MIAMI It's hard for Isaiah Thomas to enjoy nights like Tuesday.
For the second game in a row, the Kings rookie guard set a season high in scoring. He finished with 24 points, highlighted by a third quarter in which he tied the team record for three-pointers in a quarter with five and scored 20 points.
But the Kings lost to the Miami Heat 120-108 at AmericanAirlines Arena. It was Sacramento's sixth straight defeat, its longest skid of the season.
The Kings' ability to stay close to Miami with All-Stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for most of the night didn't console Thomas.
"It's pointless," Thomas said. "You're doing good, but you're not getting over the hump. Somehow, some way we've got to get over this hump. We're in games for long periods of time, and then with the good teams, they go on a 10-0 run, and that hurts us. We've got to figure something out and try to stop that."
The last King with 20 or more points in a quarter was Kevin Martin, who scored 24 in the fourth quarter Feb. 23, 2009, against New Orleans.
Thomas' 20-point outburst was the biggest by a Heat opponent in a quarter this season and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the biggest by a Kings rookie in a quarter since at least the 2000-01 season.
His five three-pointers in a quarter matched Jason Williams' mark. Williams also was a rookie when he accomplished the feat April 23, 1999, against Minnesota.
Thomas' 60 points in his first three starts also are the third-most by a Kings rookie since at least the 1971-72 season, trailing Billy McKinney (63 in December 1978) and John Mengelt (61 in December 1971).
"The young man (Thomas) is playing great," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "This is the third game he has started, and we have over 20 assists per game. So the ball is moving around, and it's affecting all of our play. That is a positive."
Thomas is the second rookie this season with 20 or more points in a quarter. Cleveland's Kyrie Irving scored 21 in the fourth quarter Jan. 27 against New Jersey.
But Thomas wasn't invited to play in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge featuring rookies and second-year players during All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla. That snub doesn't sit well with Thomas' teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, who is playing in the game.
Last week, the league added second-year guard Jeremy Lin of New York and rookie guard Norris Cole of Miami to the game. Cole had 12 points and four assists Tuesday.
"If they can get 'Linsanity' into the game, why can't they get Isaiah in it?" Cousins said.
The Kings took a 17-9 lead and led 47-46 with 3:25 left in the second quarter. The Heat closed the half on an 11-6 run to lead 57-53 and never trailed again. Sacramento pulled within two during the third quarter.
The Kings (10-22) committed 16 turnovers, which led to 25 points for the Heat, which won its seventh in a row.
"We had to play a perfect game to win a game against this team, and we were close to a perfect game except for moments," Smart said. "When you give up 25 points off of turnovers, you're not going to beat many teams."
Especially Miami (26-7), which thrives on turnovers.
"They don't have the best defense I wouldn't say it's the best defense I've ever played against," Tyreke Evans said. "But they're athletic, and they can block shots, and that's what makes their defense so good."