SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Center DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the defensive rebound underneath his own basket, spun on his pivot foot, and saw point guard Isaiah Thomas sprinting for the other end, ahead of the defense.
Cousins wound up and threw like a quarterback going deep down the field. Thomas caught the heave over his shoulder and laid in the ball with his right hand. And Cousins turned to the crowd, shook his hips and in celebration and waved his right arm in a circle
For the Sacramento Kings, moments of such spontaneous celebration have been rare this season. Then again, they have not played too many teams as awful as the Milwaukee Bucks, whom the Kings trounced 124-107 at Sleep Train Arena on Sunday.
“I would like to think so,” Cousins said when asked if he could make a similar throw in the NFL. “I was just glad Isaiah made the shot, because he shot it with his right hand.”
Cousins, the left-handed Thomas and the rest of the Kings didn’t do much wrong in stomping the NBA’s worst team. Cousins finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, and Thomas scored 30 points to go with eight assists for the Kings. TheKings’ 124 points equaled their season high, which was set in their biggest blowout of the season, a 124-80 decision over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 12.
Their 70 first-half points and 39 in the first quarter also were season bests.
Forward Rudy Gay added 24 points, and the Kings led from wire-to-wire for the first time all season, winning for the third time in their past four home games.
Cousins bolted out of the gate with 14 first-quarter points and finished with his 10th 30-point game of the season. The 86 points combined by Cousins, Thomas and Gay were the third-most by the trio this season.
“From a physical standpoint, they took a lot out of us,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “That team is a big team. They wore us down very early, but from a competitor’s standpoint you have to compete.”
The Bucks did that in the final period, using an 18-6 run at the start of the fourth quarter to spark a 37-point final quarter that had the Kings (25-45) muttering to themselves.
“The first half was one of our best halves of the year, but the second half was one of the worst of the year,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “I’m happy with the win and some of the things we did, but we just have to be better. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
Guard O.J. Mayo scored 13 of his team-high 21 points for Milwaukee in the final quarter. Forward Ersan Ilyasova added 14 points for the Bucks (13-57), who lost their seventh in a row. It is their third losing streak of at least seven games this season.
Center Zaza Pachulia’s running right-handed hook cut Sacramento’s advantage to 8-6 early in the game, but the Kings scored 31 of the game’s next 41 points and took a 39-16 lead into the second quarter.
“That first quarter, we just didn’t put up enough of a fight,” Drew said. “That’s very uncharacteristic of us. We just couldn’t stop them, and we didn’t put up enough of a fight.”
The Kings outscored Milwaukee 18-2 inside the paint during the game’s opening 12 minutes and had a 37-28 rebounding advantage during the first three quarters. Forward Reggie Evans had five of his 10 rebounds in the opening period and has had five double-digit rebound games in the 15 he’s played since being acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in February.
Milwaukee’s 57 defeats are its most since a 25-57 campaign in 1995-96. The Bucks are six losses away from setting the franchise mark; Milwaukee was 20-62 in 1993-94. The Bucks are 1 1/2 games worse than the Philadelphia 76ers as they try to avoid finishing with the worst record in the NBA.
Forward Jeff Adrien and guard Ramon Sessions each added 13 for the Bucks, who have not won back-to-back games since March 17-19, 2013.
NOTES: Bucks rookie G Nate Wolters’ was fitted for a cast on his fractured left hand, coach Larry Drew said, and won’t be back this season. Wolters, the 38th pick in the 2013 draft, has made 31 starts and was averaging 7.2 points and 3.1 assists in 58 games. He injured the hand in a 115-110 loss against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo started in his place. … Kings F Quincy Acy missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle … Drew was a member of the original Sacramento Kings, playing 75 games and averaging 11.9 points as a guard in 1985-86, the Kings’ inaugural season in the city. … Sacramento’s 99-79 loss Friday against the San Antonio Spurs marked only the fourth time all season the Kings did not have a 20-point scorer. The 79 points against San Antonio were Sacramento’s fewest in a game this season.
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