HOUSTON (AP) - Samuel Dalembert had the best game in his short career as a Houston Rocket on Friday night.
The fact that he did it against former team probably wasn't a coincidence.
Dalembert had 21 points and 16 rebounds to help the balanced Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings 103-89.
``He was possessed or something, I don't know,' Houston's Kyle Lowry said. ``He really looked like the old Sam Dalembert back in the 76ers days and he played really good.'
Dalembert, who was signed by the Rockets on Dec. 26, spent his first eight seasons in Philadelphia before playing for the Kings last season.
``He just had great energy tonight,' Houston coach Kevin McHale said. ``It was just fantastic. That was just the Sammy we've been hoping to see.'
Lowry led the team with 25 points and had nine assists, and Luis Scola added 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Dalembert's previous scoring high with Houston was 10 points. He wouldn't acknowledge that his offensive outburst had anything to do with the opponent, but instead said he wanted to give Houston a second inside scoring threat to go with Scola.
``I was telling the guys that I'm trying to be a presence because Scola is the only one there inside who is doing a lot for us,' he said. ``I said that I needed to be a presence offensively.'
The Kings led at halftime, but Houston used a strong third quarter to take the lead and Sacramento never really threatened after that.
Tyreke Evans scored 27 points for Sacramento, which has lost five of seven. Evans has scored at least 25 points in four of the last five games.
DeMarcus Cousins' streak of four straight double-doubles was snapped with a tough night. He finished with four points and four rebounds, going 1 of 7 after missing all of his six field goal attempts in the first half.
He was coming off a career-high 19 rebounds in Wednesday night's win over Toronto and it was the first time in six games that he had scored fewer than 16 points.
After the game both he and Sacramento coach Keith Smart said Cousins wasn't feeling well on Friday.
``I don't know what's going on,' Cousins said. ``I couldn't stop coughing and I can't seem to get over it.'
Houston led by nine points at the end of the third quarter and scored the first six points of the fourth to stretch the lead to 87-72. The Kings scored the next six points, but Houston used back-to-back 3s from Lowry and Kevin Martin to make it 93-78 midway through the quarter.
Martin chipped in 13 points for Houston and Chandler Parsons had 11.
The Kings played sloppy at times, and at one point late in the fourth quarter they turned it over three times in just more than 30 seconds.
``We have to do a better job of running plays and making shots,' Evans said. ``The bench came in with a lot of energy and did a good job. We just have to finish better.'
The Rockets were up by three points in the third quarter before a quick six-point spurt, that included four free throws by Lowry to make it 75-66. Sacramento cut the lead to six points after an alley-oop dunk by J.J. Hickson, but Lowry hit a 3-pointer seconds later to extend Houston's advantage to 81-72.
Sacramento outscored Houston 15-7 to open the second quarter take a 39-31 lead. Donte Greene scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer in that span. The Rockets responded with a 10-2 run to tie it at 41-all. Scola scored five quick points to get that going.
The Kings had gone back on top by five points when Dalembert had a monster dunk over Greene that left the defender on the court and Houston down 48-45.
The Kings led 52-50 at halftime.
The Rockets were up by 10 points with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter before Sacramento went on a 12-2 run, fueled by seven points by Evans, to tie it at the end of the period.
NOTES: The Rockets honored their all-decade team for the 1970s at halftime. Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy and Mike Newlin participated in the ceremony, but fifth member Rudy Tomjanovich couldn't attend. ... Smart said he expects NBA Hall of Famer Alex English, who was hired Friday as an assistant, to join the team on Monday at Minnesota. ... Chuck Hayes, who is in his first year with the Kings after playing in Houston for six seasons, was honored with a video tribute of his time with the Rockets after the second quarter. Hayes, who isn't playing because of a dislocated left shoulder, received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved