In a winnable game for the Sacramento Kings, the Phoenix Suns turned up the heat defensively following intermission. And for the second time this season, the Kings fell to the Suns, losing 96-88 at the U.S. Airways Center.
In defeat, DeMarcus Cousins recorded his 24th double-double of the season. Cousins finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Thornton led the Kings in scoring with 21 points on nine-of-23 shooting.
Marcin Gortat matched Cousins’ performance with an oustanding effort of his own, scoring 14 points and pulling down 17 rebounds. Steve Nash scored 19 points and recorded seven assists in Phoenix’s eight-point victory.
The Kings finish a three-game road trip with a match-up against the Denver Nuggets tomorrow evening.
Notes and Analysis
- The Kings got out in transition in the first half, scoring eight fast break points in the first quarter. But the Suns would limit them to only four transition points the rest of the game.
- Tyreke Evans contributed 17 points, six assists and seven rebounds in the loss. His jump shot continues to haunt him. Based on NBA.com’s shot chart, the Kings’ guard missed all four of his shot attempts outside the painted area.
- DeMarcus Cousins played 37 minutes, but was inefficient from the floor. Though he recorded his fifth-consecutive double-double, he was seven-of-20 from the field.
- After combining for 51 points in Los Angeles Friday, the Kings’ bench only scored 18 points tonight. Meanwhile, the Suns’ reserves chipped in 30.
- Shannon Brown led Phoenix’s bench in scoring with 13 points. Six of his points were scored on back-to-back threes in an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter.
- For match-up purposes, Donté Greene started in place of Jason Thompson at power forward. He played 17 minutes in the first half and helped limit Channing Frye to just three points on one-of-six shooting before intermission.
- Overall, Frye struggled offensively, just making three of his 12 shot attempts en route to 11 points. Kings Head Coach Keith Smart had smaller players defend Frye, who looked to score in the post instead of the perimeter – unfamiliar territory for a big man that normally likes to shoot outside.
- Because of Phoenix’s stretch fours, Thompson played only 14 minutes tonight. But, he did score seven points on three-of-six attempts.
- The Kings limited the Suns’ three-point shooting through the first three quarters; Phoenix made only one-of-five three point attempts. But the Suns found space in the final period, making four-of-seven threes in victory.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings scored 52 points on 46.7 percent from the field before intermission. After the break, Phoenix held them to 36 points on 33.3 percent shooting.