Kings' Karl ties Jackson for the fifth most victories
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Sacramento Kings coach George Karl shrugged off his milestone 1,155th victory Saturday, preferring to focus on his team's current plight rather than tying Phil Jackson for the fifth most victories in NBA history.
DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and nine rebounds to help the struggling Kings to a 142-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who lost their eighth in a row.
It's been a long journey for the 63-year-old Karl, who has a sparkling 1,155-795 record in 27 seasons, twice overcoming cancer in a five-year period.
Now he's tasked with improving a team with nine straight losing seasons.
"Our record brings a lot of energizing drama to our team, and in today's world it gets magnified in a crazy way," Karl said. "Our team has done a better job with what they have … than people give them credit for most of the time."
•LOPEZ LEADS WAY: Brook Lopez scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Nets to a 100-97 victory over the host Celtics. Isaiah Thomas had 24 points, Jae Crowder 16 and Evan Turner 12 for Boston. The Celtics dropped their second straight after a season-high four-game winning streak.
•JACK HURT: The Nets said guard Jarrett Jack suffered a sprained right knee vs. the Celtics, and he did not return. Jack is averaging 13.2 points and 7.3 assists per game.
•BEST FOR LAST: Paul George scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to help the host Pacers beat the Pistons 94-82. The Pacers went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter to take a 62-53 lead after George made two free throws and a dunk. In the fourth, George made a layup on a hard drive to the basket, then made three three-pointers, including one to give the Pacers an 88-79 lead with 2:11 left to play.
•BOARDING: A 56-34 rebounding edge led the Thunder over the host Hornets 109-90. Kevin Durant had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 16 points for the Thunder, which put four other players in double figures in winning their fourth straight game.
•STREAKING: The host Cavaliers beat the Magic for the 13th straight game, 104-79. The Cavaliers' lead reached 31 points in the third quarter of their third win over the Magic this season — and it wasn't even the most lopsided matchup. On Dec. 11, Cleveland led by as many as 40 in a 111-76 rout.
•RUN ENDS: Tim Duncan scored zero points in 14 minutes of the host Spurs' 121-103 victory over the Rockets. It was the first time in his 18-year career that the Wake Forest product was held scoreless. Picking up the slack was LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points), Kawhi Leonard (22 points) and Borris Diaw (20 points). Tony Parker contributed just two points but had 10 assists.
•WILLIAMS HAMSTRUNG: Deron Williams left the Mavericks' 105-98 loss to the Pelicans in Dallas because of left hamstring tightness. Williams was playing for the second straight game Saturday after missing four because of a hamstring strain. He also missed time in the preseason because of hamstring issues.