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Sacramento hands Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86; All-Star Cousins returns to score 22

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NEW YORK — All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was welcomed back to the lineup by coach George Karl and the rest of the Kings.

The Knicks were not as excited.

Cousins, the Kings' first All-Star since 2004, scored 22 points, including 11-for-11 from the foul line, and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds as Sacramento handed New York its worst loss of the season, 124-86, on Tuesday night.

He had missed the last two games, both Kings' losses, because of a left ankle sprain and left hip bruise.

"Without 'Cuz' we haven't been able to do a lot of them in the last two games, but I thought his passing was big time," Karl said. "Cuz did a good job of orchestrating the first unit and Andre (Miller) did a good job of orchestrating the bench. There is a lot of confidence out there because of their passing."

Rudy Gay scored 25 points and Ben McLemore finished with 20 for the Kings.

Sacramento (21-37) scored the first four points and never trailed. They built the lead to 16 after the first quarter and to as many as 44 in in the second half before winning by 38.

Sacramento is now 3-3 since Karl took over on Feb. 17.

"I think we did a good job of sharing the ball," Cousins said. "Everyone was involved tonight. I think we communicated well early on. I think everyone played within the flow of the game, so it made it a lot easier."

Alexey Shved led the league-worst Knicks (12-47) with 15 points. Jason Smith and Shane Larkin had 13 each.

"We came out a little flat tonight and they kind of jumped on us," Larkin said. "They were just out there playing free-flowing basketball."

After shooting only 35 percent (7-for-20) from the field in the first quarter, the Knicks (12-47) were even worse in the second, going 6-for-24 for 25 percent.

Their previous worst loss was by 28 points to Charlotte at home, 110-82, on Jan. 10.

PHOTO: Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins (15) passes the ball away from New York Knicks' Cole Aldrich (45) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins (15) passes the ball away from New York Knicks' Cole Aldrich (45) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

"The most disappointing part is not necessarily losing the game, but just the way collectively as a group we couldn't find a way to compete against this team tonight," said coach Derek Fisher.

Sacramento started the second half on a 27-9 run and opened up a game-high 44-point lead, 92-48, on Gay's 3-pointer with 6:01 left in the third.

The Knicks responded by scoring the next 12 points and eventually got as close as 28 points, 100-72, on Smith's jumper early in the fourth quarter. That was as close as they came.

Gay, Cousins and McLemore were not needed in the fourth and sat out.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points for the Kings. Nik Stauskas added 15 and Omar Casspi had 14.

SACRAMENTO SWEEP

The Kings defeated the Knicks, 135-129 in overtime, in the teams' only other meeting this season on Dec. 27 in Sacramento. The Kings hadn't swept the Knicks in a season series since the 2009-10 season. That year, Sacramento also recorded an overtime victory, 118-114, on February 9, 2010.

KNICKED UP

Starting point guard Jose Calderon missed his third straight game with a strained left Achilles.

TIP-INS

Kings: Defeated the Knicks, 135-129, in the teams' only other meeting this season on Dec. 27 in Sacramento. ... The Knicks game is the beginning of an eight-game road trip, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 26, but postponed due to a snow storm.

Knicks: Fell short of their season-best three-game winning streak, which they achieved from Jan. 19-23. ... Exactly 60 years ago, on March 3, 1954, the Knicks played their first and only game in Westchester County, New York They defeated the Philadelphia Warriors 88-79 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. New York's D-League team, the Westchester Knicks, now plays its home games there ... Aldrich scored a career-high 19 points in the teams' first meeting on Dec. 27.

UP NEXT

Kings: At San Antonio on Wednesday

Knicks: At Indiana on Wednesday

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PHOTO: Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins (15) passes the ball away from New York Knicks' Cole Aldrich (45) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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