Sacramento's 107-106 victory gave the Kings their third win in a row, led by 33 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and four steals by DeMarcus Cousins. It was an ugly contest with an ugly finish; the Sixers had the last chance to win the game after a botched offensive play by the Kings, but Hollis Thompson lost the ball in the final seconds.
The 76ers couldn't have played much worse to end the contest; after a pair of free-throws with 3:27 left gave the Sixers a 105-102 lead, Philadelphia's next six possessions combined for five turnovers, one free throw and a 26-foot miss by Ish Smith. Sacramento took a 107-105 lead with 48 seconds left on a put-back by Ray McCallum, but a foul from Cousins and a single free-throw from Robert Covington cut it to 107-106. After Cousins was blocked in the paint by Nerlens Noel, he missed a turnaround 12-footer that set up the Sixers final, unsuccessful shot.
Rudy Gay had 21 points and eight rebounds on 6-19 shooting, but the rest of the Kings outside of Cousins and Gay combined for just 53 points on 21-53 shooting. The Kings offense finished with 21 assists and just 10 turnovers, but never found any consistent rhythm throughout the contest. Robert Covington had 21 points to lead the Sixers, while Noel added 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks and Ish Smith had 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Sacramento had a solid lead through the early fourth quarter, but just when the Kings looked like they could put Philadelphia away, Covington went nuclear; he scoring 12 points in just over 75 seconds that included three threes and a highlight dunk and gave Philadelphia a 103-100 lead with 6:11 to play. Fortunately for Sacramento, their defense contained the Sixers to just three points for the rest of the game.
The Kings defense could not contain the Sixers consistently throughout the first half, as Philadelphia—a team averaging an NBA worst 91 points a contest—had 70 by halftime. Sacramento's perimeter defense, which has arguably been their biggest weakness all season, allowed Philadelphia to shoot 8-16 from three in the half despite their dismal 31.7% success on the season.
Sacramento's defense finally kicked on in the third, limiting the 76ers to 14 points in the period and 36 in the half. The effort was a complete opposite of the first half, as the Kings contested nearly every shot and the 76ers constantly missed looks they'd made early.
The Kings finished their five game homestand with a 3-2 record and will head to Phoenix tonight for a matchup tomorrow with the Suns.
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