by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

The Sacramento Kings climbed back from a 17-point hole, but Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns pulled away late in the final period to win 109-100 at Power Balance Pavilion.

“They could’ve rolled over and said we won’t catch-up,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart of his team after the game.  “But I thought they did a good job, held their composure, chipped away (at) the score, got back into the game and two blown coverages at a critical moment got them down to four points.”

Nash rested in the first six minutes of the fourth period while Phoenix traded the lead with Sacramento.  But in a matter of minutes after he re-entered the game, the Suns ballooned a five-point advantage to 12.

Scoring 41 points, DeMarcus Cousins surpassed a career-high 38 he set last week in Houston.  He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in the nine-point defeat.  Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points tallied seven assists in the defeat.  And lastly, forward Terrence Williams played an all-around productive game, recording six rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a season-high 16 points off the Kings’ bench.

The Kings fall to 19-35 overall and 14-13 at home.  Their next game is Thursday when they host the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.


Notes and Analysis

  • Cousins was incredible.  The Suns made a concerted effort to get under the big man’s skin and for most of the night, he was able to harness the negative energy into destroying his opponent.  Cousins finished with a career high 41 points on 16-for-25 shooting and added 12 rebounds for his 32nd double-double of the season.
  • Thomas excelled as well, finishing with 25 points and seven assists in the loss.  The starting rookie guard hit the Kings only 3-point shot on the night, but missed three other long range attempts.
  • We heaped praise on Jimmer Fredette after last night’s solid performance against the Timberwolves.  But tonight, the rookie was not good. Jimmer went 0-for-5 in the first half and all five of those shots were 3-pointers.  Williams set Jimmer up for wide-open shots and the rookie couldn’t connect.  Sometimes that happens.  With the perimeter game not working, I would have liked to have seen Fredette go to the rim and at least try to draw contact.  Rough night for the rookie.
  • Williams is playing out of his mind right now.  He went from a 10-day contract to a 30-plus minute a game rotational player.  Coach Smart is going to have a very difficult time keeping this guy out of the starting line-up, even when the Kings get healthy. Williams finished the game with 16 points in 7-for-10 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and settled for five assists.  If Jimmer and/or Travis Outlaw could have had a better shooting night, T-Will would have made a push for double digit assist numbers.
  • When he finally walks away from the game, Steve Nash will be missed.  The future Hall or Fame point guard just has a knack for knowing what his team needs and when they need it.  Anytime the Kings got close, Nash would throw out a dagger that seemed to always hit the bulls-eye.  He finished with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting and handed out his required 12 assists.
  • Marcin Gortat is a benefactor of Nash’s greatness.  The big man out of Poland dropped a solid 20-point, 10 rebound double-double before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
  • For the second game in a row, the Kings let a ghost of NBA past blow them up.  Last night Brad Miller  rose from the dead and scored 11 points in the first half.  Tonight, it was the 32-year old Michael Redd, who came off the Suns bench and scored 16 points in 16 minutes.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings shot 1-for-10 from behind the 3-point line tonight.  Without Marcus Thornton, the Kings are going to need Jimmer (0-for-5) and Isaiah (1-for-4) to step up and hit perimeter shots.