Basketball / Sports

The Sacramento Kings' Marcus Thornton (23) is fouled as he goes to the basket against the Indiana Pacers' Paul George (24) on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/MCT)

Pacers rally to nip Kings, 116-111, in OT

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--The Sacramento Kings were 18.3 seconds away from their biggest upset of the season.

For more than 47 minutes the Kings had controlled the game and at times dominated the Indiana Pacers, the team with the best record in the NBA.

Marcus Thornton was hot, Isaiah Thomas was clutch and the Kings were on the verge of knocking off the Pacers while their two leading scorers, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, sat out with injuries.

But the Kings didn't leave themselves enough of a cushion. Leading 103-99, the Kings' Derrick Williams was called for a foul on Paul George on a made three pointer. George made the free throw to tie the game and in overtime, the Pacers had too much left and put away the Kings, 116-111, Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

It's a foul that will be disputed by the Kings, but not publicly at risk of being fined by the NBA.

"I thought they called the grab," Williams said. "I didn't see if he was in the shooting motion, I haven't seen the replay yet. I really can't say too much, (the official) called it, he made a tough shot. The one thing I didn't want to do is foul him in his shooting motion, that's all I can say. It's over with now."

It was George that made the signature defensive stand in overtime, stealing the ball from Isaiah Thomas with the Pacers up 114-111 and Thomas dribbling under the basket.

After securing the ball and being fouled, George walked down the court, holding the ball and saying "My ball!"

The ball belonged to two Kings much of the night to put the Kings in position to win.

Marcus Thornton had his best game of the season, matching his career high with 42 points. Thomas matched his career high with 38 points.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 80 points were the most by a Kings' starting backcourt in franchise history. Kings' starting guards had combined for 71 points twice.

But no other King scored in double figures as Cousins (sprained left ankle) and Gay (strained left Achilles) sat out with injuries suffered during Wednesday's loss at Houston.

Kings coach Michael Malone didn't want to comment on the Williams foul, but said he was proud of how his team played.

"Huge four-point play to put it into overtime and then they took over the overtime period," Malone said. ". . . Give him credit (George) made a four-point play."

While the Kings relied heavily on Thomas and Thornton five Pacers scored in double figures, led by George with 36. David West had 22 points and Lance Stephenson had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

After struggling most of the season, Thornton broke out in a big way.

Thornton had scored 33 total points in his previous nine games since the last time he scored in double figures with 12 points, Jan. 2, in a loss to Philadelphia.

Thornton had made only 13 shots in his previous nine games, but set a career high for field goals made with 16. Thornton's previous best was 15 on Feb. 23, 2010 while playing for New Orleans at Cleveland.

Thornton opened the game with 22 points in the first quarter, a season high in a quarter for the King. Thornton's hot start helped the Kings lead by as many as 17 points in the first half.

"When you have 43 points (per game) sitting on the sideline between Rudy and Cuz somebody has to step up," Thornton said. "I took it upon myself to be that guy. It was a great team effort by the whole team."

Thomas made two three pointers in the fourth quarter to extend his streak to 36 consecutive games with a made three. That tied Peja Stojakovic for the second-longest streak in Sacramento history.

Thomas has the second-longest active streak behind Atlanta's Kyle Korver, who has a three in an NBA-record 111 consecutive game.

Thomas had just established his career high in Sunday's loss at Oklahoma City. Thornton also scored 42 points March 14, 2011 against Golden State.

(c)2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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