Short-handed Kings manhandle Mavericks

Rick Hurd, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The newest members of the Sacramento Kings did not make it onto the floor Monday, but playing short-handed did not slow down the players who were there.
It was quite the opposite.
Center DeMarcus Cousins scored 32 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, and forward Derrick Williams added a career-high 31 points on 12-for-16 shooting as the Kings routed the Dallas Mavericks 112-97 at Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings put on a show for their new teammates, forwards Rudy Gay and Quincy Acy and center Aaron Gary.
"Our goal coming in was no excuses," Cousins said after the Kings rolled to their second straight victory and ended a four-game home losing streak. "Trades happen. We just wanted to go out and play basketball."
In doing so, the Kings played some of their best basketball this season. Guard Isaiah Thomas added 24 points and a career-best 12 assists, and Sacramento built a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead en route to its first win over Dallas since March 9, 2012.
Guard Monta Ellis scored 21 points to lead the Mavericks. Forward Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
"If you don't compete at high enough level in this league, you're gonna get beat," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We didn't compete hard enough."
On hand to watch the contest from a luxury box were Gay, Acy and Gray, the three players the Kings acquired from the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez, forwards John Salmons and Patrick Patterson and center Chuck Hayes. The trade was officially announced Monday, and all three are expected to play in the Kings' next game, Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.
Vasquez's departure vaulted Thomas into the starting lineup for the first time this season, a place coach Michael Malone said Thomas would stay for the rest of the season. Thomas was leading the NBA in bench scoring with at 17.8 points per game.
"The main thing coming off the bench is that you want to bring energy," Thomas said. "That's the thing I need to bring now that I'm starting. I just want to keep doing the things I've been doing."
He had no problem doing so against Dallas. Thomas scored 12 of the Kings' first 23 points as Sacramento ran out to a 28-12 lead in the game's first 7 1/2 minutes.
Thomas also found Cousins consistently underneath, which helped set up double-team situations down low and freed up Williams from the outside. The Kings scored 57 points before halftime, their biggest first-half output of the season.
"Isaiah Thomas did a great job at staying true to who he is but also finding a way to get 12 assists and only two turnovers," Malone said. "As our starting point guard, I don't think he could've played much better than he played."
Williams, who until Sunday was the Kings' newest player, played 35 minutes and canned nine of his first 11 shots. He also made three of five 3-point attempts.
His most spectacular bucket of the night came at the end of a three-on-none break. After coming up with a steal, Williams passed to Thomas, who then lobbed the ball off the glass back to Williams for a reverse slam dunk.
"I saw aggression and confidence," Malone said of Williams, who was acquired from Minnesota for forward Luc Mbah a Moute on Nov. 26. "This is Derrick's sixth game with us, and he hasn't played much in really two years. I think he realized that we're going to give him every opportunity to succeed."
With the bench short-handed, the Kings' starters did just about all the work, scoring all but 12 of the team's points.
NOTES: Kings coach Michael Malone said that with G Greivis Vasquez dealt to Toronto, Jimmer Fredette and rookie Ray McCallum will compete for time backing up Isaiah Thomas at the point. McCallum, the team's second-round pick out of the University of Detroit, played less than a minute in the only game in which he appeared before Monday. ... C DeJuan Blair made his third straight start for the Mavericks, while Samuel Dalembert, who started 17 of Dallas' first 19 games, was the third center off the bench behind rookie Bernard James. The trio combined for 14 points, seven by James. ... Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki failed to register an offensive rebound Monday. He entered the game needing six to tie James Donaldson atop the Mavericks' all-time list. Donaldson had 1,296. ... According the Elias Sports Bureau, Sacramento's 112-102 overtime victory at Utah on Sunday was the franchise's first-ever road OT win by a double-digit margin.

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