Kings top Magic for elusive back-to-back wins
In Saturday's 103-83 win over the Magic, the Kings captured their first back-to-back wins since Dec. 9. (AP IMAGES)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Winning consecutive games this season has been a difficult task for the Sacramento Kings. And winning two in a row at hadn't been done all season until Friday night.
DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Rudy Gay added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Kings beat the undersized Orlando Magic 103-83.
The Kings won back-to-back home games for the first time since a three-game string in March 2013. It was only the third time all season that the Kings have registered consecutive victories.
"I continue to learn and try to figure out this Rubik's Cube," Kings coach Michael Malone joked.
It's been a trying season for the first-year coach, who has seen the Kings defeat some of the league's better teams, but not display the same effort against teams with losing records. And too many times the result has been a loss.
The Kings have been impressive recently against some of the NBA's upper-echelon teams, defeating Miami, Houston and Portland.
"This is a big win for us, we needed to back it up," said Gay, referencing Tuesday's impressive victory over Portland.
Cousins delivered offensively against Orlando, making 9 of 16 shots, hitting all six free throws, and adding six assists and three steals.
Gay, acquired in a trade with Toronto early this season, delivered a strong overall game as well. He made 8 of 13 shots and had five assists.
The Kings are 6-8 since Gay joined the team.
"Rudy has helped us out so much and gives us another option offensively," Cousins said. "He's been a great addition."
Tobias Harris had 16 points and Aaron Afflalo scored 15 for Orlando, which matched a season high with its sixth straight loss.
The Magic didn't have a starter taller than 6-foot-9 and set season lows for points and shooting (33 percent).
Orlando was without starting center Nik Vucevic for a second straight game. Vucevic, averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds, was sent back to Orlando on Wednesday after sustaining a concussion during Monday night's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Let me check my watch here. I don't think they are going to cancel that game tomorrow (in Denver), so you better get ready," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said he told his team after the lopsided loss.
"That's what this thing is about and this is what you do. If I am a doctor and I have surgery scheduled for tomorrow I just can't stop. I got to play and I got to be ready and be mindful of what my professionalism is about. You stay ready," he said.
Thomas made a three to extend his streak to 28 games, the fourth-longest in franchise history.
Sacramento shot 51 percent and outrebounded Orlando 54-37.
"The shots weren't falling, but at the same time we still have to defend and be able to hold down that floor," Harris said. "I'll give them the credit, they made a lot of tough shots and their offense was clicking and rolling."
Fredette scored eight points in a 65-second span in the second quarter, making a pair of 3s. He was part of the reserve unit that sparked the Kings, who trailed by six points entering the second.
"We needed a lift in the second quarter, we were going through the motions," Fredette said. "We (the bench) played well. We got the lead and the starters took it from there."
The Magic cut the lead to nine several times in the fourth quarter. But Williams scored six points in as the Kings went on a 12-0 run.
A fastbreak dunk by Williams that came off a cross-court pass by Cousins put the Kings ahead 97-75.
Cousins scored 10 points and Thomas had nine in third quarter when Sacramento opened a 76-64 lead. The Kings made 13 of 14 free throws in the quarter.
Ahead by six points at the half, the Kings quickly extended their lead. They made six straight free throws, the final four by Thomas, to take a 68-51 lead.
NOTES: Thomas, who was scoreless at halftime, missed all six shots in the first quarter when the Kings trailed 24-18. Orlando shot 4 of 17 in the second quarter when it was outscored 28-16. ... The Magic are 3-15 on the road this season. They conclude a five-game road trip Monday in Dallas. ... The Kings made 18 of 19 free throws.