- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Joel Embiid can rest that achy knee. The woeful-turned-wonderful Philadelphia 76ers are winning without him.

Robert Covington had 23 points and 10 rebounds to rally the 76ers to their latest surprising win, 122-119 over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

The Sixers overcame 46 points from DeMarcus Cousins and won again without Embiid, who sat out with a left knee contusion. He also will not travel with the Sixers for road games later this week against Dallas and San Antonio.

“I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t rock our boat a little bit,” coach Brett Brown said. “But it is part of just the fluid side of the NBA, especially the fluid side of our still young program.”

This game was postponed Nov. 30 by the NBA because of condensation on the court at the Wells Fargo Center.

The delay was worth the wait for Philly.

Down 16 in the first half, the Sixers scored 42 points in the third quarter and held on when Arron Afflalo missed a tying 3-point attempt at the horn.

“I think that the foundation is starting to prove dividends,” Brown said. “This is who we are. This is what we want our culture and our program to look like.”

Cousins shifted into takeover mode in the fourth. His 16th point of the quarter came on a dunk that pulled the Kings to 114-113. Cousins, though, had a bounce pass intercepted and he fouled Gerald Henderson as he tried to pass the ball upcourt. Henderson sank both free throws that made it 118-113 and helped stop a two-game losing streak.

The Sixers went 10-5 in January ; they were 10-72 in 2015-16.

“Everybody’s excited about it, everybody’s feeling good about themselves, as we should,” said Jahlil Okafor, who scored 15 points in place of Embiid.

The Sixers let Houston’s James Harden score 51 points on Friday night and Cousins joined him with another monster game in Philly. Cousins made his first five shots and scored 18 points in the first quarter. Led by Cousins, the Kings shot 61 percent in the period and led by 16 points.

“We should have been able to close this game out on our own,” Cousins said.

With a small crowd, Embiid out, and playing the back end of consecutive games, the Sixers of the last three seasons might have lost by 30.

With or without Embiid, these are not the same old Sixers.

They won last week at Milwaukee with Embiid at home and rallied against a Kings team fighting for a Western Conference playoff berth. The Sixers went wild in the third and Covington capped a 15-3 run with a 3 that gave the Sixers an 87-81 lead.

They made 17 of 24 shots to stun Sacramento and get fans chanting “Trust the Process!”

The Kings are wobbling with seven losses in 10 games as they chase the eighth seed.

“It just puts a lot more pressure on you to win the games people don’t expect you to win,” Kings forward Anthony Tolliver said.

TIP-INS

Kings: Cousins scored 30 against the Sixers in December. He had 30 through three quarters Monday night on 8-of-12 shooting and had grabbed 12 rebounds. Cousins made 11 of 16 shots from the floor (4 of 6 3s).

76ers: The Sixers did not determine Embiid’s status for Saturday’s game at Miami. … They signed G Chasson Randle to a three-year contract. Randle had signed two, 10-day contracts. He is Stanford’s career leading scorer.

LIGHTS OUT

The lights went out for a few minutes at the Wells Fargo Center, hitting both locker rooms. Covington cracked, “It’s not meant for us to play Sacramento.”

Cousins tweeted , “Power just went out in the arena. This can’t be real life!”

FEELING FOUL

Cousins fouled out and a key offensive foul against him led to Covington hitting a 3 for 108-99 Sixers’ lead. Cousins pulled his hoodie over his head and gave low-key answers until he was asked about the officiating. He looked up with a big smile and sarcastically acted thrilled about the calls.

He said: “I think the refs did an incredible job tonight. Unbelievable job from the referees, man. They just don’t get enough credit for how hard they worked. The way they control these games, man, they just do an incredible job man.”

Cousins stopped to clap, and added, “I applaud these guys. Great job, guys.”

UP NEXT

Kings: End an eight-game road trip Tuesday at Houston. The Rockets won by 34 in December.

76ers: Embiid will stay home when they hit the road to play Dallas on Wednesday and the Spurs on Thursday.

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