Kings hold off Wizards as Fredette delivers

Sports Xchange

January 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm.

Sacramento Kings point guard Jimmer Fredette (7) drives in against Washington Wizards point guard A.J. Price (12) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Washington Wizards 95-94. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Kings received strong contributions from three starters and a timely boost from reserve guard Jimmer Fredette Wednesday night .

That was just enough to hold on for a 95-94 victory over the Washington Wizards before an announced crowd of 11,611 at Sleep Train Arena.

The victory enabled the Kings to close out their five-game home stand with two straight wins, while the Wizards opened their five-game road swing with a disappointing defeat.

The Kings (15-24) were led by DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and John Salmons, who each scored 21 points. Cousins led all rebounders with 16, while Evans contributed eight rebounds and eight assists.

Fredette was the last member of the Kings to get in the game, but his 12 points and spacing created on the floor helped Sacramento get over the hump.

“Jimmer did a good job because he didn’t think he was going to get into the game,” said Evans. “Everybody (other than Travis Outlaw) had been (substituted) in. But I told him to stay ready and he did.”

Fredette played all of his 21 minutes in the second half and his 5 of 11 field-goal shooting (2 of 3 from 3-point range) was sorely needed.

Kings coach Keith Smart admitted he was searching for a spark and found one in Fredette.

“That young man is growing,” the coach said. “I (sat) Isaiah Thomas because he just wasn’t himself with his normal energy. I went with Aaron Brooks for a little and didn’t see things going right. He probably could have been better if I had given him more minutes, but I thought I needed a shooter.

“We got that. Jimmer hit a couple of threes. When we posted up Cousins, the ball came right to (Fredette).”

Washington coach Randy Wittman thought his team threw away a chance for victory.

“We beat ourselves there (Wednesday) night,” Wittman said. (The Kings) made a play and we couldn’t make a play. It’s too bad. I thought we put ourselves in position to win and we walked away without it. It hurts.”

Martell Webster made a 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the game to give Washington a 94-91 lead, but Salmons stuck a 3-pointer 14 seconds later to tie the game at 94-94.

Washington’s rookie first-round pick Bradley Beal led all scorers with 26 points. It was the second time in as many games that a rookie guard had established a career high against the Kings. Cleveland’s Dion Waiters scored 33 Monday night in a 124-118 loss to the Kings.

The Wizards controlled this contest throughout until the Kings chipped away in the fourth quarter and got to 91-91 with 1:48 remaining.

Beal made 6 of 7 3-point field-goal attempts as the Kings inexplicably left him in the short corners.

“I was open more than usual,” Beal said. “I don’t know why. I know it’s nice to play with John (Wall) because he’s a natural point guard. He’s always looking pass-first. And yes, he’s fast.”

Wall played in just his third game of the season as he attempts to bounce back from a stress injury in his left patella. He showed no lack of speed or quickness and put up 14 points, 10 assists and three steals.

However, Wall missed two free throws with the score tied with 30.4 seconds left. Kings swingman Evans was fouled by Nene with 11.4 seconds left and made the first of two free throws for the 95-94 margin of victory.

NOTES: The Kings and Wizards played just once during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Sacramento won 115-107 at Washington. … Wednesday night’s game ended a five-game Kings homestand. They were 1-3 entering the finale. … Nine of Sacramento’s next 11 games are away from home, including a three-game road swing that starts Friday in Memphis. … Fredette entered the game second in the league in free-throw shooting (91.4 percent) and 10th in 3-point field-goal accuracy (42.7 percent). … Smart has been following the Wizards. “The biggest thing for them was to get healthy. When they get Nene back, they get a veteran center who has played against the best big men the league has to offer. Then John Wall comes back, and we know he’s a talent. The guys who played while they had injuries got experience, so it helped their team all around.”