Spurs fall to Kings for first home loss this year
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- In an already tumultuous season for the Sacramento Kings, road trips have been especially brutal.
They finally caught a break away from home, in perhaps the most unlikely place.
Tyreke Evans had 23 points and 11 rebounds, including a 22-foot jumper with 47.2 seconds left to put the Kings ahead for good in a surprising 88-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
The Spurs had been 9-0 at home, best in the NBA. Sacramento, meanwhile, had been abysmal away from home, getting blown out by an average of 23 points in its seven road losses.
"It just shows you the type of team we've got. We've got all the pieces to this puzzle," Evans said. "We've got big men, we've got guards. We just have to play hard for all 48 minutes. It shows the type of team we can be."
DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Marcus Thornton also scored 17 in Sacramento's second road victory of the season. The Kings are still trying to sort themselves out after coach Paul Westphal was fired this month following his escalating feud with Cousins, and Sacramento seemed to savor this win as if it was needed.
Evans paced around the court with both his arms raised. His teammates lingered long on the floor with wide smiles and high-fives as the stunned Spurs walked to their locker room.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 24 points. San Antonio led 84-78 with 4 minutes to go but missed its last five shots, including Danny Green badly airballing a short runner as time expired.
Green said the play was the same one as a spectacular give-and-go with Tim Duncan that worked in Orlando two nights earlier. But this time Green, a former deep reserve who's been thrust into a significant role because Manu Ginobili broke his hand, took the shot himself instead of tossing it back to the perennial All-Star.
"I had Timmy for a drop-off but I wasn't sure if I had enough time left," said Green, who finished with eight points. "I let it go, and it was a little short."
It was the end of a disappointing final minute for Green, who was standing in front of Evans as the Kings star pulled up for the winning shot.
San Antonio started 9-0 at home for the third time in franchise history. Now only Chicago (6-0) remains unbeaten at home.
The Spurs hardly gave the game away. Sacramento led the entire way before Spurs center Tiago Splitter finally put San Antonio ahead with just under 10 minutes left.
Splitter, Duncan and DeJuan Blair all had 10 points for the Spurs. Duncan, coming off a punishing back-to-back in Florida, didn't play in the fourth quarter save for the final 5.5 seconds.
Jason Thompson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings. Evans had seven assists.
The Kings nearly let this upset slip away. They built a surprising 15-point lead early in the second quarter that quickly evaporated thanks to seven consecutive missed shots and bad decisions. Among them was Cousins getting a technical foul for protesting his third personal -- despite teammate J.J. Hickson racing toward referee Ed Malloy in hopes of talking him out of a whistle.
He didn't make it in time.
"I gave him a chance," Malloy told Kings coach Keith Smart.
A chance is rarely what the Kings have had on the road. The NBA's youngest team was routed by 39 points in Dallas last week.
Four of Sacramento's next five games are on the road, too. It's one of the myriad challenges facing Smart, who took over Jan. 5 after Sacramento fired Westphal. The Kings are 4-5 since.
"We can make plays, as long as we keep our composure, play together, play for each other," Cousins said. "The thing about this team is we're very talented, we have all the pieces. We have to keep growing each game."
NOTES: Sacramento C/F Chuck Hayes missed his eighth straight game with a dislocated left shoulder, but Smart said his big man is finally able to sleep through the night without pain. Smart said he expects Hayes to resume contact in practice in the next few days. ... The Spurs hadn't lost to the Kings at home since 2006.