Cousins, Gay help Kings top Raptors 96-91 to end skid

kings-new-logo-confirmedTORONTO (AP) — By winning on the second night of a back-to-back, the Sacramento Kings avoided an empty road trip.

DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 23 against his former team and Sacramento beat the Toronto Raptors 96-91 on Sunday night before a sellout crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre.

“It was much needed, a confidence boost, a momentum boost,” Cousins said.

“It’s a good feeling. It would have been a pretty long flight if we went home off this road trip with no wins, so it makes it a bit better. But we’re still finding ourselves. We’ve still got a lot of growing to do.”

Gay had nine points in the fourth quarter as the Kings (3-5) snapped a four-game losing streak by winning the finale of their five-game trip.

Matt Barnes had eight points and 10 rebounds, and Kosta Koufos added 13 points and six rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors (4-2) with 23 points, the first time this season he’s been held under 30. Kyle Lowry added 15 points and 11 assists for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

“We were out of it the entire night offensively. We were off rhythm,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “They did a good job of sending bodies off of our young guys and onto DeMar, Kyle and our shooters.”

With center Jonas Valanciunas sidelined by a sore knee, rookie Jakob Poeltl started for Toronto. But he was in foul trouble all night and fouled out with six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.

Valanciunas’ injury and Poeltl’s foul trouble meant Lucas Nogueira, seeing his first action of the season, had to pick up the slack. He had seven points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.

The teams swapped leads throughout the fourth quarter until Cousins’ layup with 2:55 to go gave the Kings a 90-88 advantage. They led the rest of the way.

“I think it shows what we’re capable of,” Barnes said. “”Out of all the teams (on the road trip), we beat the best team after a back-to-back.

“We just need to stick together, start gelling and it won’t be a problem.”

After DeRozan missed a pair of free throws that would have tied it, Gay hit two from the stripe at the other end to give the Kings a 92-88 lead with 1:54 remaining.

“We got a lot of great shots at the end of the game that we missed,” DeRozan said. “I missed two free throws. Norm (Powell) had two wide-open 3s that would have given us big momentum.

“It was one of those games that we are going to be able to look at and learn a lot going forward.”

Lowry’s steal and three-point play put Toronto up 73-72 with 9:34 to go. But 3-pointers by Gay on consecutive trips staked the Kings to an 87-83 lead with 4:41 left.

Lowry’s 3 and DeRozan’s basket gave Toronto a short-lived 88-87 lead.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “I’m really proud of our guys getting the win on a back-to-back, our third back-to-back of the season already.

“We played a team that was waiting for us and that is a very, very good team that I have a lot of respect for. It’s been a tough road trip and it’s good to finish with a win.”

Sacramento led 68-66 going into the fourth quarter. The Kings, who trailed by 11 midway through the third, closed the period on a 7-2 run to take their first lead since early in the first.

The Raptors led 50-44 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Kings: Cousins had his 247th double-double, most in Sacramento history. … The Kings dominated in the paint, outscoring the Raptors 52-30. … Sacramento has defeated Toronto in three straight games.

Raptors: Valanciunas was a late scratch. He bruised his left knee last week and it swelled up before the game. He is day to day. … Toronto rookie Pascal Siakim set season highs for minutes (24) and points (10). … The Raptors scored 13 points off 11 Kings turnovers, while Sacramento had two points off six Toronto turnovers.

KINGS OF THE ROAD

Sacramento has played an NBA-high six road games, going 2-4.

SHUTDOWN D

The Kings limited the Raptors to a season-low 35.7 percent shooting from the field (30 for 84), holding them without a field goal over the final 6:42 of the third quarter.

TWO-YEAR SELLOUT STREAK

The Air Canada Centre was sold out for the 96th straight game, including playoffs, dating to Nov. 11, 2014. That’s the longest streak in franchise history.

HE SAID IT

“They played as well as you can against a guy like DeMarcus Cousins. He’s one of the hardest matchups that you can have in the NBA.” — Casey on the play of rookies Poeltl and Siakam, who filled in for Valanciunas.

UP NEXT

Kings: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, starting a stretch with seven of their next eight games at the new Golden 1 Center. Sacramento is 1-1 at home this season.

Raptors: Visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday for their second road game of the season. Toronto went a franchise-best 24-17 on the road last season.

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By DANIEL GIRARD
Associated Press