The Sacramento Kings nearly squandered a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, but Isaiah Thomas hit four free throws and Rudy Gay sank a pair of them in the final 28.5 seconds to help the Kings hold off the Toronto Raptors 111-105 at Sleep Train Arena.
Gay had 24 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against the Raptors (26-23) since he was traded by Toronto to Sacramento (17-32) on Dec. 9.
Patrick Patterson, who went to the Raptors in that deal, scored 14 points in his return to Sacramento, while Chuck Hayes had five points and five rebounds and Greivis Vasquez had five points and four assists before fouling out. John Salmons didn’t fare well in his comeback game, going scoreless while missing all four of his shot attempts.
The Kings got out quickly, leading 25-13 with 3:29 to go in the first period before settling for a 30-23 advantage at the quarter break.
Sacramento extended the lead to 67-52 by halftime, leading by as many as 20 points in the second quarter. After three periods, the Kings were cruising along with a 92-72 lead before the Raptors made a furious comeback attempt.
Steve Novak hit a 3-pointer with 4:19 remaining that cut Sacramento’s lead to single digits for the first time since it was 34-25 early in the second quarter. Vasquez followed that up with a 3-pointer of his own with 3:16 left that cut Sacramento’s lead to 98-93.
The Raptors got it back to five one more time, 103-98, with 58.9 seconds to go on a pair of free throws by DeMar DeRozan, but the Kings hung on at the free throw line to preserve their second straight win after losing seven in a row.
DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, Thomas finished with 23 points—including going a career-best 15-for-16 at the line—and five assists and Marcus Thornton scored 12 points. Jason Thompson also had 10 rebounds for the Kings, while Gay notched four steals against his former club.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and had eight assists for the Raptors, DeRozan added 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots in just 21 minutes as he battled foul trouble. Novak scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Toronto was 36-for-84 (42.9 percent) overall, 10-for-25 (40 percent) from deep and 19-for-24 (79.2 percent) at the foul line. Sacramento was 32-for-81 (39.5 percent), 4-for-12 (33.3 percent) and a whopping 41-for-51 (80.4 percent).
The Raptors had a 44-41 edge on the glass, but got outscored in the paint 46-38. The Kings also had an 18-12 edge in fast-break points and committed 11 turnovers, leading to 16 Toronto points. The Raptors turned it over 18 times, leading to 26 Sacramento points.
The Kings head east for their next four games, beginning Friday night at Boston for a 4:30 p.m. Pacific battle with the Celtics.