Cousins, Kings rally for win without WestphalJan 6, 2012 - 7:57 AM Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - In their first game without head coach Paul Westphal, who was fired earlier on Thursday, the Sacramento Kings rallied and overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to shock the Milwaukee Bucks, 103-100.
Sacramento found itself down by a point, 100-99, with 44.4 seconds left in the game. Tyreke Evans corralled the rebound of Beno Udrih's missed jumper and drove the length of the floor before being fouled by Stephen Jackson. He nailed both free throws to give Sacramento its first lead since it led, 23-22, late in the first quarter.
Jackson missed a jumper from the right wing on Milwaukee's ensuing possession and Evans made another pair from the line to make it a 103-100 game with 2.6 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Brandon Jennings had a decent look from the left wing to tie it, but his shot clanked off the front of the rim.
Evans finished the contest with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Kings, who had lost five of six coming in. Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Cousins, of course, was at odds with Westphal before the head coach was let go Thursday. Westphal posted a record of 51-120 in his two-plus seasons as Kings coach, unable to lead the renaissance he wanted to in Sacramento.
"While the job is far from finished," he said in a statement, "I am proud of the strides we were able to make."
Assistant coach Keith Smart was named head coach after Westphal's firing and earned a win in his debut.
"This opportunity here is not how a coach likes to come into it," said Smart. But he said Westphal gave him his blessing to take the job: "Coach Westphal said 'Don't you do anything stupid and reject this. I want you to do it.'"
Jennings netted 31 points and dished out seven assists to pace the Bucks, who have lost three straight.
Jennings and Drew Gooden netted 10 points apiece as Milwaukee led, 30-25, after the first quarter.
Milwaukee made its run in the second quarter and outscored the Kings 28-12 in the stanza.
With the Bucks already on top, 38-30, a 15-3 surge pushed their advantage to 20 before taking a 58-37 lead into the break.
The Bucks shot 60.5 percent in the opening half while holding Sacramento to just 31.8 percent from the floor.
An 11-2 spurt by the Kings brought the deficit down to nine, 69-60, but Jennings pushed the lead back to 82-68 heading into the fourth as he drained a three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in the quarter.
Sacramento slowly began to chip away at the lead in the fourth. Down 96-86 with 6:45 remaining, the Kings outscored the Bucks 17-4 the rest of the way.
Sacramento was Westphal's third stop as an NBA head coach, having previously guided the Suns and Seattle SuperSonics. He led the Suns to the NBA Finals in his first year of 1992-93...The Bucks finished 51.3 percent from the floor, while the Kings shot 40.7 percent.
- MILWAUKEE: 100
Jan 6 12:30 AM
- MILWAUKEE: 82
End of 3rd
Jan 5 11:55 PM
- MILWAUKEE: 58
Jan 5 11:11 PM
- MILWAUKEE: 30
End of 1st
Jan 5 10:42 PM
- MILWAUKEE: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Jan 5 10:13 PM
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