SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins didn't let his frustration affect his game, which hasn't always been the case this season for the emotional Sacramento Kings center.
Despite drawing a technical and flagrant foul during a short span in the third quarter, Cousins regained his focus and still had one of his best games of the season.
Cousins had 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in helping the Kings snap a four-game losing streak with a 124-118 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
The maturity of Cousins hasn't gone unnoticed by Kings coach Keith Smart, who in late December suspended the third-year center following a verbal confrontation on the court.
Smart was pleased how Cousins handled a potentially damaging situation against Cleveland. He was called for a technical foul in the third quarter after committing his first foul of the game. Less than a minute later, Cousins was called for a controversial flagrant 1 foul against Zeller.
"I think when he plays in the heat of battle you can see how quickly he got himself back in control," Smart said. "That's growth for him to get himself under control quickly and to communicate with the officials in the right way. He plays like a big man is supposed to play in the paint. His arms and legs go flying everywhere."
The Kings leading scorer and rebounder, Cousins made 7 of 14 shots, hit all 12 free-throw attemps, and also contributed three blocks and two steals, the second one which he converted into a layup late in the game.
"He (Cousins) is a beast down there and he is tough. He's playing well," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. "I've been watching some of the box scores and he's been averaging 20-22 points and 11 or 12 rebounds per night. Tonight was no diffferent."
Jimmer Fredette and Cousins both scored eight points in the fourth quarter for the struggling Kings, who had allowed nearly 118 points per game during the losing streak and had three losses of 20 points or more.
"We definitely took a step forward tonight and that's a good thing," Cousins said. "It feels good to come in and get a win, especially after that embarrassment (a 29-point loss to Miami), it feels good."
Marcus Thornton had 20 points and Tyreke Evans added 18 for the Kings. Fredette had 16 points, John Salmons 14 and rookie Thomas Robinson tied a career high with 12 points and added seven rebounds.
Reserve Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. CJ Miles scored 17 points and Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 15 points, but shot 6 of 19 and had six turnovers.