Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/12
SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings' home opener went well on the court, but not so well above it. DeMarcus Cousins scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Aaron Brooks scored six points down the stretch to lift the Kings over the Golden State Warriors 94-92 Monday night at sold-out Sleep Train Arena. It was the Kings' first victory of the season after they opened with three losses on the road. The win wasn't sealed until Golden State's Stephen Curry missed a desperation 3-pointer off an inbounds pass at the buzzer. The 28th season opener in the California capital came with a lot of uncertainty, specifically if the Kings would remain in the city long term amid speculation that club owners Joe and Gavin Maloof want to move. The loyal Sacramento fan base received glimpses of just how outdated the arena is. Three black tarps on the overhead jumbotron, covering the logos of sponsors that declined to renew deals, fell to the floor due to a bad tape job. The first fell to midcourt in the second quarter and prompted Kings coach Keith Smart to race over, retrieve it and playfully run off the floor as if a tailback with a ball in the open field. When the third tarp fell in the fourth quarter, Kings fans started to chant, "New Arena." The locals had reason to cheer their team's performance in the final minutes. Brooks sank running shots in the lane with 1:54 left to play for a 91-86 lead and with 1:15 to go for a 93-88 advantage. Two Klay Thompson free throws brought the Warriors (2-2) within 93-92 with 28 seconds to go, but Thompson missed an elbow jumper with 4.8 seconds left. James Johnson made a free throw to give Sacramento a 94-92 lead with 1.2 seconds remaining. Thompson torched the Kings the last time the teams met in a regular-season game, scoring a career-high 31 points in a 111-108 Golden State victory on March 24. He had 22 points Monday. David Lee added 20 points and six rebounds for Golden State, which also received 12 points from both Andrew Bogut and Curry. It wasn't until Curry's last-play miss that fans could exhale -- and then cheer. Marcus Thornton scored 16 points for the Kings. Brooks, a summer free agent signee, added 12, including runners that his coach says he makes in practice, too. Brooks' production helped Sacramento overcome a poor outing by Tyreke Evans, who had three points on 1-of-9 shooting. "We wanted the crowd to get their money's worth, all the way to the last drop," Smart said. "Brooks is a late-game player. A team that can shoot the ball, no lead is safe, and they can shoot. We had a crunch-time moment, and we had a stop, or they miss, and we got it. The force was with us tonight." Cousins recovered from a sluggish 9-for-27 shooting outing Sunday in a double-overtime loss at Indiana, making 10 of 16 shots against Golden State. He was more agile and active than his Warriors counterpart, Andrew Bogut, who still looked a step slow after recovering from ankle surgery. Bogut had 12 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. The Kings rode a 16-0, third-quarter run to a 14-point lead. Cousins scored the final five points in that stretch, including two drives against Bogut. "That's my advantage against a lot of other bigs -- quickness," Cousins said. "We toughed it out tonight. We're capable of this." Warriors forward David Lee had 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, but his team managed just two blocked shots, a season low. Golden State coach Mark Jackson said the game did not come down to one play. "You don't want to lose a game on a last shot attempt, or one extra effort play, and that's the difference between winning or losing, not that last-shot miss," Jackson said. NOTES: The Warriors sought to start 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1994-95. ... Sacramento hasn't opened 0-4 overall since 2008, when the club finished an NBA-worst 17-65.
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