The Kings snapped a four-game losing streak as they defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-106 on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Kings trailed the Hornets 95-94 with 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, yet showed great resolve on the road and outscored Charlotte 19-12 the rest of the way.
Sacramento’s fourth quarter was propelled by 13 points from Ben McLemore, 10 points from DeMarcus Cousins and seven points from Rudy Gay in the final stanza.
Charlotte was shorthanded as Al Jefferson left the game with a sore right calf at the 4:17 mark of the third quarter and the Kings leading 66-63. Jefferson did not return and only scored nine points.
McLemore led the Kings with 27 points, while Gay continued his torrid scoring on the Kings road trip, pouring in 26 points. Cousins went for his 39th double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and adding 14 rebounds.
Carl Landry added 10 points in his second consecutive starting role.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets with 23 points while Mo Williams (20), Gerald Henderson (17) and Lance Stephenson (11) rounded out Charlotte’s double-figure scorers.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte’s starting point guard and leading scorer, made his return from knee surgery Wednesday against the Kings and scored six points while dishing for two assists in nearly 12 and a half minutes.
Sacramento got off to an auspicious start, jumping out to lead 13-4 with 8:39 remaining in the first quarter.
However, the Hornets went on a 10-0 run capped by a Gerald Henderson dunk in transition to give Charlotte a 16-13 lead.
The Kings bounced back to lead 24-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Sacramento eked out a 51-46 advantage at the half, led by Gay’s 12 first-half points and ten points each from both McLemore and Cousins.
Sacramento was outscored in the third quarter 32-25 and the Kings and Hornets entered the fourth quarter tied at 78.
Sacramento (22-41) is now 2-4 on its current eight-game road trip, improves to 4-7 under coach George Karl, and is 9-22 on the road.
The Kings take a 1-0 season series lead over the Hornets (28-35) and will host Charlotte on Mar. 20 in the second and final meeting between the squads this campaign.
Ben McLemore was stellar going for 27 points.
The Kings outscored Charlotte 19-12 over the last 5:04 after trailing 95-94 to get the clutch road win.
Kings -- C DeMarcus Cousins (left ankle sprain) was probable and played while G Darren Collison (core muscle injury) and F Eric Moreland (left shoulder labral tear) were out.
Hornets -- G Kemba Walker (left knee surgery) was questionable yet played and F Cody Zeller (right shoulder strain) was doubtful and did not play.
F Al Jefferson left the game with a sore right calf at the 4:17 mark of the third quarter and the Kings leading 66-63. Jefferson did not return.
The Kings eight-game road trip concludes in back-to-back fashion, Friday in Philadelphia and Saturday in Washington.