Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - DeMarcus Cousins saved his best for last.
In the final minute of the game, Cousins scored to put his team ahead, stole the ball and took a charge to lead the Sacramento Kings past the Houston Rockets, 110-106.
The Rockets led 104-101 with 1:40 left in the game, before a reverse layup from Cousins brought the Kings within one. After a miss from behind the arc by James Harden, Cousins put back a miss by Ben McLemore to put the Kings ahead for good with 56.3 seconds to play.
Cousins had 17 points and 16 rebounds, Rudy Gay netted 25 points and Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points and had 10 assists for the Kings, who have won two of their last three.
"It just shows our improvement, and the crazy thing is we have so much more to improve on. We were just saying we were in that situation 48 hours ago [in a close loss at San Antonio], so for us to come back and improve in just that one game, it shows a lot." said Cousins.
Harden led all scorers with 38 points and added 10 rebounds, while Dwight Howard had 15 points and eight rebounds for Houston, which has lost two straight. Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively.
"For the life of me, it's hard to put your finger on it. We just didn't seem to have any pop and our pop is coming and going. We've got to have five or six guys playing with that pop, not one or two." said Houston head coach Kevin McHale.
After Cousins' putback put the Kings ahead, he stole the ball from Harden to lead to an easy fastbreak layup by McLemore that give Sacramento a 107-104 lead with 38.8 seconds left.
Harden drove hard to the rim on the next trip down the floor, but Cousins gained position in time to take the charge with 30.9 seconds to play.
The Rockets fouled the rest of the way and managed one more basket, a Lin dunk, before time expired.
"It's just so frustrating. It's not like we don't like each other, but we play selfish sometimes, or it probably looks that way from the outside. We just have to play more unselfish, offensively and defensively." said Chandler Parsons.
Houston put together an 11-2 run in the third quarter to take a 67-65 lead with 7:15 remaining in the frame. The lead change and tie were both the first of seven apiece during the quarter.
With the game tied at 77-77 with 2:48 left in the third, the Rockets closed out the quarter with a 9-3 run to lead by an 86-80 score.
The Kings jumped out to an early 7-2 advantage in the first two minutes, which the Rockets followed up with an 8-4 burst. After the teams traded baskets over the last 5 1/2 minutes of the first quarter, the Kings led by a 29-24 count.
Harden put a trey through the twine with 5:22 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 42-42.
The teams then traded the lead four times over the next minute-plus before Sacramento pulled ahead. Gay nailed a pull-up jumper from 18 feet with 3:56 to play in the first half to put the Kings up 47-46.
Sacramento led 58-52 at halftime.
Terrence Jones scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds for the Rockets ... Marcus Thornton had 15 points, McLemore added 13 and Jimmer Fredette scored 10 for Sacramento ... The Kings went 42-for-85 from the field, while Houston went 39- for-81.