Kings forward JJ Hickson with a dunk, finished with 19 points in Sacramento's 95-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Power Balance Pavilion on Monday night. (PHOTO: US PRESSWIRE)
Warriors guard Stephen Curry suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday night's loss to the Sacramento Kings. (Photo: US Presswire)
SACRAMENTO, CA - The Kings made their return to Power Balance Pavilion on Monday night and evened their preseason record beating the Golden State Warriors 95-91, who lost Stephen Curry to injury.
Marcus Thornton hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 27.1 seconds left to help put away the Warriors, finishing with 21 points.
"I just caught it and let it go and thank God it went in," Thornton said. "There's a confidence that my teammates and coaching staff have in me whether I make it or miss it they'll tell me 'shoot it again'."
JJ Hickson finished with 19 points and nine rebounds for Sacramento, who lost to the Warriors in Oakland last Saturday to open the preseason 107-96. Hickson struggled throughout that game and said that performance was in the back of his mind entering Monday's exhibition.
"It was real important - as a team we didn't play good, individually, I didn't play good (on Saturday)," Hickson said. "I think that came from the time off from the lockout."
Curry was injured in the second quarter after rolling his right ankle while defending Kings rookie guard Jimmer Fredette. Curry had to be helped off by two teammates to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle following an x-ray.
Curry left the arena on crutches after the game, declining to speak with reporters. He finished with seven points and five assists in 15 minutes.
The Warriors were led in scoring by David Lee who had a game high 30 points and 12 rebounds, while star Monta Ellis scored 19 points.
Sacramento went on a 9-0 run to put the Kings up 84-81 with 5:09 to play. Ellis gave Golden State a 91-89 lead as Sacramento's Tyreke Evans was called for goaltending with 1:15 left in the game, before Thornton's shot.
Evans chipped in 15 points but committed seven of Sacramento's staggering 27 turnovers. Center DeMarcus Cousins who made several big plays in the closing minutes of the game, led the team with nine turnovers.
Fredette ended his first game in Sacramento with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
"It was great to play in front of the home fans, even though it was just preseason, they were still fired up to be here and see Kings basketball" Fredette said.
The Kings now face almost a week of final practice days before they open the NBA regular season. They will practice Wednesday, then have three straight days of two-a-day practices before they enjoy Christmas Day off.
Sacramento will then open their season on Monday, Dec. 26 at Power Balance Pavilion, against Kobe Bryant and the rival Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors will open their regular season when they host Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Christmas Day at 7:30 p.m.
Dalembert to Return to Sacramento?
According to FOX Sports Florida's Chris Tomasson free agent center Samuel Dalembert anticipates he will re-sign with the Kings.
"If things work out, everything structurally (with the contract), it will be Sacramento," Dalembert told Tomasson on Monday. "It's close."
The Kings, who now lack a sizable and physical big-man presence after voiding the contract of Modesto native Chuck Hayes on Sunday, who failed his physical due to a heart abnormality, are pretty excited to welcome back the 31-year old Dalembert.
As news spread across the Kings locker room on Monday night following their victory over the Warriors, players were encouraged by the report.
''I think we need another big man with (Hayes) out,' Evans said with a big smile as he found out. "Sam blocks shots and has a great presence in the paint. That would be a great pick-up for us, I think Sam would bring a lot of energy and defense."
Tomasson reported Dalembert was willing to now sign a shorter deal with the Kings, likely one or two years, and is happy to be on the verge of returning to Sacramento.
By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10Sean