SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Forward Paul George scored eight of his team-high 36 points in overtime, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 116-111 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Guard Marcus Thornton scored a career-high tying 42 points and guard Isaiah Thomas added 38 for the Kings (15-27), who played without injured center DeMarcus Cousins and small forward Rudy Gay.
Pacers guard Lance Stephenson had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Forward David West scored 22 points and center Roy Hibbert had 11 rebounds and 10 points for Indiana (34-8).
George made a four-point play with 15 seconds left, tying the score 103-103. He took an inbounds pass, drilled a 3-point shot from the right wing, drew a foul from Kings forward Derrick Williams and made his free throw.
Thomas missed an 18-foot jumper under pressure and the game went to overtime.
West hit a 3-point shot, putting the Pacers up 108-106 with 3:56 left in overtime. After a Kings turnover, George extended Indiana’s lead to 110-106, capping a fast break with an emphatic dunk.
The Kings pulled to 112-111 on Thomas’ jump shot with 1:38 left, but Stephenson scored from close range, giving Indiana a 114-11 lead with 1:20 left. The Kings turned the ball over twice and George made two free throws, extending Indiana’s lead to 116-111 with 12 seconds left.
The Kings played without two injured starters — Cousins (sprained right ankle) and Gay (strained left Achilles) — who were hurt Wednesday night against Houston. Cousins averages 22.6 points and 11.6 rebounds — both team highs — and Gay averages 19.8 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Aaron Gray started for Cousins, and Williams started for Gay. Entering the game, Williams was averaging 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds and Gray was averaging 1.3 points and 2.0 rebounds.
The Pacers were coming off a 124-100 road loss on Wednesday night to Phoenix, their worst defeat of the season and narrowly avoided just their second two-game losing streak.
The Kings took an 84-79 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Pacers refused to go away. West cut Sacramento’s lead to 95-91 with just under five minutes left by making a jump hook. West scored again from the key, making it 95-93, and the Pacers pulled even on George’s fast-break dunk with just over three minutes left.
Indiana grabbed a 97-95 lead with 2:38 left on West’s 13-foot jump shot, the Pacers’ eighth straight point.
Thomas ended that drought with a jump shot from the corner on an out-of-bounds play, knotting the score 97-97 with 2:10 left. Then with 1:28 to play, Thomas drained a 3-point shot, putting the Kings back ahead 100-97.
After Stephenson made two free throws with 48.7 seconds left, cutting the Kings’ lead to 100-99, Williams hit one of two from the line, making it 101-99 with 34.7 remaining.
The Kings had a defensive stop and Thomas made two free throws, extending Sacramento’s lead to 103-99 with 18 seconds left.
But George forced overtime with his four-point play.
Thornton quickly filled the Kings’ offensive void when the game began, scoring 26 points in the first half and lifting Sacramento to a 60-50 lead. Thomas added 13 first-half points.
Thornton had 22 points in the first quarter — the highest total in a quarter by a King this season — leading Sacramento to a 37-26 edge. He made 9 of 12 shots from the field and 4 of 6 from long range.
Thornton played only the final 5:58 of the second quarter but had enough time to score four points and break his previous season high of 24 points set Nov. 13 against Brooklyn.
Then in the third quarter, Thornton poured in 11 more points, helping the Kings take an 84-79 lead into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Kings C DeMarcus Cousins (sprained left ankle) and F Rudy Gay (strained left Achilles tendon) did not play against Indiana and, according to coach Michael Malone, might miss at least one more game. “It’s honestly too early to tell,” Malone said before the game. “I know DeMarcus is dying to play. The good thing is both MRIs didn’t reveal anything to us serious. So I’m hoping (they return) in the next day or so, but it could be a couple games. We’ll have to re-evaluate it tomorrow with our training staff and see what they’re saying.” … Despite his team’s injuries, Malone said he still planned to “slowly increase” backup F Carl Landry’s playing time as he continues his comeback from a torn left hip flexor muscle. Landry appeared in just his third game this season Friday. “I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize his recovery and all the work he’s put in,” Malone said. … Pacers F Paul George appeared in his first game since being voted a starter for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star game and being named in the pool of 28 players for the U.S. men’s basketball national team. “Couldn’t be more proud,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “The kid has worked, he cares. He cares about all the right things. He represents all the right things.” … Pacers F Solomon Hill was inactive for the game.
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