OKLAHOMA CITY The Kings looked good for three quarters.
Then came the fourth quarter, and five Oklahoma City reserves took over.
The Kings lost to the Thunder 118-110 Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, controlling the action for three quarters against Oklahoma City's regulars before succumbing to the backups.
Even though Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant already had 32 points, the Kings led 86-82 after three quarters.
With the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs clinched, Oklahoma City's key players sat out the fourth quarter and watched the reserves rally for a win.
"We got selfish, trying to do it by ourselves, and stopped playing team ball," DeMarcus Cousins said. "And that's basically what it is."
Derek Fisher, Daequan Cook, Royal Ivey, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich combined to shoot 57.9 percent in the fourth, when Cook scored all 19 of his points. The Kings also fouled three-point shooters three times in the period.
"Cook really started cooking from three. They were getting fouled on three-point shots and things like that," Jason Thompson said. "It didn't go our way, but those are the lapses we can't have going into the future."
The Kings started with one of their best quarters of the season. They shot 81.1 percent in the first, their season high for a quarter, and led 40-35.
Sacramento moved ahead by 13 in the second quarter and led by double digits in the third before the fateful fourth.
"We broke down," Kings coach Keith Smart said of the fourth quarter. "We made some mistakes turnover-wise on offense and some mistakes where we didn't do the right thing. Their reserves are pretty much NBA guys. Our guys are still growing to that position to where they can come in and close out a game on the road."
Smart said he "loved" the Kings' effort but said small stretches of the fourth quarter were costly.
Cook scored Oklahoma City's first 11 points of the fourth in a 2:29 span to give the Thunder a 93-90 lead.
"That's been our Achilles' heel all year," Smart said. "How we manage a game in three- to 2 1/2-minute segments without making mistakes, without taking a forced shot (or) 'If I haven't had a shot, it's my turn.' But that's what young players do, and we'll grow out of that."
Forced shots and poor ball movement late in games has been a recurring theme for the Kings (21-44). That wasn't a problem for the Thunder (48-16).
"They did it with their bench, so that shows what kind of team they are," Tyreke Evans said. "We've just got to do a better job with it."
Cousins led the Kings with 32 points. He played after having his 13th technical foul of the season rescinded. Had the technical stood, he would have been suspended for Tuesday's game.
Thompson (22 points) and Travis Outlaw (20 points) had season highs. Outlaw matched his career high with four steals.
Evans reiterated the Kings can fix their problems by emulating the Thunder.
"I think it's really just ball movement," Evans said. "We get in the habit of trying to go one-on-one a lot. I think Oklahoma City did a good job at the end of executing. Pass, pass, cut and go and running the offense. I think we've got to get in that state of mind right there."