SACRAMENTO (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins returned to the lineup from a back injury and scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Sacramento Kings past the struggling Dallas Mavericks 112-98 on Monday night.
Rajon Rondo had 21 points and Rudy Gay added 20 for the Kings, who had dropped six straight to Dallas and 21 of the previous 23 meetings. Sacramento outscored the Mavericks 22-13 in the third to take the lead for good.
Chandler Parsons had 14 points for the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia both scored 13.
Dallas, which has dropped four of five, missed 28 of 37 attempts from 3-point range.
Darren Collison added 15 points and Omri Casspi 10 for the Kings. Cousins grabbed nine rebounds and Rondo had five assists.
Cousins shot 5 of 9 from the field in the fourth and hit all six free throws to help Sacramento build on its third-quarter lead. Gay converted a three-point play to give the Kings a 97-86 advantage.
Cousins missed the previous three games due to a lower back strain. Sacramento is 1-7 without him this season and 12-40 when he’s absent since Cousins joined the team in 2010.
Sacramento got more aggressive defensively in the third quarter and it paid off. Gay scored seven early points and the Kings held Dallas to 22.7 shooting and 13 points in taking a 76-71 lead into the fourth.
Mavericks: Nowitzki made a step-back jumper late in the second quarter to become the 13th player in NBA history with 10,000 field goals. . Pachulia fared well against Cousins in the first half when he had 11 points and seven rebounds. ... Reserve point guard J.J. Barea missed his second straight game with an ankle sprain.
Kings: Rondo, who leads the NBA in assists per game, picked up his 200th this season in the opening quarter. ... Rondo was fouled intentionally seven times and missed seven of 14 attempts. ... In a rare first-half appearance, Seth Curry made two 3-pointers and had eight points. . Kosta Koufos was fouled intentionally twice in the third quarter and missed all four free throws.
Mavericks: At Portland on Tuesday.
Kings: Against Boston on Thursday in Mexico City.