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Cousins leads Kings past Pelicans, 102-97

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 31, 2014 at 11:19 pm •  Published: March 31, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When DeMarcus Cousins drilled a 16-foot jump shot on the Sacramento Kings' first possession of the second half, he had the look of a player who was ready to take over a game.

Next came a layup, then a follow shot as he was fouled for a three-point play, then a layup as he was fouled for another three-point play.

Cousins made all seven of his shots in the third quarter on his way to a 35-point, 14-rebound performance, and the Kings snapped a three-game skid with a 102-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

"I just had to come out and set the tempo for the second half and try to get my teammates involved," Cousins said. "So that was my main thing."

He did it on both ends, helping his team outrebound New Orleans 47-30. Sacramento pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, a big reason for the Kings' 22-4 advantage in second-chance points.

"We dominated," Cousins said, referring to the Kings' rebounding. "That was one of our key points going into the game tonight."

Ray McCallum, starting at point guard because of Isaiah Thomas' right thigh injury, had 22 points and 10 assists. He also committed only one turnover in nearly 44 minutes.

"I have a great opportunity to go out there and play, and I'm trying to make the most of it," McCallum said. "Being a rookie playing against great players, you can't be out there turning the ball over."

Rudy Gay also scored 22, including a momentum-swinging 3-pointer after the Pelicans had pulled within a point in the fourth quarter.

Reggie Evans grabbed 12 rebounds before his ejection for an elbow to Anthony Davis' face on a collision that occurred as Evans went up for a close-range shot.

Davis, returning from left ankle injury that forced him to miss a start on Saturday, had 22 points. Anthony Morrow scored 23 points and Tyreke Evans 15 for the Pelicans, who have dropped two straight on the heels of their season-high, five-game winning streak.

"We just did not have a great level of sustained effort," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said, adding that Cousins was a "tough cover."

"A number of times we had double-teams down there and he just bulled through the double team and got to the basket," Williams said.

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