/Cousins returns, scores 31 to lead Kings past Mavs 112-98

Cousins returns, scores 31 to lead Kings past Mavs 112-98

2:23 a.m. EST December 1, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — There’s little doubt the Sacramento Kings are a much different team with DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup.

The All-Star forward was certainly a difference-maker in his return Monday night. He scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter of a 112-98 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Cousins missed the previous three games due to a lower back strain. The Kings are 1-7 without him this season and 6-5 with the big man in the lineup. They are 12-40 when he’s been absent since Cousins joined the club in 2010.

“I hate being out and I hate having to sit to watch my team going to battle without me when you know you could be in helping them,” said Cousins, who had nine rebounds and six assists. “It’s a terrible feeling to be sitting out. But you have to put those games behind you and move forward.”

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 period to take the lead for good.

Darren Collison added 15 points and Omri Casspi 10 for the…

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