Ben Margot Associated Press The Kings' Tyreke Evans (13) goes up for a shot between the Warriors' Harrison Barnes, left, and Andrew Bogut. Evans finished with only nine points.

Kings falter late in loss to Warriors

Published: Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013 - 5:47 pm

OAKLAND – John Salmons watched the replay repeatedly on a laptop near his locker.

He was caught between diving toward Warriors center Andrew Bogut and covering guard Klay Thompson.

Stuck between both, forward David Lee made the right pass to Thompson, who hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 7.5 seconds left, and the Warriors went on to beat the Kings 87-83 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

On a night the Kings made more defensive plays than they had in a while, they needed one more stop or a scoring play late. They didn't get either.

With the Kings trailing 85-83 after Thompson's three, Tyreke Evans missed a shot over Thompson on a drive with 1.9 seconds to play.

Salmons continued to rewind Thompson's three as the locker room cleared after the Kings' ninth loss in 11 games.

"I was guarding Klay," Salmons said. "I thought I saw Bogut open under the basket and thought they were going to pass it to him. And as soon as I ran in to Bogut, they threw it straight to Klay. I tried to contest. He hit a big shot."

Thompson was scoreless in the fourth quarter until that shot and finished with a game-high 20 points.

"It was a drag screen for Steph (Curry)," Thompson said. "Lee was doing the pindown for me, he played the part well and he popped, then he found me right in the shooting pocket. All I had to do was catch and shoot."

It was another disappointing ending for the Kings (21-42) after their bench led rallies in the second and fourth quarters.

The Warriors (35-27) closed the first quarter on a 22-11 run to lead 28-21, and it appeared the Kings were on pace to allow more than 100 points again. They had allowed an average of 115.3 points in their previous 12 games.

But the Kings found some defensive moxie in the second quarter, holding the Warriors to 13 points on 5-for-20 shooting. Reserves Toney Douglas, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes and Marcus Thornton led the effort for the most part.

Salmons was the only starter who played the entire second quarter, while DeMarcus Cousins did not play at all in the quarter.

It's been a rough two-game stretch for Cousins offensively. After a season-worst 1-for-12 shooting night in Tuesday's loss to Denver, Cousins was 2 for 10 Wednesday and had five points. Cousins played just 1:45 of the fourth quarter Tuesday before sitting out the rest of the game.

Wednesday, the Kings played some of their best ball without Cousins on the floor as Jason Thompson, Hayes and Patterson assumed bigger roles.

Cousins also didn't play in the fourth quarter Wednesday after the Kings overcame a good third quarter by the Warriors. The Kings rallied and went ahead 83-82 on Patterson's three-pointer with 1:25 left.

Asked if he was surprised he didn't play in the fourth, Cousins said, "You can expect anything."

Cousins played only 20 minutes. The Kings' only starter who played less was Isaiah Thomas with 19 minutes, as Douglas finished the game.

"I went with the group that kept us in the game," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "And we were a play away from winning the basketball game."

Jason Thompson led the Kings with 17 points and eight rebounds, Patterson had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Douglas scored 10 points.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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