"That is a strength of his," Smart said of Cousins. "You have to pay attention to what he does. Obviously, not having him around, somewhere along the line he was going to grab a lot of those rebounds that were floating there."
Jennings agreed: "With that post presence, that guy they can get the ball to in the post, with him getting easy buckets for them, I think they missed him a lot."
The Bucks jumped to an early 20-10 lead and led 29-19 after the first quarter, as Ellis sank a half-court shot to beat the buzzer. Sacramento used a 10-0 run to tie it at 32.
Two Bucks players picked up technical fouls with 2:04 left in the second quarter after exchanging words with referee Ken Mauer. Tobias Harris was whistled after arguing over a no-call following a layup attempt.
Then, as Harris was having a cut attended to near the bench, Mauer whistled Gooden, who was sitting on the bench. The technical free throws made it 43-39, but Milwaukee scored the last six points of the half to lead by 10 at the break. Mbah a Moute had 13 in the half.
Ellis added eight rebounds in his bid for his third career triple double. The Bucks forced 17 Sacramento turnovers.
"We got a lot of stops, and we got in the open court and ran," Ellis said. "We got pretty much what we wanted."
The Kings didn't.
"We had a lot of mental mistakes on defense," said guard Aaron Brooks, who had 10 points and six assists. "We gave up wide-open shots, second-chance shots, turnovers, and we shot badly. We just had a bad overall game. We still had a chance to win the game, and that makes it really frustrating."
NOTES: Milwaukee started 12-8 in 2005-06 en route to a 40-42 season. ... Dunleavy has missed four straight games, and Udrih has missed six straight. ... The teams' last meeting came on Jan. 5, when the Kings came from a 21-point halftime deficit to beat Milwaukee 103-100 in Smart's coaching debut. ... Evans had a message for Cousins after the game: "Just play smart, go out there and play basketball. That's what you get paid for. Just got to do a better job of going out and playing basketball, that's it. He's been doing a good job this year, though."