DeMarcus Cousins scored 29 points in one of his best games as a pro, outplaying Dwight Howard for the most part. But the Sacramento Kings still fell 106-102 as Jameer Nelson took over down the stretch and Hedo Turkoglu hit a massive three with 40 seconds left. The Kings suffered through 21 turnovers (seven by Cousins) and played without Beno Udrih, Donte Greene and, of course, Tyreke Evans. Cousins, Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson were all in sub-optimal playing shape too, with various dings.
But the Kings fought valiantly, and nearly stole a second win against the Magic. Howard fouled out with a minute left as Cousins posted him up, but Hedo's three seemed to put the game out of reach at 105-100. Marcus Thornton (excellent again with 22 points on 8-16 shooting) missed a runner (on which there was enough contact for a foul call), and Cousins was fouled after getting the offensive rebound. He hit both to cut the margin to three.
Jason Richardson was fouled on the other end, but missed both free throws. After a Cousins rebound and a timeout, the Kings tried to send the game to overtime. The result: a bricked 26-footer by Luther Head. No es bueno. Head finished the game 2-10. Turkoglu hit one of two free throws to essentially ice the game; Cousins airballed a three with 2.8 seconds left, and the game ended. Cousins and Howard shared hearty laughter afterward.
Still, a valiant effort by a team still fighting to win.