SACRAMENTO -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson couldn't ask for much more from his second unit, though he tried in Golden State's 114-106 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
The Warriors' reserves -- the Dubstitutes -- played almost the entire fourth quarter, save for a few seconds at the end. The quintet of guard Nate Robinson, swingman Klay Thompson, forwards Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire and big man Ekpe Udoh erased an 11-point deficit and forced overtime. But the Warriors couldn't finish the frenetic comeback.
Kings guard Tyreke Evans scored five of his 26 points in overtime, including the dagger 3-pointer with just under a minute left.
"Our bench was incredible. The effort was outstanding," Jackson said. "I look forward to the day where I'm not a coach standing over there thinking do I stick with these guys or do I get my starters back in the game. That's not a good feeling. You're supposed to have guys that you know when you're called on, they're ready to wrap it up. Our bench just played at a different level."
The Warriors missed a valuable opportunity. A win would've given Golden State its first three-game win streak of the season. Sacramento was one of only three games the Warriors have left before the All-Star break against teams with losing records.
Instead, they're heading home to two days off with a bitter loss stuck in their teeth.
Jackson -- who called Saturday's game a "big game" and
Golden State led 54-53 at the break after closing the second quarter with five straight points. But whatever momentum the Warriors had was squandered over the next 12 minutes. Led by guard Marcus Thornton, who scored 18 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter, the Kings outscored the Warriors 34-22 in the third quarter.
Disappointed in his starters' performance in the third quarter, Jackson turned to the Dubstitutes. They responded.
They hustled on defense, such as when Rush blocked Thornton's fast-break layup. They passed the ball to the open man, leading to four 3-pointers by Thompson in the fourth quarter, his third putting Golden State up 95-94 with 4:18 left.
They made things happen, such as Robinson's steal and perfect execution of a fast break, leading to a dunk by Rush that had the Warriors up 99-97 with two minutes remaining.
With a win in reach, Jackson stuck with the reserves. No Monta Ellis. No Stephen Curry. No Dorell Wright. No Andris Biedrins. No David Lee until the final seconds. The weight of the game was on the Dubstitutes.
They rewarded Jackson by forcing overtime, thanks to a Thompson 3-pointer with nine seconds left.
"They didn't make a trade at the end of the third quarter," Jackson said. "(Sacramento had) 34 points in the third quarter. Somehow, in the fourth quarter, with the same exact team that they had, without making a trade, we held them to 15. Because we were disciplined enough to get stops, to gang rebound and to take care of the basketball."
But in overtime, with Ellis and Curry back in the game (thanks largely to a groin injury that kept Robinson out to start overtime), the Warriors had nothing.
Kings swingman John Salmons knocked down a 3-pointer, and forward Jason Thompson followed with a hook in the lane, putting Golden State down five with 2:47 left in overtime.
Meanwhile, Golden State couldn't get it going. With the starting backcourt of Ellis and Curry joining three reserves, the Warriors missed their first seven shots of overtime. Curry missed three jumpers, Ellis two.
Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins (21 points, 20 rebounds) banked in a jumper just before the shot clock expired, putting Sacramento up 109-102 with just over two minutes left. After a Curry turnover, Evans got inside for a layup.
"It's got to sting, and we've got to find a way to make the proper adjustments" Jackson said. "We've been playing great, and this was a great opportunity to come here and get a 'W.' We didn't finish."
He had one of his worst stretches of the season in overtime: 0-for-4 shooting with an untimely turnover. But Jackson took the blame.
"It was unfair to him," Jackson said.
Jackson said he should have used rookie point guard Charles Jenkins to replace Robinson, who was in the locker room getting his left groin wrapped. By the time he checked back in, with 1:52 left, Golden State was down by seven.
Curry, who sat the final three minutes of the third quarter and all of the fourth, said he was disappointed in his contribution.
"I'm not used to (being in that situation)," Curry said. "But if he calls your number, you've got to do the best you can."