Kings 92, Pacers 88
No one in the stunned Sacramento Kings locker room could remember winning a game when they shot so poorly.
Marcus Thornton scored 17 points and the Kings rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 92-88, snapping a three-game losing streak despite shooting just 30.1 percent from the field.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the franchise had won a game while shooting under 31 percent was Dec. 1, 1957, when the Cincinnatti Royals edged the Minneapolis Lakers 90-89. Denver was the last NBA team to pick up a win while shooting under 31 percent, hiting 29.2 percent in an 80-72 win over San Antonio on Oct. 29, 2003.
''I didn't know we shot that bad,'' said Francisco Garcia, who came off the bench and scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter when the Kings outscored Indiana 26-8 and forced nine turnovers. ''It was good for us to get this win even though we shot such a bad percentage. But we're not going to keep shooting like that.''
Even though they shot horribly in the fourth quarter (6 of 25), the Kings managed to dominate, thanks in a large part to its defense. Sacramento went to a zone defense and hustling reserves like Travis Outlaw, Isaiah Thomas, and Garcia helped make it work.
The Pacers began the final period by missing 8 of 11 shots and squandered its big lead. It didn't help that Indiana was sloppy with its passing and also committed 10 fouls in the fourth quarter. The Kings shot 12 of 15 on free throws in the fourth and their final six points were from the line.
''I guess they felt like they couldn't guard us man-to-man, so they went to a zone and we had no answer for it,'' Roy Hibbert said. ''We were frustrated out there. I guess we still have to work on that extensively tommorow at practice.''
DeMarcus Cousins had 13 points and tied a career-high with 19 rebounds for Sacramento.
Darren Collison and Danny Granger scored 16 points each for Indiana, which snapped a three-game winning streak. Hibbert and David West added 13 points each and Paul George had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Pacers shot 3 for 16 in the final period and had nine turnovers. Neither team had a field goal in the final 3:24.
''Obviously this was a tough loss for us,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ''To give up a lead like that iin the fourth quarter is definitely a missed opportunity for us. They went to a small lineup and were able to do some things.''
Kings coach Keith Smart said the coaching staff had discussed going to a zone at their morning shoot-around if the proper situation arose during the game. It was a move that worked from the start with the Kings going to a smaller, quicker lineup.
''(The zone) was the right call at the right time with the group we had on the floor,'' Smart said. ''We got really aggressive, and when you're aggressive in the NBA you can usually get the calls.''
Ahead 90-87, the Kings fouled Granger intentionally with 5.6 seconds left. Granger made the first free throw but his lane violation gave the ball back to the Kings. Garcia made two free throws a second later to seal the victory.
Garcia also made two free throws with 2:20 left, giving the Kings an 88-87 lead, their first advantage since midway through the second quarter. Fouled again with 54 seconds left, Garcia made 1 of 2 free throws for an 89-87 lead.
Thomas is a 5-foot-9 rookie who was the last player chosen in the second round of the 2011 draft. The feisty point guard was instrumental in the fourth quarter with his energy and hustle. He scored five of his eight points in the fourth.
''Coach always tells me to stay ready and be patient and that's what I'm doing,'' Thomas said. ''I just knew I had to change the game somehow and bring my energy defensively and offensively.''
Sacramento went on a 10-2 run to begin the fourth. Tyreke Evans was fouled on an off-balance layup in traffic, and his three-point play pulled the Kings to 82-76 with just over two minutes gone in the quarter.
After a quiet first half, Collison got going in the third quarter. The speedy point guard scored 13 points to help Indiana outscore the Kings 30-21 and take an 80-66 lead heading into the fourth.
Collison, who had two first-half points, opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and a layup off a steal. A basket by George put the Pacers ahead 63-50 at the 8:32 mark.
Both West and Hibbert scored 11 points in the the opening half when the Pacers led 50-45. Cousins had nine points and 12 rebounds, including 10 at the offensive end, for the Kings, who shot a dismal 33 percent.
NOTES: Granger, the Pacers' leading scorer, came into the game shooting 33 percent. ... Jason Thompson made his first start of the season, replacing J.J. Hickson at forward for the Kings. ... Cousins missed all five shots and two free throws in the opening quarter, but had six rebounds in seven minutes. ... Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette continues to struggle with his shot, missing all four attempts and going scoreless in six minutes. He entered the game shooting just over 34 percent.