the ball back. But he made amends by stealing a deflected inbounds pass to end the game.
"It was a game we had control for the most majority," Jack said. "But we weren't able to stop the run they made in the second half."
MORE ON COUSINS
Cousins fouled out with 43 seconds remaining and had a frustrating first half, missing 9 of 10 shots and collecting three fouls. Yet he still had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Cousins produced a memorable third quarter, making a pair of 3s and scoring 21 points to help the Kings take an 85-82 lead into the fourth.
"He made 3s, also drove to the basket, and made plays. So we needed to be in a tighter shell to make him pick the ball up and play to his tendencies," Lionel Hollins said. "We didn't do that. He got rolling and started making everything."
McLemore lost his starting job and was becoming a forgotten player after shooting .356 and averaging 5.1 points through nine games. He came alive against the Net, making 5 of 8 shots, including three 3-points, and getting three assists in producing his most productive game of the season.
Nets: Brooklyn assistant coach Paul Westphal was the Kings head coach for two-plus seasons. He was fired after starting the 2011-12 campaign with a 2-5 record. ... Lopez and Johnson were a combined 4 of 17 in the first half, but the Nets never trailed and led 60-54.
Kings: TV star Kelsey Grammer attended his first-ever Kings game and sat courtside next to owner Vivek Ranadive. ... Seth Curry entered the game in the second quarter for Rondo, who had played the previous 109 straight minutes. ... Earlier in the day, the Kings assigned rookie forward Duje Dukan to the team's D-League affiliate in Reno, Nevada. ... Forward Rudy Gay missed the game due to a stomach virus and key reserve Darren Collison missed his fourth straight game.
Nets: Visit Golden State on Friday night.
Kings: Host Toronto on Sunday night.