Thomas scores 25, Kings top Jazz 120-109
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and Marcus Thornton had 24 for the Sacramento Kings in a 120-109 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
It was a boisterous crowd of 16,193 that was chanting "Sacramento!" just before tipoff in support of the Kings, who could be sold and move to Seattle next season.
Sacramento led throughout most of the game and played an aggressive, up-tempo style that had the crowd loudly cheering throughout and displaying signs of support. There were more children at the game than normal, thanks to a grassroots campaign that raised more than $9,000 for kids to attend.
Alec Burks had a career-high 24 points and Al Jefferson scored 16 for the Jazz, who dropped their second straight game. Enes Kantor had 15 points and DeMare Carroll had 14.
Jason Thompson had 21 points for the Kings, who snapped a four-game losing streak and had lost eight of nine games, most of them on a recent dismal road trip. DeMarcus Cousins had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and Tyreke Evans added 12 points and six assists.
Although not as effective scoring as usual, Cousins had a solid overall game and avoided any controversy. He was ejected before halftime Monday in Utah and also was ejected in a game earlier this season against the Jazz.
Leading by 13 points entering the fourth quarter, the Kings quickly build the margin to 19 points when Thornton converted on a three-point play with 7:16 remaining.
The game was billed as "Here We Buy" and reflected a fan-based effort to support the Kings, who have experienced sagging attendance amid rumors of the team moving and another lackluster losing season. Earlier this week, NBA Commissioner David Stern said the Seattle ownership group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, formally filed for relocation with the league. The group reached an agreement to purchase 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was one of the early arrivals and was shaking hands with fans 40 minutes before game time. Johnson, a former NBA star who grew up in Sacramento, is attempting to put together an owner group and prevent the Kings from moving.
Johnson has declined to name his wealthy investors, but billionaire Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov are in serious talks over partnering on a bid. Johnson has also helped initiate discussions regarding a new downtown arena.
Cousins, Evans and Thompson all had six points in the third quarter when the Kings continued to share the load offensively and frustrate struggling Utah at the defensive end. Sacramento outscored the Jazz 25-20 and took an 87-74 advantage into the fourth.
Salmons made a corner 3 and the Kings followed with five free throws in building a 77-58 lead midway through the third quarter.
Thomas had 13 points and Thompson had 11 in the opening half when the Kings led 62-54. The Kings squandered a 13-point lead and trailed briefly. But Sacramento closed the quarter with a 14-4 run to regain control.
Utah reserve guard Earl Watson was back on the court after missing the previous three games with a lower right leg injury. .. Kings rookie forward Thomas Robinson was called for a technical in the second quarter following some physical play against Paul Millsap. . Jefferson scored 14 first-half points, but Utah's leading rebounder had just one rebound. . Millsap picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter while defending against Cousins.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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