SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) — With a packed arena and boisterous crowd resuscitating “Arco Thunder” in the stands, the Sacramento Kings executed an electrifying fourth quarter rally to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-99.
More than 17,000 fans filled the stadium to capacity as part of a grassroots effort to show support for the Kings in response to rising speculation and approaching deadlines regarding a possible move to Anaheim next year. Chants of “Here we stay” echoed during the night and cheers reached deafening levels as the Kings reclaimed the lead and kept it in the final minutes of the game.
Kings forward Marcos Thornton made a spectacular impression in his first home game since he was traded for Carl Landry last week, racking up 29 points, 16 of which were in the final quarter.
Kings Coach Paul Westphal said the crowd reaction was “fantastic” and “almost poetic” in the late-game rally.
Blake Griffin had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost their fifth straight and eighth in nine games. Randy Foye scored 23 points, newly acquired Mo Williams had 16, and Chris Kamen 12.
Beno Udrih had 19 points and seven assists for the Kings, who outscored the Clippers 27-16 in the fourth quarter. Omri Casspi had 15 points and eight rebounds and Jason Thompson added 10 points.
Slumping rookie DeMarcus Cousins had just five points and nine rebounds in a reserve role.
Williams connected on a 3-pointer, but Thornton responded with a pair of free throws to give the Kings a 100-97 lead with 31.7 seconds left. The Clippers misfired on several 3-point attempts in the final 20 seconds.
Foye hit a 3-pointer to cut the Sacramento lead to 98-94, but DeAndre Jordan missed four straight free throws, the final two with 1:32 remaining, that could have cut into the Kings’ lead even further.
Last week, the Maloofs requested an extension of the March 1 deadline to give Kings ownership the opportunity to discuss their options with the NBA Board of Governors at its April 14-15 meeting. The Board is currently considering the Kings’ request.
The Kings wore the 1950-51 retro uniforms of the Rochester Royals, who won an NBA championship that season, the only title in franchise history. The crowd cheered loudly at times for the inspired Kings. Among the crowd were Kings owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof sitting in their usual courtside seats.
The game was the final one under the Arco Arena name. Starting Tuesday, the new arena name is Power Balance Pavillion. The current arena had the Arco name since the inaugural game in the building on Nov. 8, 1988.
The Kings ran off nine straight points, the final two on an alley-oop dunk resulting from a Thornton pinpoint pass to Casspi, to build a 97-91 lead with 4:22 remaining.
Trailing 91-88, Casspi scored on a fastbreak dunk and Udrih followed by hitting a wide-open 3-pointer at the 5:19 mark, giving Sacramento a 93-91 lead.
Griffin scored nine points in the third quarter and Foye had seven to help Los Angeles head into the fourth quarter with a 83-78 advantage.
Williams connected with Griffin on an alley-oop dunk, then hobbled off the court after turning his ankle late in the third quarter with the Clippers leading 73-70. Williams returned to the game to start the fourth quarter.
Notes: Kings G Tyreke Evans missed his seventh straight game due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. … Clippers G Eric Gordon, who has missed 18 consecutive games with a wrist injury, said prior to the game he could return Wednesday in a home game against Houston. … Jamario Moon, who was acquired along with Williams from Cleveland, played his first game as a Clipper. … Griffin had 14 first-half points, helping the Clippers to a 52-51 lead.