SACRAMENTO, California — Having a big game offensively is nothing new for Sacramento Kings star center DeMarcus Cousins.
But Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, it was Cousins' defense that was one of the keys to victory. He had 33 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and four blocks for the Kings, who dealt the 76ers their 16th straight road loss, with a 107-106 victory.
On Philadelphia's final possession, Cousins stepped in front of a driving Hollis Thompson and poked the ball free and it landed in the hands of teammate Ray McCallum in the closing seconds to preserve the victory.
"I got credited with the steal, but Cuz was the one who caused it," McCallum said. "He (Thompson) was driving to the basket and trying to get a shot and DeMarcus stepped out and slapped the ball and it came right into my hands."
Not known for their defense, the Kings limited Philadelphia to no field goals and three points in the final 6:12 of the game. Sacramento forced 16 of Philadelphia's 20 turnovers in the second half, which was a major factor in a comeback that led to the Kings' first-three-game winning streak since late November.
"They heated up defensively in the second half. We had 70 points at halftime and I'm sure that inspired them," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "They did a good job of pushing us out of stuff."
The Kings made up for a horrible defensive first half and they trailed 70-63 at intermission.
"I told them at halftime they stunk (defensively)," coach George Karl said. "Cuz had some incredible defensive plays down the stretch. He had a big game defensively."
Rudy Gay had 21 points and eight rebounds and McCallum added 11 points for the Kings, who have a 7-11 record since Karl began coaching the team in mid-February.
Robert Covington had five 3-pointers and scored 21 points for the 76ers. Ex-King Thomas Robinson had a career-high 16 points, Nerlens Noel had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and both Isaiah Cnaan and Ish Smith had 13 points.
McCallum rebounded a missed shot by Cousins underneath the basket and gave the Kings a 107-105 lead with 46.7 seconds remaining.
It was a struggle offensively all game for the Kings, who shot 36 percent. Even Cousins was ineffective down low. Often double-teamed, he missed 19 of 27 shots, but made 17 of 19 free throws.
"Coach wanted us to gang block on Cousins as a team. Once he made his moves he wasn't kicking the ball back out," Covington said. "We'd rather others try to make a play instead of him getting the ball and making plays."
Trailing by seven points, Covington hit two 3-pointers and had a three-point play in a 38-second span, putting the 76ers ahead 100-98 with 6:44 left. Another 3 a short time later gave Philadelphia a 103-100 lead.
"We need to attack the ball more," Karl said. "We get stuck in no-man's land where we don't cover anyone. That happened too often tonight."
76ers: Thomas Robinson was selected fifth overall by the Kings in the 2012 draft and is now with his fifth team. Since signing with the 76ers, Robinson has averaged nearly 9.3 points in 14 games. ... The 76ers gave guard Jason Richardson, a 13-year veteran, a night to rest.
Kings: Prior to the game, forward David Wear was signed to a 10-day contract. Wear played this season with the Reno Bighorns, the Kings' NBA Development League affiliate. . The Kings begin a four-game tough road trip Wednesday, facing Phoenix, New Orleans, Memphis and Houston.
76ers: At Denver on Wednesday.
Kings: At Phoenix on Wednesday.