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SPORTS: Oklahoma City Thunder

Late Mistakes Cost Oklahoma City Against Kings

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Oklahoma City Held a Big Lead Late in the Game, but Couldn't Hold off the Potent Offense of the Kings in the Closing Minutes (AP Photo) Oklahoma City Held a Big Lead Late in the Game, but Couldn't Hold off the Potent Offense of the Kings in the Closing Minutes (AP Photo)
SACRAMENTO, California -

Despite holding an eight-point lead with five minutes left to play, Oklahoma City melted down late, falling to the Sacramento Kings 106-101, the second loss of this West Coast road trip by the Thunder.

Tied 85-85 at the eight minute mark in the fourth quarter, James Harden found an open Kevin Durant who hit on a 25-foot, three-pointer to retake the lead. After Jimmer Fredette missed a three-pointer of his own, Durant drew a shooting foul and hit on both attempts from the charity stripe to push the lead to 90-85.

Sacramento's next attempt down the court ended with another long miss, and Russell Westbrook knocked down an 11-foot jumper to give the Thunder a 92-85 lead. DeMarcus Cousins stopped the bleeding, but Daequan Cook drilled a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to take an eight-point lead with less than six minutes to play.

At that point the game slowed down a bit, with neither team scoring a bucket for a full minute, ended by a Donte Greene layup at the 4:48 mark. Marcus Thornton followed with five points of his own, including a long three-pointer to close the deficit to 95-94 with 2:45 left on the clock.

Durant responded for the Thunder, hitting a long two, but Thornton hit another three from almost the same spot to tie the game 97-97 with two minutes to play. Cousins hit the second of a pair of free throws on the next trip down the court to give the Kings a 98-97 lead, their first since the first minute of the second half.

Westbrook connected on a 19-foot jumper to retake the lead 99-98 with 1:19, but that's when the mistakes began to pile up for Oklahoma City.

Serge Ibaka, who had come up with 10 blocks and eight rebounds up until that point, was called for a shooting foul and fouled out and Green converted on both shots to retake the lead 100-99. On Oklahoma City's next possession, Westbrook had an open path to the basket along the baseline, but stepped out of bounds for the Thunder's 22nd turnover of the night.

Harden fouled Tyreke Evans on the Kings' possession, and Evans hit the second of two free throws to put Oklahoma City down two with 39 seconds to play. Durant rushed a long three-pointer on Oklahoma City's next possession and caught front iron and Westbrook fouled Cousins with 27 left to play.

Cousins hit both attempts to make it a two-possession lead. Oklahoma City tried to extend the game by turning it into a free throw contest, but Evans hit on three of his four attempts to close the game out.

Westbrook finished with a game-high 33 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists, but turned the ball over seven times, five coming in the second half. Durant managed to score 27 points despite missing 10 of his field goal attempts, while Ibaka racked up six points, 10 boards and nine rebounds when he fouled out.

Evans set the pace for the Kings, scoring 22 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists, with Cousins flirting with a double-double, scoring 19 and coming down with nine boards in the win.

Oklahoma City will not have much time to regroup, heading to Utah to finish out its five-game road trip with a 9:30 p.m. matchup Friday against the Jazz.

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