SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Earl Boykins was the smallest player on the court but he played the biggest role in helping the Milwaukee Bucks rally to beat Sacramento.
The 5-foot-5 Boykins scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and Milwaukee took control late for an 84-79 victory over the skidding Kings on Thursday night.
The win was the second straight for the Bucks without starting point guard Brandon Jennings, who underwent foot surgery Monday and will miss four to six weeks. That's meant more time for Boykins, a 12-year veteran who has played for nine NBA teams but was on the court only sparingly until Jennings got hurt.
Coming off a 22-point game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Boykins used his speed and quickness to elude defenders in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee overcame a four-point deficit, outscoring the Kings 22-15 to hand them a seventh straight loss.
``My teammates have confidence in me. They were willing to give me the ball,' Boykins said. ``They were setting great screens for me and that's how I was getting open. Coach is going to play guys who are playing well. Tonight I just happened to be playing well, but the difference was defense.'
The Bucks also did a nice job at the defensive end, where they frustrated the Kings not only in the fourth quarter but throughout the game.
Sacramento committed 25 turnovers and shot 36 percent in dropping to an NBA-worst 3-13 at home. Andrew Bogut and Larry Sanders each blocked four shots and the Bucks had nine total.
``It was an ugly game. We were terrible offensively,' Bogut said. ``But our defense was outstanding, especially in the second half. We were hustling and taking charges. We're a defensive team first. You can have a bad game offensively like we did tonight, but when you play good defense you can still win games.'
Bogut had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Keyon Dooling added 14 points and John Salmons had 12 for the Bucks.
Beno Udrih had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Kings. Samuel Dalembert fouled out late in the fourth quarter with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Sacramento squandered a fourth-quarter lead for the third straight game - they blew a 16-point cushion Tuesday and lost to Golden State in overtime. The Kings have lost 21 of 23 and own the NBA's worst record (5-22).
``We all felt going into the fourth quarter we could pull it off,' said Carl Landry, who had nine points and a career-high 12 rebounds. ``After such a big disappointment against the Warriors, we felt we were going to pull it off, but we were unable to execute in the fourth and it became the same outcome.'
With the Bucks trailing by six, Bogut responded with two straight baskets to spark a 12-0 run, putting Milwaukee ahead 81-75 at the 2:53 mark. The Kings went scoreless for nearly 6 minutes before Tyreke Evans made a basket to cut the deficit to four.
``We struggled most of the game. It was not pretty for either team,' Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. ``But that happens. You need to make big plays at the end and that's what we did. We made just enough shots and our defense carried us in the fourth quarter.'
Francisco Garcia made two 3-pointers to open the fourth and Omri Casspi added another at the 8:24 mark, giving Sacramento a 75-69 lead.
Udrih got the sluggish Kings going offensively in the third quarter. The veteran guard, who had a career-high 34 points in his previous game, scored eight points in the third when the Kings overcame a four-point halftime deficit to take a 64-62 lead.
Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins was removed from the starting lineup one day after coach Paul Westphal fined him an undisclosed amount of money for making a choking gesture at Golden State guard Reggie Williams following a missed free throw late in regulation.
``Everything we're trying to do with DeMarcus is looking through the lens to what's best for DeMarcus and what's best for the team, both long-term and for these games,' Westphal said before the game. ``It all factors in. I think it's important that he learns how to be a professional. That goes from his concentration at meetings to his effort in practice. It's all a part of professionalism.'
Cousins, who finished with two points in 13 minutes, entered at the 4:15 mark of the first quarter but quickly went back to the bench just more than a minute later after being called for consecutive offensive fouls against ex-King Jon Brockman.
``I'm not going to speak out about that (not starting),' Cousins said. ``I knew it would be up and down, but that's how it is in the NBA. Right now we have to look for some type of positive. The only thing right now is that we can grow from it and learn from it.'
Milwaukee was coming off an inspiring road win Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bucks limited the Lakers to 33 second-half points in an 98-79 victory.
Salmons scored 10 points Thursday in helping the Bucks to a 43-39 lead at halftime.
Dalembert had 11 points for the Kings, who shot 35 percent and were outscored in the second period 19-14.
NOTES: Drew Gooden (plantar fasciitis) and Corey Maggette (concussion-like symptoms) sat out for the Bucks. ... Evans missed all eight shots and was scoreless through three quarters. He finished with four points. ... Sanders blocked three shots in 10 first-half minutes.
The Associated Press News Service
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