Ben Margot / Associated Press

The Kings' DeMarcus Cousins scores over the Warriors' Carl Landry. Cousins had 14 points and six rebounds but sat out the fourth quarter as coach Keith Smart used a defensive lineup.

Thomas takes over as Kings beat Warriors

Published: Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

OAKLAND – Isaiah Thomas is the Kings' starting point guard, so he is responsible for establishing himself on offense as well as his teammates.

And every time the Warriors were poised to make a run Wednesday night, Thomas knew who to call on to prevent a comeback – himself.

Kings coach Keith Smart might have put it best.

"Sometimes you create your own green light," Smart said.

Thomas did that with a game-high 31 points and seven assists as the Kings beat the Warriors 105-98 at Oracle Arena.

The Kings (26-46) ended a two-game losing streak and a four-game road skid.

In the third quarter, Thomas made five three-pointers and scored 17 points as the Kings opened a double-digit lead. He finished with a career-high seven three-pointers in 12 attempts.

"(Thomas) got himself going as well as the team," Smart said. "And when players can create that light to make it green for them, coaches all they care about is the end result. And I think that's what he did."

Smart rested Thomas for part of the fourth quarter after feeling he'd made some mistakes because he was fatigued. Thomas played 7:37 in the final period, scoring eight of the Kings' 28 points in the quarter.

The Kings entered Wednesday's game with a 6-30 road record, tied for fewest road wins in the NBA. They had only one road win against a Western Conference team and had yet to beat a team with a winning record on the road.

By beating the Warriors (41-32), the Kings not only beat a winning team on the road, they took the season series 3-1.

With another road game tonight against Phoenix, Smart was happy to see the Kings get a victory away from Sleep Train Arena.

"It makes no difference where you are in the season," Smart said. "On the road, a win is positive. It makes no difference if it's a team in the lower standings or higher standings. It's a road win. Winning on the road in the NBA is very difficult."

Smart opted for a defensive group to finish the game in the frontcourt against the Warriors' combination of All-Star power forward David Lee and center Andrew Bogut. Patrick Patterson played the entire fourth quarter, and Chuck Hayes was on the floor for all but one second of the fourth.

Despite allowing a season-high 68 points in the paint, the Kings won by harassing Stephen Curry into a 5-for-18 shooting night. He had 17 points and 12 assists.

"We were just active," Hayes said. "We were talking; we had great communication. Everybody was in sync."

That meant no playing time in the fourth for leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins or Jason Thompson. Cousins had 14 points and six rebounds, while Thompson finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

"It definitely was defensive," Smart said of the change. "I do a defensive grade sheet, and I look at what the matchup down the stretch can be. Some guys will get upset with that, but we were in a plus, and we didn't really need a lot of offense because Isaiah and our perimeter guys were creating it for us.

"We needed great defensive stops. I thought what Patrick and Chuck provided on this given night is what we needed to win the game."

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

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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