Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins grabs Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat as during a scramble for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards defeated the Kings 93-84. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nene scored 18 points and led a strong defensive effort to help the Washington Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 93-84 on Sunday night.
Bradley Beal scored 16 points, hitting two 3-pointers in the final 6 minutes. Marcin Gortat added 17 points and eight rebounds as Washington halted a two-game skid and reached the .500 mark.
Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points and had eight assists. But DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay combined to hit 5 of 27 shots, with Cousins scoring 14 points and Gay finishing with five.
The Kings outrebounded the Wizards 49-38, but made only 35.4 percent of their field goal tries and went 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
Rookie Ben McLemore scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, helping the Kings reduce a 17-point deficit to four. But Beal answered with 3-pointers from the same spot in the left corner to steady the Wizards.
Washington took command in the first half with a lift from its reserves. After Martell Webster hit a 3-pointer, Kevin Seraphin made hook shots to close and open the quarters and added a jumper. When Garrett Temple retrieved a loose ball and scored a transition three-point-play, the Wizards had a 39-26 lead.
Washington's lead swelled to 17 points in the third quarter, but Sacramento went on a 14-2 run that bridged the halves, the surge touched off by Quincy Acy, who scored on a vicious put-back slam.
NOTES: Kentucky coach John Calipari attended the game, visiting with former Wildcats Wall and Cousins. ... With a 22.9 scoring average entering Sunday, Cousins ranks ninth in the NBA and is the only player in the top 15 who was not selected to play in the All-Star game. ... Rudy Gay (illness) and Marcus Thornton (hip) returned to the starting lineup after missing Friday's loss at Boston.Associated Press