The Sacramento Kings couldn't figure out how to put the hammer down on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Given the looming possibility of a team sale and move to Seattle, it made sense that the Kings appeared to be in disarray.
Initially, the Kings appeared to ignore the specter of upheaval, but the Mavericks ended their five-game losing streak with a 117-112 overtime victory before an announced crowd of 14,011.
None of the Kings players has been in Sacramento longer than swingman Francisco Garcia. The seventh-year player from Louisville said he can't concern himself with the rumors.
"We've heard this before, a couple of times," Garcia said. "Whatever happens happens. It's not like we can do anything. I hope we stay here. I really do. But what if I worry about it? It won't make a bit of difference."
Small forward John Salmons had just gotten over the rumors about a possible move to Virginia Beach, Va.
"The day before, it was Virginia Beach, and I heard it was not going to happen. So I relaxed for a minute," Salmons said. "And then the next day, there was all this stuff about Seattle.
"I was shocked. I mean, I always knew there is a possibility that something could happen with the team, but I didn't think it was going to happen like that."
Salmons said he'll be prepared if the team is sold and moves.
"It's like being traded to Seattle," he said, "if it happens. I've been traded a couple of times, so I know what it feels like. We just go where the team is and play."
Assistant coach Bobby Jackson has been a member of the organization for more than a decade.
"I didn't have any reaction when I first heard," Jackson said. "I wanted to know as much information as I could find. But after that I knew I could do no more. I can't worry about anything I can't control, and we don't know anything and can't do anything.
"We've just got to prepare the team as best we can and be prepared for whatever happens, if something does happen."
What happened Thursday night was the Kings tossed away a great chance for victory.
"We had the game," said Tyreke Evans, who scored 20 points, "but we never could pull together like we needed to to take control."
The Kings held a 71-54 lead in the third quarter, but the Mavericks methodically took advantage of Sacramento mistakes, poor offensive possessions and Swiss cheese defense.
O.J. Mayo led the Mavericks (14-23) with 24 points. Vince Carter scored 23, and Shawn Marion had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (13-23) with 29 points before fouling out on a flagrant foul in the final minute of overtime.
The Mavs got their first lead at 94-93 when Mayo scored a layin with 2:15 left.
The Kings appeared headed for defeat before Isaiah Thomas scored on a 24-jumper for three points with 9.1 seconds left to tie the game at 101.
Dallas had a chance to win at the buzzer in regulation, but a short jumper by Darren Collison missed.
The Kings led from start to the two-minute mark in the fourth, but never were able to get out of their way. They shot better than 50 percent from the field for much of the game, but they hurt their cause with 20 turnovers.
Conversely, they never were able to force many turnovers by the Mavericks, who were able to stay in the game with a rebounding advantage, particularly at the offensive end.
In the fourth quarter, they slowly began to creep up on the Kings. Sacramento coach Keith Smart went to the unique lineup of guards Aaron Brooks, Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton along with Evans and power forward Thomas Robinson.
The Mavericks kept taking the ball to the basket. Mayo and Carter did the most damage. The Kings could stop neither of the players.