Kings 105, Warriors 98

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings won a season series over the Golden State Warriors for the first time in 10 years, riding Isaiah Thomas' 17 third-quarter points and 31 overall to a 105-98 victory Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Kings, who had two early-season victories over their Northern California rivals in Sacramento, used a Thomas-fueled, 13-0 third-quarter burst to gain an advantage they milked to the end. Sacramento emerged with its third win in the four-game season series.
Thomas connected on a season-best seven 3-pointers, including a game-clincher with 2:38 to go after a Kings offensive rebound. That basket extended Sacramento's lead to 96-88.
With the loss, the Warriors (41-32) failed to take advantage of a Houston Rockets defeat. Golden State retains a one-game lead over the Rockets (39-32) in the Western Conference playoff race. The Warriors have nine games remaining.
Wednesday's game was won and lost from beyond the 3-point arc. While Thomas was connecting on seven of 12 and the Kings 11 of 28 overall, the Warriors went just 5-for-24 from deep. Stephen Curry made two of nine, and Klay Thompson hit one of eight.
The Kings (26-46) never lost the lead after Thomas' seventh 3, but the Warriors did manage to get within three on a Jarrett Jack layup with 14.7 seconds left.
Golden State was forced to foul, however, and Tyreke Evans extended the margin to five by making two free throws with 12.7 seconds left.
Fittingly, Thompson's seventh miss from beyond the arc -- an airball -- closed the door on the home team on its next possession.
Thomas capped the scoring with two late free throws.
DeMarcus Cousins backed Thomas with 14 points for the Kings. Marcus Thornton had 13, and Evans added 12.
David Lee had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Warriors, and Andrew Bogut helped out inside with 12 points and nine rebounds. Jack and Carl Landry contributed 16 points apiece off the bench. But Curry, while scoring 17 points, shot just 5-for-18, and backcourt mate Thompson missed his final 11 shots on a 1-for-13 night. He scored four points.
Thomas was unstoppable in the third quarter, hitting five 3-pointers, including a pair in the final 39.9 seconds as the Kings more than doubled a five-point lead to go up 77-66 at period's end.
The left-hander opened the second half with a driving layup, increasing a three-point Kings halftime lead to 49-44. But a 3-pointer by Harrison Barnes put the Warriors briefly ahead 52-51 two minutes later.
Evans countered with a 3 for the Kings, pushing them back on top, and the rest of the period pretty much belonged to Thomas.
He nailed a pair of 3s in a 13-0 run that began with Evans' hoop, and the Kings raced to a 64-52 lead.
Then after the Warriors clawed back within 71-66 on a Draymond Green hoop with 1:01 left in the period, Thomas connected from 25 feet and then 28 feet, the latter coming with 3.9 seconds remaining in the quarter, to put Sacramento back in a commanding position.
Perhaps inspired by the presence of legendary big man Bill Russell, Bogut was so spry in the first half, he even attempted a one-handed slam on a cross-court alley-oop pass late in the second period. He banged it off the rim but got a nice reaction from the hometown crowd just for trying.
Bogut, whose previous season high for baskets in a game had been six, had five hoops in the half, including a Jarrett Jack-type, 10-foot runner in the lane. He shot 6-for-11 overall.
NOTES: Lee played his 200th game as a Warrior, a stretch during which the team is 97-103. He entered the game having averaged 18.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists over that span, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warrior to average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists over his career for the franchise. ... Curry became the third Warrior ever to record 600 3-pointers in his career. He's two shy of passing Tim Hardaway for second place on the franchise's all-time list. ... Evans had been questionable for the game because of stomach pain he experienced in Sunday's win over Philadelphia. The high-scoring guard went to a doctor Tuesday for tests, which were negative, and he gave the team a thumbs-up after pregame warmups. ... Warriors coach Mark Jackson was asked before the game if he's been keeping an eye on the three-team battle between Denver, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers for the 3-5 seeds in the Western Conference playoff race. "No, and the reason is because that can change within the next hour. I'm not going to get caught up in that," he insisted. The Warriors, who began the day in the sixth playoff spot in the West, would match up with the 3-seed should they retain that position over the final three weeks of the regular season. ... Sacramento took a step toward strengthening its bid to retain the team when its City Council voted Tuesday night to approve the building of a new downtown arena and contribute $258 million to the projected $448 million price. A proposed sale of the club and possible relocation to Seattle is on the agenda at the NBA Board of Governors meeting April 3.

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