Published March 25, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif. – David Lee had 22 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists and rookie Klay Thompson scored a career-best 31 points to lead the short-handed Golden State Warriors past the Sacramento Kings, 111-108 on Saturday night.
Two turnovers by the Kings and another by the Warriors in the final minute finished off a sloppy game and handed Golden State the season series 3-1 in the Northern California rivalry. Thompson's previous career high of 27 points came three days earlier in a win at New Orleans.
DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 18 rebounds, and Tyreke Evans scored 16 points for the erratic Kings, who had won three of their last four and started to show progress under former Warriors coach Keith Smart. Instead, Sacramento is still stuck at the bottom of the Pacific Division and four games back of Golden State.
The inconsistent effort typified two undermanned teams stuck at the bottom of the division.
Sacramento clamped down defensively and held Golden State scoreless for almost 3 minutes late in the fourth quarter. The Kings scored 10 straight points during the stretch, going ahead 104-102 on Evans' short jumper with 3:44 to play.
After Richard Jefferson made a free throw, Lee tipped in a rebound. Then Thompson squeezed a pass between two defenders and Lee finished with a reverse layup to give Golden State a 107-104 lead. The teams traded baskets before Sacramento sliced the deficit to one on Isaiah Thomas' layup with 42.3 seconds left.
With the shot-clock dwindling down, Terrence Williams — in his first game with Sacramento — blocked Thompson's shot and raced down court on a 2-on-1 break. But he lost control going up for a layup, and after a short review, officials ruled Williams knocked the ball out.
It wouldn't be the last mishap.
With Lee inbounded the ball, the Warriors were whistled for a 5-second violation, giving Sacramento possession with 14.3 seconds remaining. A third straight turnover followed when Thomas dribbled the ball off his legs and out of bounds.
Lee threaded a near full-court pass to Jefferson for an easy dunk, and Evans missed a potential tying 3-point at the buzzer in desperation.
In what was a struggle for both teams, neither could ever pull away.
Thompson paced Golden State's simmering start, hitting two 3-pointers during a 10-0 run to go ahead 14-4 in the first quarter. Without a strong inside presence defensively, the Warriors struggled to hold leads.
Sacramento answered with a 9-0 spurt later in the period that whittled the Warriors' cushion to one. Cousins also had a thunderous one-handed slam over rookie Jeremy Tyler, who started at center in place of Andris Biedrins (strained right groin) for the third consecutive game.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry also missed his seventh straight game — and 20th this season — with a sprain in his surgically repaired right ankle. Replacement Nate Robinson strained his right hamstring and didn't play in the second half. And new center Andrew Bogut, acquired in a trade with Milwaukee that sent leading scorer and fan favorite Monta Ellis to the Bucks, already had a fractured left ankle and is likely out for the season.
Ellis' replacement has had no problem filling in the extra minutes.
Thompson finished off a 21-point first half with a 19-foot jumper from the corner and made two free throws after getting fouled on a hard-driving layup. The Warriors led 62-51 at the break.
Kings forward Jason Thompson sat out with a sprained left ankle. Donte Greene started in his place.
Notes: Curry had another evaluation on his ankle Thursday in the Los Angeles area by foot specialist Dr. Richard Ferkel. Curry, who has had repeated ankle problems, will be revaluated next week. ... The Warriors signed C Keith Benson to a 10-day contract and assigned F Chris Wright to the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League. ... Warriors season-ticket holder Omar Ortega of Hayward won $10,000 by making a half-court shot between the third and fourth quarters.