Updated at: 01/19/2013 9:07 PM
By STEVE REED
(AP) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Marcus Thornton scored 18 points off the bench, Tyreke Evans came up big down the stretch, and the Sacramento Kings held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 97-93 Saturday night for their third win in four games.
After scoring just 69 points in a 16-point loss to Memphis a night earlier, the Kings made sure there would be not be another offensive letdown.
They led most of the way but needed a late burst from Evans, who scored six of the team’s last nine points in the final four minutes.
Evans finished with 16 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and James Johnson chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds for the Kings (16-25).
Kemba Walker had a chance to tie the game but shot an airball on a 3-point attempt with 3 seconds left as Charlotte lost its 14th straight game at home. Walker had 14 points and 10 assists.
Ramon Sessions scored 16 points for Charlotte (10-30) while Gerald Henderson chipped in with 15.
The Kings led most of the game and took a 78-76 lead into the fourth quarter.
After being on the verge of taking the lead most of the quarter, the Bobcats finally jumped ahead with 3:35 left on a transition layup by Henderson off a nice feed from Walker.
The Bobcats had a chance to push the lead to four but were called for a shot clock violation at the worst time possible.
Evans tied the game with a pair of free throws on the other end.
Both teams went more than two minutes during an ugly stretch of turnover-filled basketball before Evans took advantage of Hakim Warrick’s turnover and scored an easy layup on a fast break for a 92-90 lead with 1:19 left in the game to put the Kings ahead for good.
After Warrick missed a turnaround layup, Evans scored again inside on a spin move to make it 94-90.
A three-point play by Sessions cut the Sacramento lead to one with 40 seconds left, but Isaiah Thomas pushed the lead 96-93 with a pair of free throws with 18.4 seconds left.
The Bobcats set up for a 3-point shot, but Walker missed everything on a play that never developed. Thomas put the game away by making the second of his two free throws with 2.4 seconds left.
The Bobcats came in having finally earned their 10th win over the season _ three more than last season _ on Friday night at Orlando. But the Kings used a 10-2 start to start to build a 51-46 at halftime lead behind Thornton’s 12 points off the bench.
NOTES: Kings rookie first-round draft pick Thomas Robinson played only minute in the first quarter before being taken to the locker room to receive stitches after getting hit in the mouth. He did not return to the game.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)