OKLAHOMA CITY -- Isaiah Thomas drew praise from Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks before the game and wowed fans during it with a career-high 38 points Sunday.
But Thomas still left Chesapeake Energy Arena with a hollow feeling because the numbers that matter most were in the Thunder’s favor.
The Kings lost for the third time in four games, falling to Oklahoma City 108-93.
“It’s about winning,” Thomas said. “At the end of the day, if you don’t win, nothing else matters. It’s nice I got a career high, but it doesn’t mean anything if you lose.”
The Kings are 1-3 on their six-game trip and have failed to score 100 points in each loss.
Thomas was hot, but the Kings committed 21 turnovers that led to 34 points and shot 42.9 percent. They also gave up 20 second-chance points.
The Kings are at their best when Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay all play well. That wasn’t the case against the Thunder.
Gay had one of his worst games as a King, with six points and four assists before picking up two technical fouls and being ejected with 10:01 to play.
Cousins had 16 points and 14 rebounds but made only 6 of 17 shots and had a game-high seven turnovers.
“I feel like I’ve got to be tougher with the ball,” Cousins said. “A lot of those turnovers I had was just me getting bumped and losing the ball.”
The Kings were in the game early thanks to Thomas’ hot start (27 points in the first half) and trailed 57-52 at halftime.
But Sacramento coach Michael Malone sensed his team already had taken itself out of the game.
“The weird thing with our team is we’re down five at halftime and we’re not playing great,” Malone said. “Threw the ball all over the place, didn’t rebound, and the locker room felt like we were down by 20. That’s something about our team that I have yet to figure out.”
Still, the Kings (14-25) tied the score 60-60 with 9:41 left in the third before giving up 10 unanswered points as part of a 29-14 run by Oklahoma City (31-10) to close the quarter.
Malone lamented that half of Oklahoma City’s 108 points resulted from turnovers and second-chance points.
“That has nothing to do with game plans or coverages,” Malone said. “We just have to do a better job of valuing the basketball, setting screens, getting guys open, passing on time, passing on target.”
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 30 points and nine assists. It was Durant’s seventh consecutive game with at least 30 points. Serge Ibaka added 20 points.
Cousins’ double double was his 14th in a row, a Sacramento record. LaSalle Thompson had 13 consecutive double doubles during the 1985-86 season.
Thomas made four 3-pointers to extend his streak to 33 games with at least one, the fourth-longest such streak in team history. Mitch Richmond holds the record at 39 games.
Forward Carl Landry debuted in his return to the Kings. He had been out since tearing his left hip flexor during training camp in October.
Malone told Landry after Sunday morning’s shootaround to dress for the game. Landry checked in with 8:51 to play and had six points and four rebounds.
“(Malone) just didn’t want to throw me into the fire with 25, 30 minutes a game,” Landry said.
It was Landry’s first action since playing for Golden State as the Warriors lost to San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals last season Malone was an assistant coach for Golden State at the time.
Landry played for the Kings for parts of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons before being traded to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton.
Note – The NBA fined Malone $25,000 for verbal abuse of a game official and not proceeding directly to his locker room after Friday’s game.
Malone confronted official Marc Davis on the court after the Kings’ 91-90 loss at Memphis. Malone called Davis a coward for
ruling a jump ball with 1.9 seconds to play instead of a foul on Tayshaun Prince after the Memphis forward made contact with Gay.
The Kings were unable to recover the tip and take a game-winning shot.
If a foul had been called, Gay would have had two free throws.
When asked if he had expected the fine, Malone paused before saying, “No.”
Malone said he will appeal the fine.
VIDEO: Kings vs. Thunder Highlights