DeMarcus Cousins poured in 35 points and the Sacramento Kings ripped down 15 offensive boards to outscore the New Orleans Pelicans 22-4 on second-chance points en route to a 102-97 win at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Monday night.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Kings (26-48). Rookie Ray McCallum also had a big night as Isaiah Thomas missed his fourth straight game with a bruised quad, finishing with his first career double-double, posting career-highs of 22 points and 10 assists.
The 35 points tied a season high for Cousins, who scored nine points and had five rebounds in the first quarter as the Kings broke out to a 29-22 lead. Ben McLemore had eight in the period.
New Orleans (32-42) stormed back in the second period, hitting 13-of-17 from the floor to grab a 55-53 lead at halftime.
Cousins went nuts in the third period, hitting all seven of his shots from the floor and scoring 16 points as Sacramento went back in front 80-76 at the quarter break. Reggie Evans was ejected, however, with 1:05 left in the period for a Flagrant 2 after elbowing Anthony Davis in the face during a collision while Evans tried to get off a shot from close range.
McCallum helped carry the Kings home down the stretch, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter, and Rudy Gay hit a big 3-pointer with 6:58 to go in the final period after New Orleans had climbed back to within a point.
Gay finished with 22 points for the Kings and McLemore added 14. Evans had 12 rebounds before he was tossed.
Anthony Morrow led the Pelicans with 23 points, Davis added 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots and Tyreke Evans had 15 points. Rivers handed out nine assists and, Al-Farouq Aminu registered three steals and Jeff Withey had five blocked shots.
Sacramento was 38-for-80 (47.5 percent) overall, 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) from 3-point range and 23-for-31 (74.2 percent) from the free-throw line. New Orleans was 36-for-73 (49.3 percent), 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) and 20-for-26 (76.9 percent).
The Pelicans stayed in the game with help—they scored 30 points off 19 Sacramento turnovers, but McCallum, the second-round pick pressed into 44 minutes at point guard, had just one of them.
The Kings demolished New Orleans on the glass, 47-30.
Sacramento returns home Wednesday night to host the Lakers at 7 p.m. at Sleep Train Arena.