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Kings snap 5-game skid, outlast Warriors 131-127

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Kings snap 5-game skid, outlast Warriors 131-127

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Aaron Brooks added 23 points and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by outlasting the Golden State Warriors 131-127 on Wednesday night.

After blowing a 15-point lead, Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to help Sacramento pull away. Both teams shot 50 percent, while the Kings had a season high in points and scored more than any team had against the Warriors this season.

Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half before fouling out, and David Lee had 29 points and eight rebounds in Golden State's worst defensive outing of the season. Only Oklahoma City had shot at least 50 percent against the Warriors.

After going 6-1 on the season's longest road stretch, the Warriors beat New Orleans 103-96 at home on Tuesday night. They returned to the road for the short trip to Sacramento, looking tired and timid on defense from the start.

The most points the Warriors had allowed this season came in a 119-109 loss at Oklahoma City on Nov. 18. The Thunder shot 50.6 percent in that game.

The most points Sacramento had scored was in a 113-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 21. The Kings found their stroke again to beat the Warriors for the second time this season, with both games coming in California's capital city.

The second edition this season had far less defense than when the Kings beat the Warriors 94-92 in their home opener.

Curry fouled out with 2:13 remaining when he reached in on John Salmons' layup attempt. Salmons made one free throw, and Brooks followed with a 3-pointer to extend Sacramento's lead to 122-118.

Then Jarrett Jack, who finished with 28 points, made one of two free throws before Brooks slipped open along the sideline and swished another from beyond the arc to put the Kings ahead by six with 1:12 to play and turn the final seconds into a free throw contest.

The only thing that matched Brooks' fast finish was his strong start.

Brooks made a pair of 3s to highlight Sacramento's 25-12 spurt to open the game. The Kings kept the pace fast, playing the kind of offensive-oriented system that Keith Smart often ran in his only season coaching the Warriors two years ago.

Some sharp shooting didn't hurt, either. Jimmer Fredette's 3-pointer put the Kings ahead by 15 points in the middle of the second quarter, and they held on for a 63-55 halftime lead after shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Sacramento showed remarkable offensive efficiency despite Tyreke Evans sitting out with a sore left knee for the second straight game. He has missed seven of the last 11 games because of the injury, including playing 10 minutes in a loss at Denver on Sunday when he re-aggravated his knee.

Marcus Thornton also returned after missing the previous three games to be with his ill mother in Louisiana. He scored 19 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

Carl Landry made four straight jumpers, and Jack pulled up for a 3-pointer to begin the Warriors' late surge. Curry swished two 3-pointers to cap the 17-6 burst that gave Golden State a 112-111 lead halfway through the fourth quarter, jumping in the air and pumping his fist after the second swish.

The Kings beat the Warriors 94-92 in Sacramento's opener Nov. 5.

NOTES: Kings F Francisco Garcia landed hard on his back going for a block in the second quarter. He sat out the second half with a sore back. ... Sacramento tied the all-time series with Golden State at 184-184. ... The Warriors are 2-5 in the first game of a back-to-back this season and 5-2 in the second game. ... Rapper Rick Ross sat courtside.

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WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

As Rui Hachimura continues to grow and take his lumps at the NBA level, one important point of development for the Wizards' rookie will be finishing through contact at the rim. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

On Wednesday night against the Spurs, Hachimura hit a nice hook shot over LaMarcus Aldridge and then finished through traffic after attacking a closeout a few plays later. He entered the game shooting nearly 70 percent at the rim, a major reason why he's one of the top-scoring rookies this season. 

Then at the end of the first half, Isaiah Thomas found Hachimura on a back-door cut for the easy slam. Well-timed cuts are a great source of points for young players. 

After the break, the ninth-overall pick flashed a little finesse at the rim for another pretty finish. 

His three-point shooting will have to improve at some point down the line and learning better positioning as a defender is something every rookie has to go through. 

Both of those skills can be improved in the practice gym or in the film room. Finishing at the basket through contact is learned by repetition in-game, so it's a promising sign to see Hachimura take the ball to the rim. 

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosting the Spurs on Wednesday night brought together two of the 11 NBA teams that currently employ a female assistant coach. The Wizards have Kristi Toliver on their bench and the Spurs have Becky Hammon.

That confluence prompted a question to San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich on the future of women in the NBA coaching ranks and whether a head coaching hire could happen sometime soon. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

Though it has been five years since he hired Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history, Popovich is uncertain on exactly when a team will make the leap to hiring a woman to run their operation.

"That depends on people and organizations," he said. 

"It's a process and it doesn't happen quickly. But I think the more women there are [in the game] and as it becomes more commonplace and more the rule, it will then depend on an organization realizing there are women that can do this. Every woman can't, every man can't. But the point is there gotta be enough to choose from and it's gotta be pretty commonplace before I think somebody's gonna pull the trigger."

Popovich believes it will happen, he's just not sure when. The Wizards hiring Toliver last summer was another step in that direction and he believes she and others are showing the basketball world what they are capable of.

"There's no difference between a woman who knows the game and a man who knows the game. It's just another prejudice that probably has to be overcome just like a lot of other prejudices in the world have become less and less as people paid attention to them," Popovich said.

Hammon made the news over the weekend when Popovich was ejected from the Spurs' loss to the Kings and a committee of assistants coached the rest of the game. Popovich was asked why he didn't appoint Hammon to serve in the role for the rest of the game and he told reporters he was "not here to make history." 

Still, though there has never been a female head coach in any of the four major U.S. sports, it seems like the NBA is by far the closest with people like Hammon and Tolliver already knocking on the door.

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