SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Miami Heat hoped to rest three banged-up regulars and lean on LeBron James to steal a road victory before visiting one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Instead, the Sacramento Kings spoiled those plans — and James hurt himself in the process.
DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 17 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 26 and the Kings rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat the short-handed Heat 108-103 in overtime Friday night.
"I thought our guys accepted the challenge," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said.
James said he strained his right groin before finishing with 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as Miami's six-game winning streak ended. Whether he plays at Portland on Saturday night is uncertain.
"It ain't feeling too good right now," James said.
The two-time defending NBA champions played without Dwyane Wade (resting his knees), Ray Allen (right knee tendinitis) and Chris Andersen (sore back). James stayed mostly on the perimeter in the second half when his injury started to swell.
The Kings capitalized on the opportunity.
Isaiah Thomas had 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to help Sacramento (9-19) upend the Heat (22-7) a week after a blowout loss in Miami. Gay made a tying jumper in the final minutes of regulation, and the Kings quickly pulled away in the extra period to bring the sellout crowd of 17,317 roaring to its feet.
"This is a new team, and for us to come out and perform against one of the best teams in the league, it's a pretty good feeling," Cousins said.
Malone even called out his players' mistakes publicly following a loss to New Orleans on Monday. He gave his players a couple of days off around Christmas and asked them, "What type of team do we want to be this season?"
"The biggest thing is we responded," Gay said.
The Kings overcame 23 turnovers and some lackluster defense at the start to pull off the comeback. Sacramento outshot Miami 49.4 percent to 44.2 percent and outrebounded the Heat 51-35.
A day after winning The Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, James helped the Heat build a big lead early but couldn't hold off a late Kings rally by himself. He also appeared to tweak his left ankle when he fell into the crowd after missing a layup in the second quarter, but he said his ankle felt fine.
James set up Chris Bosh for a dunk, then made one of two free throws to put the Heat ahead 89-85 with 2:42 remaining in the fourth. A few plays later, Mario Chalmers was called for a flagrant foul after pushing Cousins to the ground. Cousins made both free throws, and Gay hit a tying turnaround jumper.