It was "winning" time, and Willie Cauley-Stein realizes he made a critical mistake in that moment.
The Kings have had problems defending the 3-point shot all season, entering Thursday's game against the Indiana Pacers allowing opponents to make 38.6 percent from 3-point range, worst in the NBA.
So the Kings' center was disappointed for how he defended Indiana All-Star Victor Oladipo's 3-pointer with 17.9 seconds to play, backing off and giving up a clean look at the rim.
"It hurts me because I should have been up, that should have been my stunt," Cauley-Stein said. "He should have never got that 3 off."
Oladipo gave the Pacers a 102-98 lead and Indiana would hold on for a 106-103 victory at Golden 1 Center, which had an attendance of 11,360. Fans were asked to arrive early, and police limited access to the plaza to ticket holders, after two of the past three home games were blocked by protests over the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark.
Cauley-Stein wants to be a marquee player for the Kings. It's a learning process that the third-year center is still trying to figure out on both ends of the floor.
Cauley-Stein finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He made 9 of 11 shots.
But only two of those points came after halftime and Cauley-Stein only attempted two shots in 12 minutes. Cauley-Stein didn't blame it on a lack of minutes or Indiana's defense on him.
He said it was more about learning how to stay aggressive.
"I feel like that's just me learning that role of being a dog," Cauley-Stein said. "And knowing when to look for other guys and knowing when you're open yourself instead of trying to force an assist instead when you've got the shot."
That also goes for his late lapse on defense.
"In a winning-time situation you've got to have a stop," Cauley-Stein said. "All bets have got to be off and you've got to play more up instead of more reserved."
Cauley-Stein credited his second-half slump to not looking for his shot enough.
"I was trying to get everybody else involved, that's about it," Cauley-Stein said. "Probably should have shot more, especially (before) sitting out. I think I sat out a little long, but before I came out in the third I should have came out aggressive again and really imposed my will, I should say. But you learn."
Cauley-Stein re-entered the game with 4:40 to play. His only shot attempt in the fourth was a dunk blocked by Oladipo.
The Kings have allowed Cauley-Stein to be more of a facilitator this season. Including Thursday, Cauley-Stein has led the Kings in assists nine times.
As he grows into that role, Cauley-Stein expects to become a better decision maker.
"And that's me learning that point forward role," he said. "Learning when to be aggressive, when to go get a bucket and when to get everybody else involved."
Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana (45-31) with 25 points. Oladipo scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter.
Bodgan Bogdanovic led the Kings (24-52) with 21 points. Buddy Hield had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists.