DeMarcus Cousins was wary about stepping inside the Wells Fargo Center and it had nothing to do with moisture on the floor.
"This is always a game I'm afraid of because I know how they are. It bit us in the ass tonight," Cousins said.
Monday night's game will only add to those feelings for the Sacramento Kings All-Star.
The Sixers fell into a 14-point hole after the first quarter but were able to slice it to seven at halftime. They made their move in the third period when they shot 70.8 percent from the field to outscore the Kings, 42-30. Robert Covington found his touch during that frame as he scored 12 of his 23 points in the third to give the Sixers a five-point advantage (see 10 Observations).
"We sucked in the third quarter. We gave them life," Cousins said.
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"They're that type of team. You can't let the record fool you. These guys have been playing some great ball as of late. Even with that being said, they're just a team that never gives up. They're going to fight from start to finish. If they're down 30 or up 10, they're going to play the same way."
Although Joel Embiid was sidelined again with a left knee contusion, the Sixers were able to storm back for the victory on the second night of a back-to-back set to give them 10 for the month of January.
According to Cousins, that has a lot to do with the character of the players the Sixers have from top to bottom on the roster.
"They're just a young, scrappy team," he said. "They're going to play hard whether they're down 30 or up 30. I respect those guys in that locker room."
The Kings' demise wasn't without some self-inflicted wounds. After all, they committed 20 turnovers and Cousins was the main culprit with eight of his own.
"The thing about our turnovers, I think a lot of the time is we're just trying to make the right play," Cousins said. "You can't have those type of turnovers. It's just one of those nights."
It was also one of those nights for Cousins to have an issue with the officials.
With the Kings trailing by three and exactly one minute remaining on the clock, Cousins threw the ball away to Covington. Covington proceeded to give the ball right back to Sacramento on an errant pass, but Cousins was called for a questionable foul on Gerald Henderson.
The call gave the Sixers free throws because they were in the bonus and sent Cousins to the bench with his sixth and final foul of the night.
While the combustible Cousins fired off at the officials on the court and vented some more after the buzzer, he took a different approach when asked about fouling out for the fourth time this season.
"I think the refs did an incredible job tonight. Unbelievable job from the referees, man," a sarcastic Cousins said. "They just don't get enough credit for how hard they work. The way they control these games, man, they're just doing an incredible job, man. I applaud these guys. Great job, guys."