DEMARCUS Cousins knocked down the go-ahead triple and swatted a potential game-winner from fellow top big man Joel Embiid at the buzzer as the Sacramento Kings rallied past the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-100, at the Golden 1 Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
Trailing 80-72, Rudy Gay and Ty Lawson teamed up for 13 unanswered points for Kings to take an 85-80 lead midway through the fourth. But the Sixers countered with a 9-2 run to regain control, 91-87, with 3:41 to go.
The Kings tied the game at 91 heading into the final three minutes and took a 96-95 lead with less than a minute to go on a Garrett Temple triple. Ersan Ilyasova answered with a bucket from midrange, but Cousins sank a booming trey to keep Sacramento ahead 99-97 with 20 ticks left.
Ilyasova missed a jumper on the next play, and Temple sank a pair of free throws to push the Kings lead to four. After Sergio Rodriguez converted his third triple of the quarter to close the gap to one, 101-100, Cousins missed one of two free throws to give the Sixers a chance, but he quickly made up for it with a game-saving block on Joel Embiid’s 28-footer to seal the comeback win.
The Sixers overcame a cold start and clawed back from a 51-47 deficit as Dario Saric scored all his 12 points in the third quarter to help Philadelphia outscore Sacramento, 30-19, in the period and hold a 77-70 lead entering the fourth. But their efforts to end their three-game slump fell short against the surging Kings, who have won four straight to improve to 14-17.
Cousins finished with a game-high 30 points while Gay added 13 of his 17 markers in the second half. Lawson added 12 off the bench.
Embiid held his ground against Cousins to end up with 25 points and eight rebounds. Rodriguez and Ilyasova scored 18 and 17, respectively, but could not prevent Philadelphia from falling to 7-23.