SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins found himself in an unusual place Sunday night, sitting on the bench the entire fourth quarter. Sacramento's center liked the feeling of not being needed in a rare lopsided win by the Kings.
Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points to lead the Kings to their third straight win with this season's biggest rout, a 124-80 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 44-point victory margin was the largest in the NBA this season, according to STATS and the third largest margin in franchise history.
The Kings scored 16 straight points in the third quarter and led by 28 points heading into the fourth. The three-game winning streak is Sacramento's first since December 2012.
Cousins, an All-Star hopeful, finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in just under 30 minutes.
"It felt weird, sitting out the whole fourth. Unless I fouled out, I don't think I've ever been in that situation" Cousins said. "It felt good to see some of the guys play a lot of minutes and get out there and have good games. It was a good win all around."
These are rare times indeed for the Kings. The three-game win streak has been no fluke. Sacramento defeated Portland, then followed with a 20-point victory over Orlando and the victory over Cleveland, their highest point total of the season and easily their most impressive victory.
The Kings allowed Orlando to score 83 points, a season low until Cleveland only scored 80.
"Consistency isn't something we've shown defensively, but the last three games I think the defense has been consistent, the effort has been there, and the communication has been there," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "We bought in the last three games and protected our home court. That's great."
C.J. Miles had 14 points and Luol Deng added 12 for the Cavaliers, who had won two straight.
Cleveland went just over five minutes without a basket in the third quarter, when it shot 4 of 20 and was outscored 30-11. The Cavaliers were outscored 65-30 in the second half.
Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers' leading scorer, missed 11 of 14 shots, 3 of 4 free throws, and finished with seven points.
"It was just one of those nights. The shots were not falling," Irving said. "Like coach said, we just have to bring it in more and be more together during the hard times. Especially when I am having a bad shooting night. That's part of the game. We just have to continue to compete, including myself."
It was Deng's second game since arriving from Chicago in a trade for Andrew Bynum and three draft picks. Deng, who has been bothered by a sore left Achilles, had 10 points in 21 minutes in his Cavaliers' debut, a victory Friday night in Utah.