After Cousins scored all his points primarily against Tiago Splitter, the Spurs put the eight-time All-Defensive first-team member on the Kings center. The move immediately paid off as Cousins committed a backcourt violation while attempting to take an inbounds from Ben McLemore.
"(Cousins) is a tough guy to cover," Popovich said. "He's so big. But Timmy did a good job to make him work early and making it tough for him to get the shot off. His length helped on DeMarcus down the stretch."
Duncan then hit a free throw to complete a three-point play after drawing Cousins' second foul on the ensuing possession.
Cousins then shot an airball while attempting several spins and duck-and-under moves against Duncan. Parker followed with a 3 to put San Antonio up 108-102 with less than a minute remaining.
"We kind of got into a panic and we didn't execute our game well," Cousins said. "Defensively, we broke down a lot."
The Kings were 1 for 6 in scoring just two points in the final 3 minutes and committed two turnovers.
"We got a little selfish at that point," Gay said. "The ball stuck a little bit, you can't do that."
That wasn't the case in the third, with the Kings shooting 15 for 24 with Gay and Thomas combining for 27 points in the quarter.
Thomas scored 15 points in the third, going 3 for 3 on 3-pointers with Mills and Parker closely guarding.
NOTES: Kings F Carl Landry remains out with a torn left hip flexor muscle. Landry has not played this season. . The mascots for the Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks appeared in a skit during the first quarter to promote Monday's Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome, former home to the Spurs. ... Popovich was teased about his wardrobe selection, wearing a black jacket with a white checkered pattern. Spurs television analyst and former player Sean Elliott attempted to play tic-tac-toe on the jacket when Popovich appeared on the local coverage.