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Kings 100, Hornets 92: Isaiah Thomas Provides the Spark That Ignites the Big Comeback Win

By | 0 Comments | Feb 19, 2019

With 1:55 left in the 2nd quarter, New Orleans hit two free throws to give themselves a 52-34 lead, and things were looking rather bleak for Sacramento. The Hornets didn't score again in the half however, and Sacramento rattled off 5 quick points to end the half, including a buzzer beating layup by Cousins to send the Kings in the half down just 13 points. At this point, the Kings should have been feeling relatively happy to be only down 13, as they had only made 13 of 40 shots and were being dominated on the glass.

Then it was Isaiah's turn. He started off by hitting a long two point jumper. The next possession he found Jason Thompson for a short shot in the paint. Then he drove to the basket and threw a no look behind his head pass to DeMarcus, who charged in for the dunk. Isaiah went on to score a couple more layups, getting right by Vasquez, and also finding DeMarcus for a jumper. During this stretch the Kings cut the lead to as little as 5 points, and it was a new ballgame. Unfortunately the Hornets closed the quarter strong, and Vasquez's running layup at the buzzer gave New Orleans the 9 point lead going into the final period.

The 4th quarter saw a slow start for both teams. The Kings were first to strike, but both teams went back and forth for the first couple minutes with the only basket being a layup from Cousins. Coach Smart took this time to insert Tyreke Evans back into the lineup after he had received a long rest, and Tyreke did what he did best: attack the basket. In the next two minutes, Tyreke managed to score 4 layups, including an and-one, and ended up tying the game at 80 apiece. It was first time the game had been tied since 0-0. Tyreke would finish with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists (but also 4 turnovers).

Luckily, all the momentum was going the Kings way. Marcus Thornton hit a big three on a drive and kick from Tyreke Evans to make it 89-86. On defense, Isaiah drew a big charge on Vasquez and Tyreke took it all the way for a layup to give Sacramento a 5 point lead. The Hornets came back the other way and found Okafor under the basket, but a hard foul by Hayes stopped what would have been an easy layup. Okafor hit his free throws though and it was only a three point game at 91-88 with 2:38 seconds left. New Orleans almost stole the ball away on the next possession, but it was batted out to Isaiah at the halfcourt line, who had 5 seconds to make something out of nothing.

What he made ended up being the dagger in the Hornet's hearts:

That three pointer gave the Kings a 94-88 lead, which they ended up extending to 98-88 before the Hornets started intentionally fouling. Sacramento ended up winning 100-92, holding New Orleans to just 14 points in the 4th quarter.

The Kings finished the game shooting 37-78 from the field (47.4%), which after a 13 of 40 start meant they went 24 of 38 in the 2nd half (63.2%). They also won the rebounding battle 22-20 in the second half thanks to Cousins' dominance.

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