The Sacramento Kings nearly came back from a 20-point deficit deep in the fourth quarter, but "nearly" gets you $5 and heart murmurs. The Atlanta Hawks finished off the 108-102 win behind 31 points from Jamal Crawford.
Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings' late comeback. It was the second time this season (last week's gasp over the Grizzlies was the other) that each of the two young stars went over 20 points in the same game. Evans had 29 points on 11-19 shooting, while Cousins added 24 on 11-22 shooting.
But the most wonderful thing about those totals is how many of the points came late, with the Kings seemingly waving the white flag. Nah, no white flags here. Red flags, sure. Cousins had 16 points on 7-8 shooting in the fourth. Evans scored 15 on 6-8 shooting. The Kings rarely scored 31 points in a quarter. Their 21-year-old guard and 20-year-old center just combined to score 31 points in a quarter. It was wonderful to watch.
Of course, the Kings didn't need to get into that 20-point hole. The defensive rotations were usually poor, and even in that fourth-quarter run there was a possession where zero Kings got back after a Sacramento miss, leading to free throws for a leaking-out Crawford. The Kings have struggled to prevent transition all season, and it continues. Sacramento also had a rough night trying to close out the three-point line, as Atlanta shot 8-18 from downtown.
The Kings next play Thursday against the Denver Nuggets on TNT.