DeMarcus Cousins pours in 40 points as Sacramento Kings edge Los Angeles Lakers

By Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 15, 2017 at 7:32 AM
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LOS ANGELES -- With the Los Angeles Lakers rarely double-teaming him, DeMarcus Cousins had a message for his Sacramento Kings teammates.

"Feed me," Cousins said.

Cousins scored 40 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out eight assists, leading the Kings to a 97-96 victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Cousins, who scored 27 points in the second half, 16 of those coming in the fourth quarter, made one of two free throws to break a tie at 96 with nine seconds remaining. Lakers guard Lou Williams misfired on a 3-point attempt just before the final horn.

"It was lousy basketball down the stretch, just lousy," said Cousins, who connected on 13 of 24 field-goal attempts, including 2 of 7 from 3-point range, and 12 of 19 foul shots. "We took a step back in the fourth quarter, got too comfortable.

"When we get leads like that, we have to find a way to grind it out and make it harder for the opponent. Quick shots and turnovers down the stretch only helped them. In that case tonight, it gave them some momentum, and we almost lost it.

"It was more luck than anything."

Ben McLemore and Darren Collison chipped in 13 points apiece for the Kings, who matched their season high with a fourth consecutive win. Sacramento (24-32) also beat the Lakers for the fourth straight time at Staples.

Williams scored 19 of his team-high 29 points in the fourth for the Lakers, while Julius Randle added 11 points and Nick Young contributed 10.

"We gave ourselves a chance," said Randle, who also collected seven rebounds. "The second unit did a good job of coming back, making a run in the end. We had a chance, but it just didn't go our way."

The Kings took a three-point lead after a free throw and turnaround jumper by Cousins with 42.3 seconds remaining, but Williams drilled a 3-pointer with 30.4 seconds left to tie the score at 96.

"This is actually a big win for us," said Collison, who had eight assists and five boards. "We didn't lose focus. In the past, we lose focus and we won't come out with that same urgency we did after winning a few games."

Sacramento held a 79-66 edge after two free throws by Willie Cauley-Stein with 9:46 remaining. However, a 13-0 run by the Lakers knotted the score after a fadeaway by Williams less than three minutes later.

In the third quarter, Sacramento increased its two-point edge at the half to double digits. A jumper by Cousins gave the Kings a 68-57 advantage with 2:39 remaining in the period, but the Lakers cut the gap to 70-64 by the end of the third. Cousins scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the quarter.

The Kings led 43-41 at the half as both teams struggled offensively. The Kings outshot the Lakers 45.9 percent to 37.2 percent from the floor in the first half, but Sacramento converted just 2 of 11 (18.2 percent) to 5 of 14 (35.7 percent) for Los Angeles from long distance.

Both clubs committed 10 turnovers, leading to 12 points to the Kings and eight for the Lakers in the first half. For the game, both had 17 miscues, resulting in 22 points for the Kings and 19 for the Lakers.

Overall, the Kings shot 49.3 percent to 45.8 percent for the Lakers.

"I didn't feel like we were playing with the energy that I expect our guys to play with," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "I don't know if it was coming back from the long trip, the (looming) All-Star break or what. I didn't feel like the guys were playing selfish, but at the same time it wasn't that chemistry and flow that we're looking for."

Kings guard Ty Lawson missed his third game due to a left groin strain.


-- Lakers coach Luke Walton said he is focused more on coaching his club instead of keeping up with the on-going saga between Magic Johnson and the front office. Johnson, who was recently hired as an adviser by part-owner and president Jeanie Buss, has been outspoken with several media outlets about becoming the team's sole decision-maker on player personnel and roster decisions. Lakers vice president of basketball operations and part-owner Jim Buss, Jeanie's brother, and general manager Mitch Kupchak currently decide those issues. Johnson also said he would like to see former Lakers star Kobe Bryant added in some capacity.

-- Kings F Garrett Temple (partial left hamstring tear) missed his eighth consecutive contest.

-- Both clubs resume play Wednesday. The Kings visit the Golden State Warriors, while the Lakers play the Suns in Phoenix.

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