Smart: 'I thought we put ourselves in a position to win'
Monta Ellis had 10 fourth-quarter points for the Bucks, who were outscored 33-30 in the period. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After taking a vicious elbow to the head from Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, the Bucks' Mike Dunleavy got the best revenge - using his hot shooting hand to help his team win.
Monta Ellis had 29 points and nine assists, Dunleavy scored 14 of his 16 points after being hit, and Milwaukee held off Sacramento for a 115-113 win on Sunday night.
Defeating the Kings, who rallied from a 15-point deficit in the final four minutes, pleased Dunleavy. But so did answering Cousins' talk and physical confrontation by making four 3-pointers after Cousins was ejected at the 3:26 mark of the third quarter following a flagrant 2 foul.
"I'm not going to begin to try and reason with someone like that," Dunleavy said. "I'm not even sure what I did, I thought I was just blocking him out."
The temperamental Cousins thought otherwise. After Dunleavy stepped in front of Cousins in a somewhat crouched position, he was confronted by the Kings center after play was stopped. Both Cousins and Dunleavy were called for technical fouls.
But that wasn't the end of it. Following a timeout, the Bucks were running a play and Dunleavy wound up under the Kings basket, behind Cousins, who swung an elbow that hit Dunleavy's head. Cousins was called for the flagrant foul and ejected from the game for the fourth time this season.
"He confronted me after the timeout; he got in my face," Dunleavy said. "In those situations, you've got to be ready. I felt like something was probably going to happen. He is always talking."
The retaliation came, but Dunleavy got his revenge. He scored five points in the third quarter following the ejection, then hit a pair of threes and scored nine points in the fourth, helping Milwaukee build a 15-point lead.
"Something like that gets you going," Dunleavy said. "I was able to knock down a couple of shots after that. It was a crazy game all things considered. We were fortunate to get out of here with a win."
It was the 12th technical this year for Cousins, who was having a great game before to the incident. He had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who lost for the third time in four games.
"You've got to be smarter knowing when you get into an altercation with somebody the refs and everybody in the arena is going to be looking at you for the next few plays," Kings guard Isaiah Thomas said. "When things like this happen we say `just calm down.' But he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He just has to be smarter."
The Bucks won their second straight game and sixth in seven contests. Before the current streak, Milwaukee had dropped nine of 11 games.
Brandon Jennings had 16 points and eight assists for the Bucks, Gustavo Ayon scored 12 points, and Ekpe Udoh and Samuel Dalembert had 10 apiece.
The Bucks, who played Saturday night at Golden State, played without starting center Larry Sanders, who was injured against the Warriors. Milwaukee also was without two key reserves, forward Ersan Ilyasova and guard JJ Redick, who expects to play Tuesday.
Ellis had 10 fourth-quarter points for the Bucks, who were outscored 33-30 in the period.
"Our bench did a great job for us," Ellis said. "Every team is going to make runs and they made one at the end. But we held them off. It was an ugly win, but we'll take it."
Tyreke Evans had 20 points and Jason Thompson had 18 points and eight rebounds. Thomas had 14 points and nine assists. Sacramento outscored the Bucks 22-9 in the final 3:48 of the game.
"I thought that these guys rallied and put themselves right there in a position to win or tie the game," Kings coach Keith Smart said.
Protecting a one-point lead, Jennings was fouled on purpose and converted both free throws for a 113-110 lead. After Evans scored again, Ellis hit a pair of free throws for a three-point lead.
Jimmer Fredette made the first free throw with 4.7 seconds remaining and intentionally missed the second, and the ball came right back to him. Evans got the ball in a wild final few seconds, and missed an off-balance 3 with a second left.
"Great play by him (Fredette) at the end," Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said. "We knew he was going to miss, but to be that accurate with the miss and hit the front of the rim and have it come right back to him in no time. It looked like the Globetrotter play, with the fake free throw and the ball coming back so fast."
Trailing by 10 points, Fredette made a pair of jumpers and later converted on a three-point play to pull the Kings within 111-106.
Evans made a put-back and a twisting shot from close range to cut the Milwaukee lead to one point with 23 seconds left.
Minus two key post players, the Bucks had no answer defensively against Cousins, who made 10 of 12 shots and all four free throws in 29 minutes.
Dunleavy made a pair of 3s early in the fourth quarter, and another one by Jennings put Milwaukee ahead 98-87 at the midway point in the quarter.
Despite the loss of Cousins, the Kings were able to outscore the Bucks 30-24 in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 85-80. Thompson had 10 points and Thomas had nine. Following Cousins' ejection, Sacramento closed the quarter with a 13-8 burst.
Ellis had 13 points and six assists and Ayon contributed 12 points and seven rebounds for Milwaukee, which took a 61-50 halftime lead. The Bucks pulled away in the first four minutes of the second quarter when they produced a 16-1 run sparked by Ayon's eight points.
Cousins scored 20 points and Evans had 12 in the opening half for the Kings.
NOTES: Evans made his first 3-point attempt in the opening quarter. A poor 3-point shooter throughout his three-year career, Evans entered the game making 10 of his last 22 3s. ... The Milwaukee reserves outscored the Kings reserves, 25-9, in the first half. ... Cousins made 6 of 7 shots and scored 14 first-quarter points and Evans added nine, helping the Kings to a 29-26 lead.