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76ers 114, Kings 107

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PHILADELPHIA — Center DeMarcus Cousins had a huge night for the Sacramento Kings, but he was overshadowed by the smallest player on the court.

Backup point guard Ish Smith, generously listed at 6 feet, keyed a second-half run as the Philadelphia 76ers rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat Sacramento 114-107 on Friday night.

Forward Robert Covington scored 24 points to lead Philadelphia (15-50), which won for just the second time in seven games. Center Nerlens Noel had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Smith contributed 10 points and nine assists in 25 minutes.

Cousins matched his season high of 39 points and had a career-high 24 rebounds. Forward Rudy Gay notched 24 points for Sacramento (22-42), which fell for the fifth time in six games.

The Kings, who were seeking to win consecutive games for the first time since late November, are also ensured a ninth straight losing season.

Sacramento led 73-55 with 8:46 left in the third quarter but managed just two field goals the rest of the quarter, fueling a 33-9 Philadelphia run.

The Sixers’ reserves accounted for the last 15 points in that stretch, giving them an 88-82 lead at the end of the period.

Smith was particularly effective, scoring five points in the last 3:09 of the period and setting up Hollis Thompson for a 3-pointer and Henry Sims for a layup.

The Sixers then scored eight of the first 10 points in the fourth quarter as well, giving them a 96-84 lead with?8:41?left.

Sacramento cut the gap to 106-103 late in the game, but Smith found Noel for a dunk and hit two free throws.

Cousins had 22 points and 15 rebounds in the first half, when the Kings climbed out of an early nine-point hole and built a 64-51 halftime lead. Gay added 14 points and reserve forward Derrick Williams 13 for Sacramento, which shot 56.1 percent before the break.

Covington scored 19 first-half points for Philadelphia.

NOTES: Sixers G Jason Richardson, who returned earlier this season after missing two years with knee and foot injuries, rested in the first game of a back-to-back. He is expected to play Saturday night against Brooklyn. … Sacramento G Darren Collison missed his 16th straight game with a core muscle injury. … Kings coach George Karl called veteran G Andre Miller his “security blanket.” Karl also coached Miller in Denver and acquired him from Washington shortly after taking the Sacramento job on Feb. 17. “You’ve got a player and a coach, too,” Karl said. “He figures out so many things for us. He’s 39 years old, but he’s a winner. I think when he’s 41, he’ll still be a winner.” … The game was the next-to-last in an eight-game trip for the Kings. Karl said before the game that he didn’t believe the trip came at the best time because his team was just beginning to hit its stride before going on the road.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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