Terence Davis was having a career night. De’Aaron Fox was doing his thing. The Kings were up by nine with a little over two minutes remaining, but none of that was enough against a 10-win team that came into Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Detroit Pistons ended the game with an 11-0 run and former Kings guard Cory Joseph hit the game-winning shot, giving his team to a 133-131 victory Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings lost despite shooting 52.4% from the field and 44.4% from 3-point range. The Pistons came in 28th in the NBA in scoring at 101.8 points per game, but they scored a season-high 133 against Sacramento, shooting 50.5% from the field with 15 3-pointers. Interim Kings coach Alvin Gentry was flabbergasted at his team’s inability to get a stop in the final minutes of the game.
“We played well enough to win the game,” Gentry said. “We just didn’t finish the game.”
Saddiq Bey had 30 points and seven rebounds for the Pistons (11-33), who were coming off a 16-point loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to score 22 points. Joseph finished with 19 points and nine assists. Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, scored 13 points before fouling out.
Davis had a career-high 35 points and six rebounds for the Kings (18-29). He went 11 of 23 from the field and 7 of 13 from 3-point range, eclipsing his previous career high of 31 points.
“It means nothing without a win,” Davis said.
Fox finished with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He made 10 of 20 from the field and 7 of 8 at the free-throw line.
The Kings were up 131-122 when Bey made a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 2:10 remaining. Olynyk followed with another 3-pointer. Bey converted a three-point play. That set the stage for Joseph, who hit a pull-up jumper to put the Pistons up 133-131 with 26.5 seconds to play.
The Kings still had a chance to win, but Davis missed a 3-pointer with 16.4 seconds left and Fox missed a mid-range jumper as time expired. The Pistons made their last five field-goal attempts while the Kings went 0 of 4 from the field over the last 1:19.
“When you’re up 10 or 11, it’s not about what you’re doing on the offensive end,” Fox said. “It’s about being able to finish the game with defense.”