SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Keith Smart saw a black tarp that covered an advertisement fall from the scoreboard above center court and ran out to grab the piece of plastic while his Sacramento Kings played defense on the other end. Officials whistle the play dead, and Smart sprinted back to the bench like a running back holding a football, drawing roars from a rare sellout crowd.
While Sacramento's aging arena might be falling apart, the Kings managed to hold things together in their home opener.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Kings nearly blew a 16-point lead before holding off the Golden State Warriors 94-92 on Monday night to avoid an 0-4 start.
"I saw something that was a problem, and I had to rectify that problem immediately," joked Smart, the former Warriors coach. "And I think I did a good job. I was worried about slipping, though."
Sacramento steady enough.
Cousins outworked slow-footed Andrew Bogut and every other Warriors big man to help the Kings go on a 16-0 run during the third quarter to bust open a tie game. Bogut hardly looked to be at full strength, though he again refused to make excuses, saying "I'm playing in the NBA. If you are out on the court, you are healthy."
The 7-footer from Australia had 12 points and three rebounds while playing almost 19 minutes as Golden State's new franchise center — and his surgically repaired left ankle — eases back into shape.
Klay Thompson had 22 points and David Lee scored 20 to bring the Warriors within a point in the final minute. But Thompson missed a potential tying jumper and Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer as time expired to seal Golden State's first road loss this season.
"The game was lost when the lead went from 6 or 7 up to 16," Lee said. "From there, you pretty much have to play perfect basketball before you get back into it."
After losing the first three games on the road, a return to California's capital city ignited Sacramento's stagnant start this season.
The Kings wore their black road uniforms for the "blackout" theme and the Warriors stayed with their blue road jerseys. Fog machines filled the floor during pregame introductions, which included team dancers in black hoods and Medieval gear, and the announced crowd of 17,317 seemed to lift Sacramento throughout.
Thornton threw an alley-oop that rookie Thomas Robinson finished for a one-handed slam on an uncontested fast break, and Aaron Brooks followed with a 3-pointer to give Sacramento a 47-35 lead in the second quarter. Thornton finished with 16 points and Brooks had 12 points.
Bogut played the first 5:17 and sat out the rest of the first half. At one point, he also took the shoe off his left foot while sitting on Golden State's bench.
The Warriors tied the score at 56-all on Curry's 3-pointer with 8:52 remaining in the third quarter. But they didn't make another basket for more than six minutes, when the Kings scored 16 straight points behind a flurry of defense, rebounding and overall effort.
Knicks 110, 76ers 88
At Philadelphia, Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and JR Smith had 17 to lead New York past Philadelphia.
Raymond Felton scored 16 points and Tyson Chandler had 14 to lead the Knicks to their first 3-0 start since the 1999-2000 season. The Knicks beat the Sixers 100-84 on Sunday.
The Knicks busted the game open in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 21 points. They got a surprising third from 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace, who scored eight points and hit a couple of 3-pointers, including a 26-footer at the buzzer to end the quarter.
Heat 124, Suns 99
At Miami, LeBron James had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and Miami beat Phoenix.
Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and Ray Allen had 15 for the Heat, who are averaging 111.8 points in their first four games. Allen became the 24th player in NBA history to eclipse the 23,000-point mark when he made a free throw with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
Shannon Brown led Phoenix with 18 points off the bench, making five 3-pointers. Luis Scola had 15 points, Goran Dragic finished with 13 points and nine assists, and Marcin Gortat scored 12 for the Suns.
Timberwolves 107, Nets 96
At New York, rookie guard Alexey Shved and Chase Budinger led a furious rally from 22 points down, and Minnesota stunned Brooklyn.
Shved made the go-ahead basket with 2:35 remaining and had a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter after going scoreless for the first three. The Timberwolves scored the final 11 points in an impressive rally on the second night of back-to-back games. Seemingly out of the game early in the second half, they overwhelmed the Nets in the fourth quarter with a brilliant effort from their bench.
Shved, a point guard from Russia, hit from in the lane, then Nikola Pekovic scored inside and Budinger made a 3-pointer with 38 seconds to go, making it 103-96 in front of a stunned crowd in the second game at the new Barclays Center.
Grizzlies 103, Jazz 94
At Memphis, Tenn., Zach Randolph had 16 points and 18 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 22 points and Memphis capped a day of celebration by beating Utah.
Before the game, the Grizzlies introduced their new owners with NBA commissioner David Stern on hand.
Mike Conley added 16 points, Rudy Gay had 15 and Quincy Pondexter 14 for Memphis, which won its second straight this season after opening up with two games in California.
The Grizzlies also picked up where they left off last season by winning their 12th straight regular season game and extending their franchise record.
Spurs 101, Pacers 79
At San Antonio, Gary Neal scored 17 points and San Antonio set a franchise record for best start to a season with its fourth straight win.
Tim Duncan added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs (4-0). DeJuan Blair added 14 points, Stephen Jackson 12 and Danny Green 10.
Former Spurs guard George Hill led Indiana with 15 points. Paul George added 14 points and David West had 10.
Cavaliers 108, Clippers 101
At Los Angeles, rookie Dion Waiters hit seven 3-pointers and scored 28 points, helping Cleveland stave off a fourth-quarter rally by Los Angeles.
Kyrie Irving added 24 points, Tyler Zeller had 15 points and Anderson Varejao had 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped a two-game skid.
Waiters set career highs in points and 3-pointers in his fourth NBA game.