SACRAMENTO -- The flat and the furious. The Sacramento Kings came out of the gate with a major lack of energy and the Atlanta Hawks punished them early. Trailing by as many as 22 on their home floor, the Kings rallied late to make it a game and the crowd carried them to a stunning 108-107 come from behind win.
Ben McLemore was a huge bright spot for the Kings. The fourth-year guard knocked down 6-for-10 from long range on his way to a season-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Since rejoining the rotation six games ago, McLemore has looked confident and ready to contribute.
The Kings came in short-handed at the point guard spot, leaving Darren Collison to shoulder most of the load. Collison aggressively attacked the Hawks guards, scoring 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting in 44 minutes of action. His game winner nearly blew the roof off of Golden 1 Center.
DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t buy a bucket for most of the night, but he still nearly dropped in a triple-double. Cousins shot 6-for-17 from the field for 22 points and added 11 rebounds and seven assists in the loss. He also turned the ball over nine times, but his team picked up a huge win.
Anthony Tolliver knocked down 5-of-7 from distance for 15 points and Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in nine points and four rebounds.
With all eyes focused on others, Tim Hardaway Jr. got hot. The 24-year-old wing scored 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including three makes from deep.
All-Star forward Paul Millsap torchered the Kings from start to finish. The veteran big dropped in 25 points and grabbed six rebounds for the playoff-bound Hawks.
Point guard Dennis Schroder added 20 points and six assists, while big man Dwight Howard fished the night with six points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.
McLemore is like a new man. With injuries piling up, the high-flying shooting guard has responded to the challenge.
Cousins gave the Kings a 106-105 lead with 20.8 seconds remaining, but Millsap answered on the other end to put the Hawks back up with 7.9 remaining. Collison attacked the rim to give Sacramento a lead with 3.5 seconds and the Kings got the stop to win it.
Ty Lawson missed Friday’s game with a strained left adductor muscle. Garrett Temple is out until after the All-Star break with a torn left hamstring. Omri Casspi missed his 14th straight contest with a right plantaris tendon strain. Rudy Gay is out for the season with a torn left Achilles.
The Kings return to Golden 1 Center Sunday to host the New Orleans Pelicans to finish the six-game homestand. They finish up their pre-All-Star break schedule with back-to-back road games against the Lakers and Warriors on Tuesday and Wednesday.