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Cousins scores 17 straight points to help Kings beat Suns

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Associated Press
3/29/2013 12:38:12 AM
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PHOENIX -- DeMarcus Cousins put his full array of skills on display Thursday night.

Cousins scored 17 consecutive points in the first half and finished with 34 in the Sacramento Kings' 117-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

"I didn't even realize it," Cousins said. "I was more caught up in the turnover I had. That's some of the advantages I do have, my size and the ability to shoot ball, so I just took advantage of it."

Cousins scored his first points on four free throws and a dunk, then started extending his range. He hit a 19-footer, scored on a dunk, hit another 19-footer, a long 3-pointer and finally a 21-foot jumper as Sacramento took a 38-32 lead after the first.

"We have a unique big man," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "He's a big who can play big but has the skills of a guard and a perimeter player. He has the whole package. When everything comes along in his life, when he grows up and sells into how he plays every night in the NBA, he'll be a special talent."

Told of his coach's analysis, Cousins said, "Why, thank you."

Cousins also had 14 rebounds while playing only the first three quarters, the second straight night he's had the fourth quarter off.

Isaiah Thomas added 23 points and eight assists to help the Kings win for only the second time in their past 14 games in Phoenix.

Sacramento, which has won six of its last 10, shot 53 per cent from the floor and converted 22 of 24 free throws. Thomas and Cousins combined to go 17 of 17 from the line.

Luis Scola led the Suns with 25 points, P.J. Tucker had a career-high 18, and Michael Beasley added 14 points and eight rebounds. Phoenix, resting point guard Goran Dragic for the second straight game, has lost five straight, nine of 10 and 11 of its past 13.

"This is a rough loss regardless of who scored tonight," Scola said. "I don't think it's just one thing. We are making a lot of mistakes. It has been a rough year all along."

Phoenix's Jared Dudley made a 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the second quarter to it at 46. But Toney Douglas scored five points, and Cousins added four and John Salmons added four as the Kings ran out to a 64-50 halftime lead.

"I thought our effort was there but our execution wasn't," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. "We had mental lapses at times on different coverages and it resulted in them scoring."

The game turned into a contest of runs in the second half. Cousins made a pair of free throws to give Sacramento its largest lead, 75-56, with 7:53 left in the third quarter.

The Suns, with Scola scoring six points, went on a 15-2 run to pull to 75-69 with 4:50 to go in the period, but the Kings quickly extended the lead back to double digits with a 9-2 run of their own spurred by five straight points from Cousins.

Another Phoenix run, this time a 9-0 streak capped by a 3-pointer by Dudley, cut the Kings' lead to 94-87 with 7:59 to go.

Again Sacramento answered, with Jimmer Fredette scoring five points and Patrick Patterson adding four to lead a 15-4 surge and put the Kings back in front 109-91 with 4:19 left.

"The thing about is when you have two teams who can shoot the three, it gets you back into the game very quickly," Smart said. "You just hope once a team makes its run, you can make another one."

NOTES: Cousins has six career 30-point games. He had 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds for the fourth time in his career -- the second time against Phoenix. ... Kings F James Johnson missed his seventh straight game for personal reasons. ... Phoenix has won 17 of the past 23 games between the teams. ... Dragic had season highs in points (31), field goals (10) and rebounds (nine) against Brooklyn before being given the two-game break. ... Phoenix's Markieff Morris was whistled for three fouls in the first 5 minutes while trying to guard Cousins. ... The Kings improved their road record against the Western Conference to 3-20, including a 2-6 mark against the Pacific Division. ... Tucker scored in double figures for the fourth time in five games.

DeMarcus Cousins (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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