SACRAMENTO, Calif. – DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings celebrated a possible new arena deal with a 103-96 victory over the struggling Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
The city, the Kings and the NBA announced a tentative deal Monday to finance a new arena that would be built by 2015 and keep the team in Sacramento for many years. The City Council will vote on the plan March 6.
Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and made five of six free throws in the final 16 seconds to help the Kings secure the win.
Rookie guard Isaiah Thomas had 18 points and eight assists for the Kings, who have won two straight. Tyreke Evans scored 13 and Jason Thompson had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Thomas, the last player chosen in the 2011 draft, started his fifth straight game at point guard. He has scored 96 points in those five games to tie a franchise mark, matching Otis Birdsong's total in 1977.
Perhaps getting the loudest ovation were Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloff, who addressed the crowd regarding the decision one day earlier to keep the club in Sacramento.
The Kings almost moved to Anaheim a year ago before Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and city leaders convinced the NBA to give Sacramento one last chance to help finance an arena. The team has been trying to get an arena deal for 13 years, according to Gavin Maloof.
Devin Harris scored 18 and had seven assists for slumping Utah, which dropped its fourth straight and 11th in 14 February games. Josh Howard had 15 points, CJ Miles 13 and Al Jefferson added 12 and eight rebounds.
A basket from close range by Howard brought the Jazz to 98-96 with 1:08 remaining. After Gordon Hayward missed a 3-pointer from the corner, Thornton was fouled and made both attempts for a 100-96 Kings lead with 16.1 seconds left.
Thomas tied the game at 87 with two free throws. John Salmons put the Kings ahead for good with a layup and Cousins scored four points, concluding an 8-0 run that gave Sacramento a 93-87 lead with 4:35 left.
Thornton scored the final five points of the third quarter, including a three-point play with less than a second left that gave the Kings a 74-71 lead. Thornton scored nine points in the third when Sacramento outscored Utah 30-24.
It was Cousins helping to keep the Kings close in the third quarter. He scored eight points and had five rebounds, but picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench at the 4:21 mark with the game tied 62-all.
Harris scored nine points and Howard had eight in the opening half for Utah, which held a 47-44 lead. Cousins had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who shot 36 percent and committed nine turnovers.
NOTES: Utah coach Tyrone Corbin spent most of the 1995-96 season playing for the Kings and said he was very happy to see the franchise remain in Sacramento. . After several turnovers, frustrated BYU rookie Jimmer Fredette was coming out of the game midway through the second quarter. However, before another dead ball situation could occur, Fredette hit a long 3-pointer and made a pinpoint pass to Chuck Hayes for a layup. Following a Kings timeout, Thomas went back to the bench and Fredette remained in the game. He finished with five points and two assists in 8 second-quarter minutes. .Utah second-year forward Jeremy Evans, the NBA slam dunk champion, didn't play. . The Jazz are 3-12 on the road.