Doomed by a sluggish defensive first quarter, Sacramento’s (5-2) quest to win their sixth game in a row and remain undefeated on the road ended in Oklahoma City (2-5) with a 101-93 loss to the shorthanded Thunder.
A gorgeous high low, from Rudy Gay to DeMarcus Cousins for an alley-oop lay in out of a timeout cut the Kings deficit to two, 87-85 with 2:32 to go in the game.
However, Sacramento would not get closer as the Thunder outscored the Kings 14-8 over the remainder of the game.
Oklahoma City’s final run included eight points from Reggie Jackson who led the Thunder with 22 points while Jeremy Lamb poured in 17 points and Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison contributed 14 points apiece.
Oklahoma City led by two points at the end of three quarters and began the fourth on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 74-65.
Sacramento struggled offensively early, enduring a scoring drought from the 4:12 mark of the first quarter until 4.8 seconds to go. After one quarter, the Kings trailed 24-17.
The Kings overcame first quarter defensive woes in Phoenix on Friday but it was not to be against the Thunder on Sunday
Oklahoma City shot 59 percent from the floor and 63 percent from downtown led by nine points from Lamb in the first quarter.
Conversely, Sacramento struggled from the floor shooting 35 percent including going one-for-six from 3-point range.
In the second quarter, the Kings faced an Oklahoma City zone that further exploited Sacramento’s woeful 3-point shooting and extended the Thunder lead.
Reggie Jackson’s 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds to go in the second quarter gave the Thunder their largest lead of the half at 52-39 heading into the locker room.
The third quarter featured lock down defense by Sacramento as they held the Thunder to 15 points while the Kings were plus six in rebound margin.
The Thunder extended their lead to 17 points to start the second half but Sacramento responded with a 13-0 run featuring seven points from Cousins, four from Collison and two by Gay to cut the lead to 56-50 at the 6:01 mark of the third quarter.
A see saw affair ensued over the rest of the third quarter including an alley-oop from Collison to Gay that resulted in a technical foul for taunting for Gay and a step back 3-pointer by Collison as the Kings cut the lead to 67-65 after three quarters.
Rudy Gay paced Sacramento with 23 points while DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore both contributed 16 points apiece
The Thunder backcourt of Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb were devastating as the Thunder’s leading scorers with 22 points and 17 points, respectively.
The Thunder outscored the Kings 14-8 over the final 2:32 of the game including Reggie Jackson’s step back jumper at the 1:10 mark that extended the Thunder lead to 94-89.
DeMarcus Cousins (sprained right thumb) – was listed as PROBABLE yet started and played.
Rudy Gay (virus) – was listed as PROBABLE yet started and played.
For Oklahoma City:
Kevin Durant - OUT (right foot Jones fracture)
Grant Jerrett - OUT (left ankle surgery)
Perry Jones - OUT (right knee contusion)
Mitch McGary - OUT (left foot fracture)
Anthony Morrow - OUT (left MCL sprain)
Andre Roberson - OUT (left foot sprain)
Russell Westbrook - OUT (right second metacarpal fracture)
The Kings are at Dallas on Tuesday and end the four-game road trip in Memphis Thursday.