Troubled Cousins scores 55 to lead Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — DeMarcus Cousins returned from a brief ejection and finished with a season-high 55 points, capping a wild day for the hot-tempered big man and sending the Sacramento Kings past the Portland Trail Blazers 126-121 on Tuesday night.
Hours after he was fined by the Kings for his profanity-laced tirade against a newspaper columnist last week, Cousins pulled down 13 rebounds and rallied Sacramento in the fourth quarter.
He made two huge 3-pointers and scored 17 points in the fourth to avenge an earlier overtime loss this season at Portland. The win snapped Sacramento's seven-game losing streak to the Blazers.
It appeared Cousins' night was over before the game even ended.
In the final minute, he put the Kings back in front when he drove the lane for a layup and was fouled by Mason Plumlee.
Cousins initially was given a second technical foul and thus ejected for spitting his mouth piece in the direction of Portland's bench after making the shot. He ran into the tunnel toward the locker room, but the officials huddled and changed the call.
In a most unusual scene, Cousins then returned to the court and made the free throw for a three-point play, giving the Kings a 122-119 lead with 35 seconds left.
"It's ridiculous. It's obvious what's being done out here. It's on a nightly basis," Cousins said. "I hope the world can see now what's going on out here because it's getting ridiculous. It's really ridiculous."
Earlier in the day, the Kings fined Cousins for his tirade last week against Sacramento Bee columnist Andy Furillo. The newspaper reported the fine was $50,000.
The exchange took place in the team's locker room after a win over the Lakers. Cousins pointed a threatening finger in the face of Furillo.
CJ McCollum scored 36 points and Plumlee had a career-high 27 points to go with 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who have lost three straight and dropped seven of eight. Damian Lillard had 24 points and eight assists, and Maurice Harkless had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Reserve guard Ty Lawson had 16 points and both Anthony Tolliver and Arron Afflalo scored 11 for the Kings, who played without second-leading scorer Rudy Gay.
Cousins put the Kings ahead 119-117 with a 3, but Plumlee countered with a dunk at the other end to tie it with 46 seconds left.
Trailing by six to open the fourth quarter, the Kings outscored Portland 17-4 to take a seven-point lead midway through the period. Lawson put Sacramento in front for the first time, 102-101, with a baseline jumper.
Trail Blazers: McCollum had 14 points in 8 first-quarter minutes. ... Al-Farouq Aminu (bruised back) has not played in five of the past six games. ... The Blazers shot 65 percent in the first half and led 72-60 at halftime. ... Portland is 5-13 on the road. ... This was the final game of a three-game road trip and the last leg of difficult December stretch in which the Blazers played eight of nine games and spent 16 of 17 days on the road.
Kings: Gay (strained hip flexor) missed his fourth straight game. ... NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, who grew up in the Sacramento area, attended the game.
Trail Blazers: Host the Dallas Mavericks tonight to begin a four-game homestand.
Kings: Travel to Utah tonight for the first of a two-game road trip.