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DeMarcus Cousins was downright mean to the Knicks

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The Sacramento big man scored in a myriad of ways in an overtime win against the New York Knicks.

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings were the surprise darlings of the early NBA season. They started 5-1 and picked up big wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers. They were young, exciting, and had DeMarcus Cousins, one of the best big men in the league.

They simmered from their hot start over the next nine contests, but were still a respectable 9-6 heading into a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 28. Then Cousins fell ill. He missed 10 games with viral meningitis. Without the 23.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game from Cousins, the Kings went into a tailspin, going 2-8 in the span and firing head coach Michael Malone in the midst of it.

Cousins returned to the court Dec. 18, and he immediately had an impact. In his four games back, he's averaged 29.3 points, 11 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per -- the Kings have gone 2-2 in those four games, Cousins missed the Dec. 26 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Cousins' quick return to form was going about as well as one could ask. And then he went off against the New York Knicks.

Cousins had 39 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in an overtime victory. He shot 14-of-27 from the field and 10-of-11 from the line. Most importantly for the Kings, however, Cousins was unstoppable. Leading by three with just under a minute to play in overtime, Cousins got the ball in the corner and was immediately double-teamed.

Then this happened:

He split the double with one dribble, cradled the ball with his right hand while holding off a defender with his left and simultaneously took two monster steps to the hoop and dunked emphatically over four Knicks defenders. It put the Kings up by five and they never looked back, winning 135-129.

It was the meanest dunk of the night for Cousins, but he scored in a myriad of other ways. He's a big man with quick feet and the ability to make running jumpers or score from the post. He even hit a three-point field goal against the Knicks.

DeMarcus Cousins Shot Chart Knicks

Cousins is averaging 24.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game this season. His 28.66 PER is third in the league behind only Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Cousins and Davis are two big men who make graceful plays that seem more fit for a point guard.

That was on full display against the Knicks for Cousins. And his nasty dunk to clinch the game wasn't his only one:

Samuel Dalembert should have just gotten out of the way.

The Kings are currently 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West. With Cousins back, they have the ability to make a push, even if they are in coaching limbo and are considering trading parts. The next four games against the Nets, Celtics, Timberwolves and Pistons bodes well for a winning streak to keep them right in the mix.

Either way, Boogie Cousins being back on the court is good for the Kings and good for basketball.


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