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  • Steve Yeater Associated Press Pacers forward David West (21) goes to the rim uncontested as he lays in two of his season-high 31 points Friday against Jason Thompson (34) and the Kings. West also had 11 rebounds.

  • Steve Yeater Associated Press Indiana forward Paul George looks for an open teammate around the outstretched arms of the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins on Friday.

Thornton misses late shot; Kings lose to Pacers

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 - 12:27 am

Marcus Thornton said the play developed just as coaches had drawn it up.

The shot just didn't go in.

Thornton's three-point attempt from 27 feet over 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert to tie the score with 4.9 seconds to play was off. And with that, the Kings had to ask themselves what could have been.

The Kings lost their second consecutive game, 97-92 to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings (4-11) have lost seven of nine and have the worst record in the Western Conference.

Thornton came open off a screen and shot over the leaping Hibbert and his giant wing span.

"It felt good going out of my hand," Thornton said. "I just missed the shot. I wish I had it back."

Kings coach Keith Smart had no problem with Thornton's deep try.

"He had a good look," Smart said. "He made two against that team at their place, and then he made a big one in Utah. The guy's made big shots."

Thornton's other option was to pass to Jimmer Fredette, who was having a good game and asking for the ball on the wing. But Thornton said he didn't see Fredette.

"If I (had), I would have passed it," Thornton said. "He was shooting the ball great tonight, so if I (had seen him), I would have passed it."

Fredette was the first point guard off the bench Friday and helped spark the Kings after a lackluster start.

Tyreke Evans did not dress for the game with a bruised left knee, and he likely won't play tonight on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Evans said he hurt his knee in Tuesday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Evans had been playing his best basketball of the season, averaging 21 points on 54.8 percent shooting in his previous five games.

Thornton started for Evans.

The Kings fell behind 18-7, but the bench rallied to bring them within three by the end of the first quarter. Fredette scored six of his 12 points in the first quarter as he and Francisco Garcia (12 points) led a solid bench effort.

Garcia hadn't played since a Nov. 11 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last time Garcia scored in double figures was April 11, 2011, when he had 11 points against Oklahoma City. But the Kings' starters didn't produce enough and couldn't stop David West (31 points, 11 rebounds) or George Hill (25 points, eight assists).

Sacramento's staring five shot 17 of 43 (39.5 percent), while the reserves shot 15 of 32 (46.9 percent).

Several misses came from center DeMarcus Cousins, who shot 5 of 17 on his way to 19 points and 16 rebounds.

Cousins also struggled against Hibbert in the Kings' loss at Indiana. In two games against the Pacers (8-8), Cousins has shot 14 of 44 (31.8 percent).

Smart said Cousins needed to take the open jump shots the Pacers were daring him to take rather than drive into the lane with bad results.

"You've got to take those regardless of how you're shooting," Smart said. "A lot of his misses came on just trying to get too close the basket, going into the traffic."

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Read more articles by Jason Jones



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