DeMarcus Cousins helps Sacramento Kings complete rally vs. Detroit Pistons

By Rick Hurd, The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 11, 2017 at 9:08 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- DeMarcus Cousins hardly looked fatigued Tuesday night. Given the energy some of his Sacramento Kings teammates provided off the bench in the final quarter, it might not have mattered if he were.

Cousins scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, both game highs, and his two key 3-pointers down the stretch lifted the Kings to a 100-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons at the Golden 1 Center.

"He looks great every night," Sacramento center Kosta Koufos said. "He's the kind of player who can get 30 points and 20 rebounds every night. ... It's why he's one of the best players in the league.

Cousins hadn't looked like himself over the past week. He managed just 57 points over a three-game stretch leading into this one, including a 17-point effort in a loss against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday that led coach Dave Joerger to suggest his big man may need a night off.

Instead, Cousins scored seven of Sacramento's first nine points Tuesday en route to a 16-point first half, then knocked down the two of the game's biggest shots down the stretch. He went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and is now shooting 38 percent from long distance this season.

He also did it on a night when news emerged he might be close to signing a contract extension. CSN Bay Area, citing an unnamed source, reported that Cousins is preparing to sign a five-year extension worth $207 million.

"It's where I want to be," he said after the game. "We'll talk when it's time to talk."

Cousins' biggest 3-pointer, with 56 seconds left, put Sacramento ahead 98-94. It came after Detroit guard Reggie Jackson missed the second of two free throws at the other end to keep the Pistons trailing by one with 1:15 left.

Rudy Gay stole the ball from Detroit guard Tobias Harris on the Pistons' next possession, and Anthony Tolliver made two free throws to ice it. Tolliver finished with 17 points, matching his season high.

Garrett Temple added 11 and made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 1:55 left to break a 92-92 tie and put the Kings ahead for the first time since early in the first quarter.

"We didn't put our heads down, and we didn't quit," Joerger said. "That's the biggest thing. We stuck in there."

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points to lead the Pistons and was 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Two of the 3-pointers kept Detroit ahead and stymied some of Sacramento's momentum during the Kings' fourth-quarter rally.

Jackson added 19 points and three 3-pointers, but the Pistons (18-22) failed in their bid to win three straight for the second time this season. Detroit, which ranked 29th in the NBA in 3-pointers entering the contest, knocked down 12 of 27 from beyond the arc but couldn't hold a 70-52 lead over the game's final 19 minutes.

"Once again, we didn't close when we had a lead," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We got away from passing."

That pattern was especially obvious in the final quarter, when Sacramento exploded for 10-for-18 shooting from the field (including 4-for-6 from 3-point range) while outscoring Detroit 32-17.

The Kings (16-22) had seven assists on 10 made shots in the fourth quarter, and the Pistons recorded just one assist on seven made shots.

"Everybody got into the one-on-one (mode), and our ball movement was just ridiculous," Van Gundy said. "That's why we ended up where we are, and we've got to learn from it."

Koufos was the beneficiary of the Kings' unselfishness. He finished with 12 points off the bench, eight of them in the final period. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Omri Casspi had 10 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench for Sacramento.

"We just had to play within ourselves," Koufos said. "Everybody that came off the bench played very well."

Harris finished with 18 points for Detroit, and Andre Drummond added nine points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

NOTES:

-- Kings F DeMarcus Cousins has a league-high 12 technical fouls, four shy of an automatic one-game suspension and on pace to shatter his single-season high. Cousins, who twice in six previous seasons committed 17, is on pace for 27.

-- Pistons F Jon Leuer sat out the game with an injury to his right knee. He is likely to miss at least one more, coach Stan Van Gundy said. Leuer left Sunday's game at Portland after his knee swelled with fluid. He is averaging 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 27 minutes per game this season.

-- Former Kings coach George Karl told USA Today in a podcast that he has no hard feelings toward the team or Cousins. He reportedly criticized both in pages of his book, "Furious George," that were removed before the book's final version.

-- In Detroit's previous three games, three players scored at least 20 points, the first time that happened for the club since Jan. 10-14, 1970.

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