If Here We Buy Night was the ice cream sundae of this weekend, tonight's win against the Houston Rockets was the cherry on top. Kings fans again came out in force (15,526) and cheered as their team scored another home victory against a probable playoff team.
It was a back and forth game most of the way until the fourth quarter, when Houston jumped out to a 10 point lead. That's when Isaiah Thomas decided to take over the game. Isaiah scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, including 9 Free Throws. Jeremy Lin fouled out early in the final period trying to guard Isaiah. Isaiah's three pointer with 3:15 left put the Kings up for good but the game still got dicey down the stretch.
With the score 108-105 after two free throws from Isaiah, James Harden came back and responded with a long jumper to cut it to one. Francisco Garcia then rushed a bad three on the other end, but made up for it by stealing the ball from James Harden. Harden then picked up his first foul of the game while fouling John Salmons... while he was shooting a three. Those three free throws were huge as they gave Sacramento a 4 point lead with just over a minute to go.
The Rockets called timeout and got the ball to Carlos Delfino for a good look at a three but it missed and went out of bounds after Jason Thompson and Omer Asik failed to secure the rebound. The play was initially called Kings ball, but after reviewing the play the refs decided the ball had gone off Jason Thompson's hand, which seemed to be the case to my eyes as well. The Rockets got the ball back and got Harden the ball at the top of the lane. Harden drove to the hoop but was blocked by Jason Thompson and Isaiah got the ball out of the scrum. Houston was forced to foul and now it was a six point game with 25 seconds left.
The Rockets opted for an easy dunk by Asik to cut it to four with 16 seconds left. Following a timeout by Sacramento, the Kings made a sloppy inbounds pass and turned the ball over. Houston now had a real chance to get back in the game and a quick drive by Patrick Patterson made it a two point game with 10 seconds left. The Kings got the ball into John Salmons hands and the Rockets fouled him. John sank both free throws to make it a two possession ball game. On the other end, Harden tried to bait Garcia into fouling him from three, but Cisco wisely didn't take it and Harden's attempt was way off. Sacramento secured the rebound and that was essentially the ballgame.
The Kings were an incredible 26-27 from the line, led by Isaiah's 13-13 and Salmons' 7-7. Both Isaiah and Salmons finished with 23 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 20 on 9-14 shooting but played just 24 minutes due to foul trouble. James Harden led Houston with 30 points and Omer Asik had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The fans were again amazing, even starting impromptu "Here We Stay" chants in the fourth quarter after the Kings had come back to take the lead. This needs to be an ongoing tradition for every Kings home game for the rest of the year. The Kings are pretty darn good when they're playing 6 vs. 5 and that's definitely been the case this weekend.
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