for this game

Thunder slip past Kings

Mar 11, 2009 - 6:06 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- In a game of runs, the Oklahoma City Thunder had the most meaningful one and went on to down the Sacramento Kings, 99-98, on Tuesday.

Sacramento's Rashad McCants hit a free throw to give the Kings a 92-91 lead with 4:56 left in a poorly played fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City then ran off six straight points. Nenad Krstic hit a layup to break a scoreless span of 3 1/2 minutes and give the Thunder a 93-92 lead. Krstic hit another layup to make it three and Russell Westbrook, who scored 22 points, added a jumper with 38 seconds left to increase the gap to 97-92.

"For me it was like one of those nights when you can't hit a shot," said Krstic, who had 15 rebounds. "So try to do something good for the team - try to rebound, try to pass the ball, block shots, do whatever I can. I really tried to play hard."

Francisco Garcia canned a shot from beyond the arc with 34 seconds left, the Kings' first basket in 4:22, to make it 97-95.

Westbrook missed a jumper with 11 seconds left and Andres Nocioni grabbed the rebound. Sacramento called time to set up a play. Nocioni was wide open for a baseline jumper and was long - extremely long. Bobby Jackson grabbed the rebound and somehow lost the ball.

Thabo Sefolosha hit a pair of foul shots with 3.4 seconds left to lock up the victory.

McCants knocked down a shot from beyond the arc for the game's final points. The Kings forced a turnover as Oklahoma City tried to inbound but there was a tenth of a second left and Sacramento's last gasp was harmless.

"I'm proud of our guys coming back in the second half," Oklahoma City interim coach Scottie Brooks said. "That first half, it wasn't basketball we wanted to play. We played their game, running up and down trying to outscore them. In the second half we kept them in the low 40 percent range shooting. It was a great effort. I'm proud of our guys."

Spencer Hawes had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Kings.

The teams have had equally bad seasons and they played to that on the court with neither being able to grab a decisive advantage.

Oklahoma City entered the fourth quarter with an 84-76 lead that quickly dissolved as Sacramento ran off the first eight points of the final quarter.

After that, it was back and forth with neither team able to hit its shots. The Thunder had three baskets over the first eight-plus minutes of the fourth as Sacramento managed only six, including its opening burst.

The inability for either team to keep a lead started early as Oklahoma City appeared ready to blow the Kings out of Arco Arena by scoring the first 10 points of the game. The Kings came back with eight straight points before the Thunder ran off another six pack.

"Once again, getting off to an awful start defensively really put us in a bind - spotting a team 10 points right off the bat and then coming back," Kings interim coach Kenny Natt said. "We had a subpar performance in the first half."

In the end, the Kings ran off the final six points, capped by Will Solomon's jumper that had Sacramento down 27-26 after one.

The Thunder used an 8-2 run in the second quarter to grab a 46-38 advantage, only to see the Kings go on a 12-2 run that ended with a three-point play by Jason Thompson for a 50-48 lead.

It didn't hold, as was the script for the night, with the teams deadlocked at 55-55 at the break.

The third quarter saw the Thunder use a 10-2 run to grab an 80-72 advantage. The teams then split four baskets, leaving it 84-76 after three.

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    Thunder 99, Kings 98  FinalMar 11 1:17 AM

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    Thunder 91, Kings 92  4th - 4:00Mar 11 12:17 AM
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    Thunder 91, Kings 89  4th - 6:00Mar 11 12:13 AM
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    Thunder 84, Kings 84  4th - 10:00Mar 11 12:03 AM

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