for this game

Kings beat Celtics in Karl's debut

Feb 21, 2015 - 7:13 AM Sacramento, CA ( - DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points and 15 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings began the George Karl era with a 109-101 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Karl was hired during the All-Star break to coach the Kings, replacing interim coach Tyrone Corbin, who took over for the abruptly-fired Mike Malone earlier this season.

Rudy Gay tallied 28 points for the Kings, who have won just three of their last 16 games. They hold the third-worst mark in the Western Conference (19-34).

Andre Miller had eight points in 23 minutes of play in his Kings debut. Karl and Miller were reunited Thursday when the Kings acquired the veteran from the Washington Wizards in exchange for backup point guard Ramon Sessions. Miller played under Karl when the two were with the Denver Nuggets.

Cousins accounted for nine of Sacramento's 24 turnovers, which led to 38 Boston points, but the Kings managed to hold on in the closing minutes.

"We have to start being better in here, and then somewhere along the way go out on the road, get lucky winning some games on the road," Karl said. "We have to establish home court. I think that's the beginning of a good team."

Avery Bradley scored 28 for the Celtics, who came into Sacramento with four wins in their previous five games.

The Kings went just 6-for-18 from the field in the final quarter, but made 15- of-20 free throws.

Tyler Zeller's three-point play gave Boston its final lead at 90-89 with 6:46 remaining before Cousins countered by sinking a short jumper.

A hook shot from Zeller had the visitors within 95-94, but the Kings scored the ensuing eight points, finished by Gay's free throws. The Celtics didn't threaten the rest of the way.

"I thought Gay and Cousins just dominated the game. They made every big shot, every big play," Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted.

Zeller had 13 of his 22 points in the opening quarter, but the Celtics trailed 28-27 after 12 minutes. Boston scored 16 of the game's first 18 points, but the Kings turned the tide with a 17-0 burst to end the period. Omri Casspi's driving jam finished the flurry.

The Kings led by as many as 10 in the second quarter before they settled for a 56-51 edge at the break.

Cousins had the highlight play of the third when he soared to the basket over Jae Crowder to throw down a one-handed slam to increase Sacramento's lead to 74-66 with 3:25 remaining. It was 82-74 moving to the fourth.

Game Notes

The Kings have beaten the Celtics four straight times in Sacramento ... Marcus Smart had a career-high five steals to go with 16 points for Boston ... Kelly Olynyk (right ankle sprain) missed the game for the Celtics, who got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Brandon Bass.