SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins had a career high 48 points and 13 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Indiana Pacers 108-97 Saturday night for their season-high fifth straight win.
Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second straight triple-double and sixth of the season for Sacramento. Darren Collison had 11 points and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 rebounds.
The Kings, winners of eight of 11 in January, used a strong third quarter to build an 11-point lead and never relinquished it in the fourth. Sacramento has beaten Indiana four straight times, sweeping the season series the last two years.
Paul George had 24 of his 34 points in the second half for the Pacers, who have lost two straight and five of six. Jordan Hill had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Monta Ellis scored 16 and rookie Myles Turner added 11 points and five blocks.
Sacramento has won five straight for the first time since Oct. 31-Nov. 7, 2014. The Kings, currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, are legitimate playoff contenders at midseason for the first time in 10 years.
The Pacers had a great difficulty containing Cousins from the start. The Kings’ talented center had 13 points in eight first-quarter minutes and 24 points and eight rebounds by halftime. Cousins has 15 30-plus point games this season, including eight in the last 11 games.
Cousins scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a stretch of 11 straight Kings points that put Sacramento ahead 97-89 at the 4:04 mark. Consecutive baskets by Collison increased the lead to 10 points with just under three minutes remaining.
George also had a huge fourth quarter as well, also scoring 15 points.
Pacers: Starting PG George Hill rejoined the Pacers and came off the bench following a three-game absence. He left the team to be at the birth of his son, who was born Jan. 16. He had eight points and four assists in 32 minutes. … Starting C Ian Mahinmi, who suffered a sprained ankle in Tuesday’s win over Phoenix, missed his second straight game and reserve G Rodney Stuckey (foot sprain) was also out.
Kings: An irate coach George Karl picked up a technical early in the third quarter and had to be restrained by several assistant coaches. … Rudy Gay, the team’s second leading scorer, missed his second straight game with a bruised heel.