SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The shots swished, the ball moved and the Sacramento Kings controlled the pace for one of the few times this season.
If only they can play the Golden State Warriors every game.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Aaron Brooks added 23 points and the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by outlasting the Warriors 131-127 on Wednesday night.
Sacramento (8-17) improved to 2-0 this season in the Northern California rivalry, which has historically had little defense.
“Sometimes when you need to get a win, the bottom line is not the score,” said Keith Smart, the former Warriors coach in his second season with the Kings. “But the fact that you’re on the top of the score and got the win.”
After blowing a 15-point lead, Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to help the Kings pull away. Both teams shot 50 percent, while Sacramento had a season high in points and scored more than any team had against the Warriors this season.
The Kings, who wasted a 19-point lead in a loss at Phoenix on Monday, found a way to hold on this time — and did so with Tyreke Evans sitting out with a sore left knee for the second straight game.
“We showed a little bit of character and fired back,” Brooks said.
Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half before fouling out, and David Lee had 29 points and eight rebounds in Golden State’s worst defensive outing of the season. Only Oklahoma City had shot at least 50 percent against the Warriors.
After going 6-1 on the season’s longest road stretch, the Warriors (17-9) beat New Orleans 103-96 at home Tuesday night. They returned to the road for the short trip to Sacramento, looking tired and timid on defense from the start.
The most points the Warriors had allowed this season came in that 119-109 loss at Oklahoma City on Nov. 18. The Thunder shot 50.6 percent in that game.
“I’m very disappointed in how we allow a team to score 131 points without their best player,” second-year Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
The most points Sacramento had scored was in a 113-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 21. The Kings found their stroke again to beat the Warriors for the second time this season, with both games coming in California’s capital city.
The second edition this season had far less defense than when the Kings beat the Warriors 94-92 in their home opener.
Curry fouled out with 2:13 remaining when he reached in on John Salmons’ layup attempt. Salmons made one free throw, and Brooks followed with a 3-pointer to extend Sacramento’s lead to 122-118.
Then Jarrett Jack, who finished with 28 points, made one of two free throws before Brooks slipped open along the sideline and swished another from beyond the arc to put the Kings ahead by six with 1:12 to play and turn the final seconds into a free throw contest.
“I don’t think it was bad defense. We hit some tough shots,” Brooks said. “They hit some tough shots. There were isolations all over the court, 1-on-1 defense, a couple fadeaways, quick 3s. Both teams were just clicking.”
The only thing that matched Sacramento’s fast finish was its strong start.
Brooks made a pair of 3s to highlight Sacramento’s 25-12 spurt to open the game. The Kings kept the pace fast, playing the kind of offensive-oriented system that Smart often ran in his only season coaching the Warriors two years ago.
Some sharp shooting didn’t hurt, either. Jimmer Fredette’s 3-pointer put the Kings ahead by 15 points in the middle of the second quarter, and they held on for a 63-55 halftime lead.
Sacramento showed remarkable offensive efficiency despite Evans out. He has missed seven of the last 11 games because of the injury, including playing 10 minutes in a loss at Denver on Sunday when he re-aggravated his knee.
Marcus Thornton also returned after missing the previous three games to be with his ill mother in Louisiana. He scored 19 points in 31 minutes off the bench.
Carl Landry made four straight jumpers, and Jack pulled up for a 3-pointer to begin the Warriors’ late surge. Curry swished two 3-pointers to cap the 17-6 burst that gave Golden State a 112-111 lead halfway through the fourth quarter, jumping in the air and pumping his fist after the second swish.
The celebration turned out to be premature. The Kings, who beat the Warriors 94-92 in Sacramento’s home opener Nov. 5, once again turned back Golden State’s momentum.
“There’s really no excuse for it,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who had 11 points and five rebounds. “We’ve beaten much better teams in this league. But you are going to have some bad games. It’s a long season.”
NOTES: Kings F Francisco Garcia landed hard on his back going for a block in the second quarter. He sat out the second half with soreness. … Sacramento tied the all-time series with Golden State at 184-184. … The Warriors are 2-5 in the first game of a back-to-back this season and 5-2 in the second game. … Rapper Rick Ross sat courtside.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)