"We're playing the San Antonio Spurs; they're going to make their runs," Gay said. "They're going to make tough plays. They do that time and time again. It's not we're surprised that they did that. But we still had a chance to win and I still wish I had the shot back."
After scoring 22 points primarily against Marco Belinelli, Gay was limited to one in the fourth with the 6-foot-8 Diaw guarding him. Gay missed a potential game-winning, 15-foot jumper over Diaw with 0.5 seconds remaining.
"The rim. The rim," Gay said when asked what he saw on the final shot. "I mean, honestly, I wish I had that one back; I don't think I miss that too many other times."
After being outplayed by Gay and Thomas for much of the game, the veteran Spurs took over down the stretch to end their longest losing streak of the season.
Parker and Duncan scored San Antonio's final eight points, but they also gave Sacramento hope by going 1 for 3 on free throws in the final 12 seconds.
Duncan missed both his attempts with the Spurs clinging to a 94-93 lead.
"Very, very, very (frustrating)," Duncan said. "Not many times I get that situation. Just disappointed I couldn't step up and knock them out."
The Spurs were sluggish on offense with newly signed Shannon Brown starting and Tiago Splitter returning from injury, giving them their third different starting lineup in three games.
Brown, signed to a 10-day contract, had two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.
"We need minutes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We have to use those minutes so that guys that know the system can be out there at the end of the game. Otherwise, they're going to be too tired at the end. He gave us good minutes so that we could get everybody else in."
San Antonio shot 6 for 20 in the third quarter while falling behind by as many as 10 points. Gay and Thomas matched that production themselves, going a combined 6 for 13 in the third.
Williams' first 3-pointer gave Sacramento a 76-66 lead with 2 minutes left in the third.
Matt Bonner hit a 3 for the Spurs and a jumper that tied the game at 85 with 6 minutes remaining. Then he drove the lane for a runner off the glass after Thomas went flying past him at the 3-point line. That gave San Antonio an 87-85 lead, its first since early in the third quarter.
"(Bonner) was great," Duncan said. "He stepped up and scored a bunch of points in a row for us. Made some plays for us. It's going to be big for guys to step up as we have people out."
Splitter scored only two points but grabbed four rebounds and helped solidify the team's interior defense.
"It was great to be back on the court with the guys," Splitter said. "I wasn't that aggressive on offense, but I just tried to help the guys on defense with the coverage and helps. Most importantly, we won, so I'm happy."
The Kings were missing leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins, who sat out his sixth straight game due to a sprained left ankle. Gay and Thomas made up for his loss offensively, accounting for half of the team's 53 first-half points.
Splitter got his loudest ovation of the season when he was announced in the starting lineup after missing 12 games with a sprained right shoulder. He came off the bench in the second half. ... Cousins suited up but did not play. He is day to day. ... Ginobili (strained left hamstring), Leonard (broken hand) and Green (broken left index finger) all sat behind the Spurs bench.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO, TX - February 1: Isaiah Thomas #22 of the Sacramento Kings handling the ball during a game against...
Rudy Gay (SAC): 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, 0 turnovers; 1st Kings player with 20-7-6-5-0 since Lionel Simmons on April 6, 1991.
1st NBA player to hit those marks since LeBron James on March 1, 2012.