RANDALL BENTON / rbenton@sacbee.com

The Kings' Isaiah Thomas tries to drive around the Lakers' Dwight Howard. Thomas had 10 points and five assists.

Calls don't go Kings' way late in loss to Lakers

Published: Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

The final 24.9 seconds of Saturday night's game were quite eventful for DeMarcus Cousins.

First, with the Kings down 101-98, he absorbed a shot below the belt on an inbound play.

Then he absorbed contact from Dwight Howard on a shot attempt from 22 feet. No foul was called, and Howard was credited with a blocked shot.

John Salmons grabbed the rebound, and the ball ended up with Cousins, who launched a 26-foot three-pointer that came up short with 13.9 seconds to go.

In the end, the Kings left the floor frustrated by how the whistles went in a 103-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in front of an announced sellout crowd of 17,317 at Sleep Train Arena. Their last sellout was the season opener.

More than one King said it was obvious Cousins had been fouled.

"I knew he would jump," Cousins said. "So I tried to get him in the air and on my back. It's unfortunate."

Cousins admitted he could have made a better choice with the second shot.

"I kind of rushed, and I just ended up taking it," said Cousins, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds. "It was a bad choice, and I'm still comfortable with the shot."

Kings coach Keith Smart said the play was designed to go to Marcus Thornton, but the Lakers denied him the ball.

"Then you're stuck with a play," Smart said. "Some calls looked different to me. I'll have to look at the film to see where the truth really was."

There also was confusion as to why starting point guard Isaiah Thomas played just 25 seconds in the fourth quarter and starting power forward Jason Thompson didn't play at all. Thompson was having a good game (15 points), and Thomas had 10 points and five assists.

In the backcourt, Smart opted to use Tyreke Evans (21 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Thornton (18 points, seven rebounds).

Smart played Patrick Patterson at power forward in the fourth even though he missed all four of his shots. Patterson was in the game because of his pick-and-roll defense, Smart said. The coach added he "took a chance" Patterson would help the Kings get in position to win.

"Some nights, the coach will make a decision that works, and some nights, they make one that doesn't," Smart said.

Thompson has been benched in fourth quarters before and been diplomatic. But considering he had made seven of his 10 shots, he didn't know why he sat the entire fourth.

"I guess it's about time I said something," Thompson said. "I don't know why I didn't."

Thompson joked he might use social media for suggestions on how to get Smart's attention.

"At times I try to do that, but I'm not a captain or anything," Thompson said. "I'm not going to just get off the bench and start walking toward the scorer's table, either. At the end of the day, I'm a professional."

The Kings (27-47) had six players score in double figures, led by Evans.

The Lakers (38-36) won despite having Steve Nash for just the first 1:48 of the game. He strained his right hamstring.

Howard had 24 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Lakers. Bryant, who sat out only 23 seconds of the game, had 19 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds but shot just 5 of 18.

Bryant and Pau Gasol (12 points, 10 assists) combined for more assists than the Kings (19). The Lakers also matched their season low with seven turnovers.

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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