Needing a win in the worst way, the Sacramento Kings slow-played the Oklahoma City Thunder for three quarters before waking up in the fourth. With the Kings up one in the final minute, DeMarcus Cousins missed a pair of free throws. Kevin Durant responded with a jumper to give the Thunder the 96-95 lead with 22 seconds remaining.
In the ensuing play, Rudy Gay turned the ball over, forcing the Kings to send Durant back to the line. The star forward pushed the Thunder lead up to 98-95 with 4.4 remaining and the Marco Belinelli couldn’t come up with the miracle shot to tie.
With the 98-95 loss, the Kings have now dropped three in a row and sit at 7-15 on the season.
The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook’s third triple-double of the season. The All-Star guard finished the night with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Durant posted 20 points and 10 rebounds, but he turned the ball over 10 times in 39 minutes.
Gay led six Kings that scored in double-figures. The veteran forward finished the night with 20 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field while playing solid defense on Durant for most of the night. But his mistake late in the game was costly.
With the starters stuck in neutral, Darren Collison came off the bench to drop in 16 points on 4-for-10 shooting. He added five assists and two steals in 33 minutes of action.
Collison wasn’t the only player to come off the bench and make an impact. After a tough four-game stretch, Belinelli showed up in Oklahoma City, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
DeMarcus Cousins struggled from the field, hitting just 5-of-20 shots, but he still finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Westbrook didn’t have a huge scoring night, but he dropped in his third triple-double of the season, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds in the win.
Gay’s turnover in the final five seconds of the game sealed the deal for the Kings. Belinelli had a late look to tie the game from three, but came up empty.
Willie Cauley-Stein missed his second straight game with a right index finger injury. The rookie is expected to miss another 4-6 weeks.
After a rough trip, the Kings return home to take on Utah Jazz on Tuesday night in the first of three straight at Sleep Train Arena.