After failing to protect fourth quarter leads versus the Lakers and Houston, the Kings could not pull out a come-from-behind win against Detroit on Saturday, falling to the Pistons 95-90 at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento (11-13) has now lost three straight and fell to 2-7 without DeMarcus Cousins, who remains out with viral meningitis, while Detroit (5-19) was playing in the second of a back-to-back after snapping a 13-game losing streak in Phoenix on Friday.
Sacramento trailed Detroit by seven points heading into the fourth quarter and cut the Pistons lead to four points on two free throws by Ryan Hollins with 2:13 to go.
However, Sacramento would not get closer as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope responded with a 3-pointer to make it 86-79 in favor of Detroit which proved to be a decisive blow to Sacramento's comeback attempt.
The Kings led the Pistons 24-23 at the end of the first quarter thanks by eight points apiece from Rudy Gay and Jason Thompson.
Detroit responded with an 8-3 run to start the second quarter to take a 31-27 lead but Sacramento outscored Detroit 19-11 to take a 46-43 lead into intermission.
Carl Landry scored eight points, Nik Stauskas contributed five and Derrick Williams three off the bench to go along with Gay’s six providing the Kings offense in the second quarter.
The Pistons went on an 11-0 run to start the second half to grab a 54-46 lead on the Kings with 8:00 remaining in the third quarter. The run included six points from Josh Smith, Coldwell-Pope’s first points of the night - a 3-pointer - and an Andre Drummond layup.
Detroit dug in and extended the lead to 14 points at 67-53 on a Greg Monroe jumper at the 3:19 mark but Sacramento responded with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 67-60 heading into the fourth quarter.
Detroit ultimately outscored Sacramento 24-14 in the quarter, propelled by nine points from Smith and six points from Kyle Singler.
Monroe led Detroit with 24 points while Josh Smith poured in 21, Andre Drummond contributed 12 points and Kyle Singler added 11 points.
The Kings were led by Gay with 20 points while Landry added 15 off the bench and Ben McLemore scored 14 points in defeat.
Co-MVPs in this one were Greg Monroe, who led Detroit with 24 points, and Josh Smith, who added 21 points while dominating the Kings frontcourt sans Cousins.
The Pistons outscored the Kings 24-14 to start the third quarter as the Kings lost a 3-point halftime lead and faced a 14-point deficit with 3:19 left in the third quarter.
Kings – C DeMarcus Cousins (viral meningitis) and F Omri Casspi (left knee bone contusion) were out.
Pistons – None to report.
The Kings five-game home stand continues with game three on Tuesday versus Oklahoma City.