Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Power Balance Pavilion.
The Kings narrowed a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to five points, but could get no closer as their two-game winning streak ended with a 106-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Power Balance Pavilion.
Lacking the buoyant energy they displayed against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Kings fell behind in the third quarter with their starters on the floor.
Head coach Keith Smart went with a mix of starters and bench players down the stretch looking for a spark. Marcus Thornton's three-pointer with 3:32 left in the game pulled the Kings within five points at 94-89, but the Hawks pulled away from there.
"I just thought we had too many mistakes we made," Smart said. "Based on how we had played the past couple games and everything we had done, sharing the ball, moving the ball, we just didn't play that way.
"They made some plays and we just didn't have what was necessary for the game. We have to have super energy to start games off and we were flat. We didn't have that."
Hawks forward Josh Smith scored 19 of his team-high 28 points in the second half and added six rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Joe Johnson scored 21 points for Atlanta, guard Jeff Teague scored 16 and center Zaza Pachulia had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 28 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter with the outcome all but decided.
John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette added 14 and 12 points off the bench, respectively. Tyreke Evans had eight points on 4-of-14 shooting and a team-high seven assists.
The Kings (14-27) led at halftime, 52-51, after shooting 52.5 percent in the first half, but shot 40.5 percent in the second half.
Atlanta shot 51.2 percent for the game. Smith and Johnson combined to go 13-of-21 from the floor and score 35 points in the second half, as the Hawks (24-17) overcame 17 turnovers and a rough night at the free-throw line (15-of-23).
The Hawks also scored 23 points off of 16 Kings turnovers.
"We just couldn't get it going, especially on stops," Evans said. "We just played a half-court game. We wanted to run and we just couldn't do that tonight."