HOUSTON (AP) – Houston coach Kevin McHale had only a few minutes to talk with Earl Boykins before Monday night’s game against Sacramento.
Boykins, who was signed to a 10-day contract earlier in the day, didn’t arrive at the Toyota Center until less than an hour before game time. Still, McHale didn’t hesitate to play the 12-year veteran and felt good about him lining up for free throws late in overtime with the game on the line.
“That’s the value of having guys like Marcus Camby and Earl Boykins,” McHale said. “They have played a ton of games … they’ve been doing it their whole lives and there’s just a calmness about them and an assuredness.”
Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 24 points and Boykins hit four free throws for Houston late in overtime to lead the Rockets to a 113-106 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Boykins finished with 10 points and five assists in his first action of the season.
“This is definitely a unique situation, but when you’ve been around as long as I have, you know how to prepare to play in the NBA even when you’re not in the NBA,” Boykins said. “It takes a great deal of confidence to give someone the ball who you haven’t seen all year (and be) confident that they can make free throws. It’s a lot easier to play when your teammates have that kind of confidence.”
Houston built a 107-102 lead in overtime behind four points from Chandler Parsons. Tyreke Evans got Sacramento within three with a layup with 29 seconds left.
Boykins hit two free throws with 21 seconds left and two more 7 seconds later to secure the win.
DeMarcus Cousins scored a career-high 38 points and had 14 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton added 27 points for the Kings, who lost their fifth straight road game. They are an NBA-worst 4-22 on the road this season.
“We self-destruct,” Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. “We have some success as a unit and a group and we just didn’t stay with it. We have to be able to handle adversity as a team.”
The teams exchanged leads several times in the fourth quarter, and a jump shot by Luis Scola tied it 97-all with 37 seconds left. Thornton made a layup as he crashed to the court before a jump shot by Patterson with 8 seconds left tied it at 99.
McHale was impressed with Patterson’s performance.
“Patrick played great,” McHale said. “That’s the Patrick that we need to see all the time. He was just fantastic.”
Thornton missed a 3-point attempt at the end of regulation to send it to overtime.
“We just have to execute down the stretch,” Cousins said. “We are close to turning things around; it just seems to be one play here or there.”
Scola had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Houston, and Parsons and Courtney Lee added 16 points each.
It’s just the second time Cousins, in his second season, has scored at least 30 points after he had 30 last April against Oklahoma City. He’s now scored at least 20 in five of the last six games.
The Rockets were down by eight before scoring nine straight to take a 91-90 lead with 3 1/2 minutes left.
Cousins scored seven straight points to stretch Sacramento’s lead to 81-73 with about 10 minutes remaining.
Houston cut into Sacramento’s lead with a 9-5 run that got the Rockets within 86-82 after a layup by Scola with about seven minutes left.
Sacramento led by nine in the third before a 14-5 run by Houston tied it 67-all with about three minutes left in the quarter. Scola scored six points to lead Houston and the Kings missed three layups and had a turnover during the run.
Camby grabbed a rebound in Sacramento’s lane at the end of the third quarter and launched an amazing one-handed shot that swished through the basket on the other end. The nifty shot will likely become a YouTube sensation, but it didn’t help Houston after the officials reviewed the play and said it wouldn’t count, leaving Sacramento up 72-71 entering the fourth quarter.
Houston, which needed more depth at guard with Kyle Lowry out with a bacterial infection, signed Boykins to a 10-day contract on Monday. The Rockets got 21 minutes from Boykins in their 10th straight game without Lowry. Boykins’ last appearance in the NBA came last season when he played 57 games for the Milwaukee Bucks.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)