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Gay hurt as short-handed Kings fail to seal the deal again

DeMarcus Cousins chases the ball during the first quarter. He had 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists but fouled out late in regulation.
DeMarcus Cousins chases the ball during the first quarter. He had 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists but fouled out late in regulation. jvillegas@sacbee.com

The simple thing to do would be to point to 21.5 seconds left in regulation to find out why the Kings lost to the Dallas Mavericks.

That was when DeMarcus Cousins fouled out. He was called for an offensive foul against Tyson Chandler, who drew official Lauren Holtkamp’s whistle by flailing his arms backward as Cousins went to establish post position.

The score was 99-99 at that point, and the Kings eventually fell 108-104 in overtime Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings played overtime without Cousins and Rudy Gay, who departed with 1:44 left in the first quarter because of a left knee strain. Gay had an MRI and was diagnosed with a left knee lateral joint capsule sprain. His status is day-to-day.

Despite not having Gay for most of the game, the Kings led 95-85 with 4:11 to play in regulation. The Mavericks, however, finished regulation with a 14-4 run.

Losing Cousins was big, but in the Kings’ view, it shouldn’t have come down to needing the center in an overtime game.

“There were a lot of mistakes made before anything happened,” Cousins said. “The game could have been a lot different. I had nine turnovers. That could have changed the game a whole lot more if I cut that in half.”

Cousins scored a game-high 32 points. He also had 16 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a block. But the nine turnovers were also a game high.

As for his sixth foul, Cousins took the approach that would not get him fined by the NBA for criticizing an official, even if the look on his face said he disagreed with the call.

“They made the right call,” Cousins said. “It happens.”

What also happened again was the Kings blowing a double-digit lead to the Mavericks. The Kings squandered a 24-point lead at Dallas on Nov. 11.

The Kings contributed to Dallas staying in the game with 20 turnovers that led to 27 Mavericks points.

The Kings (16-22) left the court feeling they’d blown a chance to knock off a quality team like Dallas (27-12).

“Especially when you know you had the game,” guard Darren Collison said. “Some unfortunate things happened … but they hit some tough shots down the stretch.”

One of the tougher shots was by Rajon Rondo, who gave Dallas a 104-102 lead with 1:14 to play in overtime with a contested three-pointer over Collison.

The Kings missed a chance to tie with 51.2 seconds left in overtime when Jason Thompson missed 1 of 2 free throws. Then with 19.9 seconds to play and trailing 104-103, the Kings could have fouled Monta Ellis to extend the game by forcing Dallas to shoot free throws.

Instead Ellis was allowed to dribble for 11.2 seconds as Ray McCallum looked at coach Tyrone Corbin, asking if he should foul.

Dallas initially had the ball with 25.9 seconds to go after recovering an offensive rebound, and the Kings had a foul to give before fouling with 19.9 seconds left.

“We probably should have just fouled them quicker,” Corbin said.

Corbin, however, was pleased with how the Kings played without their top two scorers to close the game.

Collison finished with 18 points. Carl Landry had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Derrick Williams filled in for Gay and had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Ben McLemore left in overtime after being hit in the left eye by Ellis. Corbin said McLemore had blurry vision and would be re-evaluated today.

Ellis led Dallas with 28 points and 10 assists. Rondo had 21 points and seven assists. Chandler had 16 points and 17 rebounds.

Dallas shot just 43 percent, including 6 of 24 on three-pointers, but committed only 10 turnovers. The Kings shot 44.2 percent and missed 17 of 18 three-point attempts.

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