SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings are in the final days of their longtime home building, and they are playing with a renewed spirit and energy.
The Dallas Mavericks need just such a boost and can’t seem to find it anywhere.
The Kings, long out of the Western Conference playoff race, made Dallas’ route to the postseason a bumpy one again Sunday, riding their Kentucky connection to a 133-111 rout at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento surpassed 130 points for only the third time all season and shot a season-best 62.2 percent from the floor in what was Dallas’ worst defensive performance of the season.
DeMarcus Cousins produced another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, the 46th in 62 starts for the six-year veteran from Kentucky. Willie Cauley-Stein, a rookie from the same school, scored 21, and NBA assists leader Rajon Rondo, yet another Kentucky product, contributed 11 points and 11 assists.
The King won their past two home games by a combined 44 points after dropping seven straight on the home floor. That home skid was the longest for Sacramento since November 2008.
“Guys have just cleared their mind,” Cousins said. “We’ve decided it is what it is, and we’re just playing basketball and having fun. We’re playing the game we love.”
The Kings were on the edge of the playoff race with a 20-23 mark in mid-January. Then came a 7-21 spell that effectively ended Sacramento’s chances to end a playoff drought that will reach 10 seasons. The slump included a home skid that brought boos from a building that mostly was full during Sacramento’s decade of futility.
In November, the Kings will move into the downtown Golden One Center, leaving behind the arena they played in since 1988, three years after moving to Sacramento from Kansas City.
“You’ve seen pieces of this (strong performance) in every game we play,” Kings coach George Karl said. “We just put four quarters together. Very rarely do you get nights when the second unit is competing with the first unit to be the best on the floor.”
The Mavericks (35-38) relinquished a chance to pull into a tie with Utah for seventh. The Jazz (36-37) are a half-game ahead of the eighth-place Rockets (36-38), and Houston is a half-game up the Mavs.
Dallas lost for the 10th time in 12 games, and with two of those defeats coming against the Kings.
“I want them to get their plane ticket as soon as we get ours,” Rondo said of attempting to knock his former team out of contention. “So anytime we can help, that’s what I try to get these guys to focus on.”
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points for the Mavericks, ending a streak of nine consecutive 20-point contests. Guard Raymond Felton led Dallas with 15 points.
Cousins put up eight points and six rebounds in the second quarter, when the Kings blew open the game with a 20-2 run en route to a 63-46 halftime advantage.
“We got off to a decent start defensively, and then in the second quarter it went very bad,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our individual defense was very poor, and I know we could do a lot better.”
Cauley-Stein made eight of 11 shots from the field two days after putting up a career-high 26 points against the Phoenix Suns. The Kings won that game 116-94.
Rondo added to his Sacramento record assists total, finishing the contest with 806 this season. Sacramento plays nine more times. Rondo moved past Reggie Theus’ 1985-96 mark of 788 in the win over Phoenix.
“I’m not going to downplay it,” Rondo said. “It’s special.”
Darren Collison added 17 points, Seth Curry scored 14 in his second start in a row, and Ben McLemore returned from a 10-game absence to add 14. He recovered from a broken finger.
Each team had eight players score in double figures.
NOTES: Dallas PG Deron Williams missed consecutive games for the first time this season after returning to Dallas for tests on his aching abdomen. He also won’t play Monday night against Denver, according to coach Rick Carlisle. … Kings C DeMarcus Cousins told reporters that he will undergo platelet-rich therapy on his feet after the season in an effort to speed up his recovery from foot and ankle injuries he endured this season. Cousins has missed nine games this season with an assortment of injuries, as well as two to suspension. … Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki, who returned from a scheduled day off, scored at least 20 points in nine straight games after his previous meeting against the Kings. The 20-point scoring streak, which started after a 16-point effort at home against Sacramento on March 3, was his longest such run since the 2011 playoffs. … G Seth Curry made his second consecutive start for Sacramento. Coach George Karl has used 27 starting lineups in 73 games this season.