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Kings’ offense stalls late as Knicks beat Sacramento again this week

The Sacramento Kings’ Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins, center, argue ca all in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 7, 2016.
The Sacramento Kings’ Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins, center, argue ca all in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 7, 2016. The Associated Press

The Kings have frustrating stretches where shots don’t fall, and it can be too much to overcome.

Such was the case Friday night when the Kings managed three points over the final 2:11 of a 103-100 loss to the New York Knicks at Golden 1 Center. The Knicks swept the season series, as they also beat the Kings at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Kings have dropped four their last five games with late-game execution a culprit.

Even though the Kings held the Knicks without a field goal for the final 2:49, they were stopped by their own offensive woes, missing six of their final seven shots.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “Nobody’s trying to miss. We executed and got what we wanted.”

What they wanted were opportunities such as DeMarcus Cousins’ layup with 21.9 seconds to play and the Kings down 99-98. Cousins has made similar shots plenty of times, but Friday it wouldn’t fall.

“I make that layup with my eyes closed,” Cousins said. “I don’t know what happened on that one but the basketball gods weren’t rolling with me on that one.”

Cousins’ layup with 15.6 seconds left pulled the Kings within 101-100 before Carmelo Anthony made two free throws a second later.

A 52-foot shot by Cousins that would have tied it nearly went in at the buzzer after Anthony missed two free throws with 2.6 seconds to play.

“We gave up eight points at the end of the first, second and third quarter on last possession plays,” Joerger said. “In a close game, those things add up.”

The Kings gave up a layup to Mindaugas Kuzminskas at the end of the first, fouled Anthony on a 3-pointer before halftime and surrendered a 3 to Lance Thomas right before the end of the third.

“We competed throughout the whole night,” Cousins said. “It’s just small mistakes. we’ve got to correct those or we’re going to continue to lose close games.”

The Kings held New York to 42.9 percent shooting. But they were outrebounded 54-39.

The Kings converted 17 turnovers by the Knicks into 25 points, but suffered from poor shooting at 40.2 percent.

“We just didn’t make a lot of shots,” Joerger said. “Especially from the perimeter (7 of 28 on 3s), we did not gain a lot of shots from the perimeter so it may jam up the paint on us.”

Anthony led the Knicks (13-10) with 33 points. Kristaps Porzingis had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Cousins led the Kings (8-14) with 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Cousins was still upbeat about the Kings’ prospects heading into Friday’s game at Utah and beyond. He said the Kings are well prepared every night and they just need to tighten up the details.

“I’m good; I think we’re in a good place,” Cousins said. “We’ve just got to continue to grow, keep our heads up, stay positive. I think we’ll be fine. I hate say it, but it’s a learning curve.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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