Collapse. The Sacramento Kings looked like world beaters in the first quarter Monday night in Philadelphia and then it all fell apart. The 76ers attacked the offensive glass and hit their shots late as they erased a 16-point first half lead to take down the Kings by a final of 122-119.
Defensive specialist Robert Covington made the Kings pay. The four-year NBA vet scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jahlil Okafor started for the injured Joel Embiid and impressed. Okafor dropped in 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.
Philly’s backcourt put up big numbers. Former Kings first round pick Nik Stauskas hit 4-for-6 from long range for 16 points, while T.J. McConnell scored nine points and dished out 11 assists.
Rookie Dario Saric added 17 points, six assists and five rebounds. Veteran Gerald Henderson hit 7-of-8 from the line for 15 points and Nerlens Noel scored 12 on 5-of-5 shooting.
DeMarcus Cousins dominated the action early, scoring 18 points in the first nine minutes of the first quarter. The All-Star big finished the night with 46 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, but his game-high eight turnovers hurt the Kings and he wasn’t around to finish the game after picking up his sixth foul.
When Cousins went to the bench, Willie Cauley-Stein put on a show. The second-year big has clearly found his niche playing with veteran Ty Lawson in the second unit. In 20 minutes of action, the 7-footer dropped in 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting while adding three rebounds.
The point guards had a quiet offensive night. Darren Collison got it going in the third quarter to finish with eight points on 3-for-7 shooting and Lawson scored four points and handed out nine assists off the bench.
Matt Barnes hit 4-for-7 from long range for 16 points, while Garrett Temple scored seven points and got his teammates involved with five assists.
Philly had no answer for Cousins. The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week ran over the Sixers from the opening tip before fouling out in the final two minutes of the game. The Kings lost, but there was no question who the best player on the floor was.
The Kings were the aggressors from the opening tip, but they let up and Philly made a game of it. The Sixers outscored the Kings 42-30 in the third to take a five point lead into the fourth. Sacramento’s second unit got them back in it to start the fourth, but three games in four nights seemed to take it’s toll. Arron Afflalo had a wide open look to tie it at the buzzer, but found iron.
Omri Casspi missed his ninth straight contest with right a plantaris tendon strain. At the time of his injury two weeks ago, Casspi was expected to miss 1-2 weeks. The team updated his status during the Sixers game, extending out the timeline on his return for at least one more week. Rudy Gay is out for the season with a torn left Achilles.
The Kings travel to Houston where they will finish off their season-long eight-game road trip against the Rockets. Following the game, the Kings will board a plane to Sacramento where they play a rare home back-to-back on Friday and Saturday.