Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Jimmer Fredette celebrates a three-point basket in the Kings' victory over the Magic on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

Bench's strong play in 4th secures victory

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Jimmer Fredette or Isaiah Thomas is the debate over who should be the Kings' backup point guard.

And Kings coach Keith Smart has consistently refused to choose one over the other.

The second-year guards have alternated who comes off the bench first since Aaron Brooks took over as the starter in the team's 10th game.

It's a situation neither player finds ideal. But with the Kings down starter Tyreke Evans, Smart would turn to Thomas and Fredette to play important minutes.

And like they'd alternated playing time, Thomas and Fredette took turns making plays to help the Kings overcome a woeful third quarter and win 91-82 Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

It was the Kings' second consecutive win before leaving on a four-game trip that begins tonight in Portland.

Sacramento (6-12) is 0-6 on the road this season.

Thomas scored 17 points with four assists. Fredette scored 15 points to lead the Kings' second unit that was the key after Sacramento had blown a 14-point lead.

"It was a great dynamic," Fredette said. "I think it's two guys that can shoot the ball but also make plays for other people and get into the lane and penetrate."

The Kings needed plenty of shooting and playmaking as their double-digit lead became a deficit in the third quarter.

The Kings led 48-34 with 11:50 to play in the third quarter before being outscored 25-6 to allow Orlando to take a 59-54 lead with 4:30 left in the quarter.

The Magic would outscore the Kings 30-16 in the third.

To remedy that, Thomas played the final 17:31 of the game. Fredette played the final 15:36.

Rookie power forward Thomas Robinson also played the entire fourth quarter.

Thomas and Fredette each scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. Robinson grabbed four rebounds and had three assists and a steal in the fourth.

Thomas and Fredette played a lot together last season, but this season it usually has been one or the other.

Going against a Magic (7-12) team that didn't exploit the size mismatch allowed the Fredette-Thomas pairing to succeed.

"We just feed off each other," Thomas said. "I tell him, 'When I pass it to you, shoot it.' He was aggressive, I was aggressive, and we fed off each other."

If Evans had been healthy, the minutes might not have been available for both.

He was out for the third time in four games because of his left knee. He bruised it when he bumped knees with Minnesota's Andrei Kirilenko on Nov. 27.

Evans missed the next two games, but returned to score 23 points in the Kings' win over Toronto on Wednesday.

Evans said an MRI on Friday was negative and that his knee was just swollen.

He warmed up before the game but said he didn't feel he had the lift he needed to compete.

"It was real frustrating. At the last minute I knew I couldn't push off, and I just came back here and told (director of sports medicine) Pete (Youngman) that I was going to sit this one out and try to go (tonight)," he said.

The Kings made up for not having Evans by playing small. They finished the third quarter going with Thomas (5-9), Fredette (6-2) and Marcus Thornton (6-4).

Or as Kings coach Keith Smart said: "Our small ball came to life."

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