SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With his team trailing, Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas knew he had to be aggressive in the fourth quarter.
Thomas became a dominant player in the fourth, scoring 17 of his 23 points to help rally the Kings to a 117-111 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
John Salmons also was a huge factor in the fourth quarter for the Kings, getting 10 of his 23 points. He made four 3-pointers overall and converted all seven of his free throws in the fourth.
Thomas was perfect from the free-throw line as well, making all nine attempts in the fourth quarter and finishing 13 of 13 overall. He also had six assists and got the better of Houston point guard Jeremy Lin.
"I tried to let the game come to me early and it backfired a little bit," said Thomas, who sparked a Kings win on Saturday night by scoring 25 points in a win over Utah.
"I wanted to force the issue when I got back in the game in the fourth quarter."
The Kings were trailing by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Thomas led an offense that was difficult for the Rockets to match in the fourth quarter.
Houston was outscored 17-7 over a four-minute stretch when the Kings took control of the game.
The Kings converted 26 of 27 free throws in winning their second straight game.
"He (Thomas) got into the paint and got fouled a lot," said Lin, who fouled out in the fourth quarter. "He just did a good job of drawing fouls with pump fakes. He had a real good, efficient game."
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points despite sitting out much of the second half with foul trouble. Jason Thompson scored 12 points, and Francisco Garcia came off the bench and had 11, including six points in the fourth quarter when the Kings outscored Houston 33-25.
Former Rockets player Chuck Hayes played most of the fourth quarter for Cousins. He was a critical factor in slowing down the Rockets and he also contributed eight points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
"Chuck was like a catalyst for our defense. When he's in there he's always giving us a lot of support at the defensive end," Thomas said.
James Harden had 30 points, six rebounds and four assists for Houston, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Patrick Patterson scored 18 points and Omer Asik had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Carlos Delfino added 15 points and Lin finished with 12 points and six assists.
"We didn't defend very well all night with anybody on the floor," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "They broke us down, got us in the paint, collapsed us, threw it up and made it."
The Rockets pulled within a basket, but Salmons, who had 10 fourth-quarter points, was quickly fouled and made both free throws for a 115-111 lead with nine seconds remaining.
A late jumper by Harden was off the mark and the Kings secured the rebound.
"Our group on the floor in the fourth quarter did all the right things defensively," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "They turned the game around and got us the win."
Fouled on a 3-point attempt by Harden, Salmons converted all three free throws to put the Kings up 111-107. Fouled with 25 seconds left, Thomas made a pair of free throws for a 113-107 lead.