Game Rewind: Pacers 97, Kings 108
Perhaps perturbed by not being selected as a starter for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, despite ranking fourth in the NBA in both points (26.1) and rebounds (11.4) per game, DeMarcus Cousins played like a man possessed on Saturday night in the Sacramento Kings’ 108-97 win over the Pacers (23-21), amassing a career-high 48 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 17-of-29 from the field, 1-of-2 from the 3-point line, and 13-of-20 from the free throw line.
Cousins started out his monster night by scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds in the first 6:34 of the game, helping the Kings (20-23) jump out to a 22-8 lead in Sacramento. This should come as no surprise, however, as Cousins has been on an absolute tear as of late, registering nine straight double-doubles heading into Saturday’s game and averaging 30.8 points and 14.3 rebounds over that stretch. In fact, Cousins has now posted eight straight double-doubles against the Pacers.
The Pacers charged back once Cousins exited the game, closing out the first quarter on a 17-9 run to trim the margin to 31-25. Ellis, who finished with 16 points and seven assists to reach double-figure scoring in 17 straight games, scored eight of his 10 first quarter points during that run.
Cousins kept up his dominance in the second quarter, though, finishing the half with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting and eight rebounds.
In his first game back after welcoming a baby son to the world last week, George Hill came off the bench and had a crucial fast-break dunk to cut the Kings lead to five, 50-45, just before halftime. Hill’s dunk capped off a 10-4 run by the Pacers heading into the intermission. The new father would finish with eight points, four rebounds, and two steals.
Rajon Rondo tallied six each of points, rebounds, and assists in the first half on his way to his second consecutive triple-double and sixth of the season. The league leader in assists with 11.7 per game, Rondo had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on the night.
After averaging 23.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks on 73 percent shooting over the past three games of this road trip, Myles Turner finished the first half with eight points on 4-of-9 from the field and three rebounds in just under 18 minutes. Turner was thrust into action early at the 10:20 mark of the first quarter thanks to two quick fouls earned by Lavoy Allen. Turner would finish with 11 points, six rebounds, and five blocks in 31:45 of action.
The Pacers started out the second half appearing to emulate the Kings, feeding Jordan Hill in the post for eight points in just over eight minutes.
Paul George, recently named a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, picked up his scoring in the third quarter, chipping in nine of his team-high 34 points in just under nine minutes. His last jumper cut the Kings lead to four, 72-68, but Sacramento utilized a 9-2 run to finish out the quarter leading 81-70.
Cousins refused to be denied in the third quarter, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.
After being fouled on a 3-point attempt, George hit all three throws to cut the deficit to six, 90-84, with 6:51 remaining in the game. But yet another basket in the paint by Cousins halted the Pacers’ momentum. Cousins followed it up by drawing Turner’s fourth and fifth fouls consecutively, sending the rookie back to the bench in exchange for Jordan Hill with 5:50 remaining.
George scored the next seven points for the Pacers, part of his 15-point fourth quarter, but was quelled by five consecutive points from Cousins and back-to-back layups from former Pacers point guard Darren Collison to push the Kings lead to 10 with 2:48 remaining, 101-91.
The Kings ultimately hit 7-of-10 free throws over the final two minutes to pull out the 108-97 win over the Pacers.
While Turner has been getting his due credit for his excellent play on this road trip, fellow rookie Joe Young has raised awareness with his own play over the last three games, averaging 14 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent from deep, and 75 percent from the charity stripe. Young had a much quieter night in Sacramento, though, finishing with two points (1-of-7 from the field), two assists, and two steals in just under 19 minutes of action.
George’s 34 points were generated by shooting 9-of-20 from the field, 4-of-8 from the 3-point line, and 12-of-14 from the free throw line.