SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A 16-point deficit in the third quarter looked huge at the time for the Sacramento Kings, who had standout guard Tyreke Evans in the locker room with an upset stomach and highly touted DeMarcus Cousins playing the role of confused rookie.
But Evans re-entered the game midway through the third quarter and finished with 23 points, and the talented Cousins came up big in the fourth quarter, rallying the surprising Kings past the Toronto Raptors for a 111-108 victory on Monday night.
The Kings, who won three of their first four games for the first time since the 2003-04 season, have won their last five home openers. The Kings have ovecome double digit deficits in all three victories this season.
``If I had my choice between the first and second half I would take the second half,' Kings coach Paul Wesstphal said. ``That was a really exciting game. I'm so happy for our guys. I don't want to have to come back every game like this, but it's nice to know we can.'
Beno Udrih scored 17 points, Cousins had 16 points, Casspi had 14, and Samuel Dalembert added 14 rebounds for the Kings, who rallied from an 18-point deficit to pick up a road win Saturday in Cleveland.
Andrea Bargnani scored 28 points for the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan had 24. Linas Kleiza had 18 points, Jose Calderon scored 13.
Evans received his Rookie of the Year trophy prior to the game and showed why he earned it with 14 points in the second quarter. But a painful stomach ache left him lying down in the locker room to start the third quarter as the Kings appeared headed for a lopsided loss.
Evans entered the game at the 7:05 mark in the third and promptly passed off for an assist. He played well in the third and so did the Kings, who pulled to within 86-78 heading into the fourth. Evans missed only 12 seconds after re-entering the game and finished with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
``I was light-headed (at halftime) and not sure what it was, I was in the locker room shaking,' Evans said. ``I drank a lot of fluids and felt a little sick, but I went out there and played.'
Cousins picked up two fouls in the game's opening minutes and had six points and one rebound entering the final period. The fifth player picked in the 2010 draft, Cousins showed up big time in the fourth, making all four shots and grabbing three rebounds.
``I want that role in the fourth quarter every time,' said Cousins, who had five fouls. ``I want to be out there in crunch time and I want that ball in my hands.'
DeRozan drove the baseline for a dunk with 13.3 seconds left, pulling the Raptors to within 109-108. Udrih made two free throws for a three-point lead and Toronto missed two shots from close range in the closing seconds and the Kings secured the rebound and the victory.
``I think they figured us out a little bit and tried to change things up (in the second half),' DeRozan said. ``They threw a zone at us a few tiimes and they tried to limit us going to the basket, That was the difference in the second half.'
Evans scored on an acrobatic layup off the break and Cousins followed with a put back, giving the Kings a 102-98 lead with 3:46 remaining. A 3-pointer by Casspi put Sacramento on top 107-99 with 1:46 left, capping a 11-1 run.
The Raptors dominated the first half when they never trailed and had a 16-point advantage in the third quarter. A high-arching 3-pointer by Casspi gave the Kings their first lead at 96-95 with 5:59 remaining in the game.
``Cousins did a great job of getting them second chances and being a beast inside and that hurt us,' Toronto coach Jay Triano said. ``They didn't turn it over and they didn't miss many shots, so it was tough to get transition points going the other way and get easy bucketes.'
Quiet for much of the game, Casspi also came up big in the fourth, making all three 3-point attempts and scoring nine points.
Toronto, which has remaining road games against Utah, the Lakers and Portland over the next five days, has lost 45 of its last 53 games on the West Coast.
It's a different Raptors team this year with longtime standout Chris Bosh signing with Miami as a free agent in the offseason and Hedo Turkoglu getting traded to Phoenix.
Bargnani had his way with the Kings' post players in the opening half, scoring 17 points and DeRozan had 15. The Raptors shot 58 percent and led 62-51 at the half. They outscored the Kings 33-16 in the first quarter.
Notes: Westphal got a technical foul early in the second quarter for arguing an offensive foul against Kings reserve forward Darnell Jackson. ... The biggest roar of the night came when the San Francisco Giants were shown winning Game 5 and winning their first World Series since 1954. ... Reggie Evans had 19 rebounds for Toronto.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved