CK Press Box Report: Sacramento Kings 121, Phoenix Suns 112

Sacramento, CA – After back-to-back losses to Denver and Golden State earlier this week, the Sacramento Kings used a high-scoring balanced attack to take down the Phoenix Suns by the score of 121-112.  Four Kings scored 20 points or more, as the Kings moved to 16-14 at home and 22-42 overall.

The Suns were without Marcin Gortat, who is likely out for the remainder of the season.  They used three new starters in an attempt to deal with the Kings size on the front line, but in the end, Sacramento’s perimeter shooting, not their post play, made the difference in this one.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins snapped out of his funk, scoring 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting.  With no Gortat to slow him down Cousins dominated the paint.  When the Suns sent help, he passed out to open shooters who hit the open jumpers.  Cousins finished with seven assists and a game-high 14 rebounds in 35 minutes of action.  This is the type of game the Kings need out of Cousins every night out.
  • Isaiah Thomas blew up the Phoenix backcourt, scoring a game-high 27 points in 33 minutes of action.  Thomas was virtually unstoppable, hitting 8-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point line.  He added six assists, five rebounds and five steals, BUT sat most of the fourth quarter while Keith Smart went to Toney Douglas.  There is no rhyme or reason to the rotations at this point and Thomas had a very difficult time holding back the frustrations in the locker room.
  • Tyreke Evans fell hard in the second quarter, banging his right elbow on the ground after an incredible block.  He shook off the injury and went on to put on an offensive show.  Evans scored 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from distance.  He added five assists, but turned the ball over six times in the win.  The Kings need more games like this from Evans.
  • Marcus Thornton is finally settling into his role as the Kings sixth man.  Thornton scored 23 points off the Kings bench on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point land.  This was the sixth time in the Kings last seven games that Thornton scored 18 points or more and this marked the first time since January 16, 2009 that four Kings players scored 20 points or more.
  • Jason Thompson scored 12 points, but grabbed only one rebound in the win.  With the Suns lack of size, it wasn’t surprising to coach Smart turn to newcomer Patrick Patterson who finished eight points and six rebounds in 26 minutes.  Cousins, Thompson and Patterson are starting to gel as a nice three man big rotation.
  • Six Suns scored in double-figures, led by Michael Beasley‘s 24 points.   Goran Dragic finished with 17 points and 16 assists, while Wesley Johnson scored 19 in his first start as a member of the Suns.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings hit 13 of their 27 shots (48.1 percent) from behind the arc.  Evans, Thomas and Thornton combined to shoot 13-for-18 from long range.   

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will DeMarcus Cousins emerge from his offensive slump?

Cousins was a beast.  The Suns have very little size and Cousins took full advantage, shooting 9-for-13 from the field for 22 points.  He added 14 rebounds, seven assists and two assists in 35 minutes of action.  Cousins picked up his fifth foul at the 10:53 mark of the fourth quarter, but successfully navigated the remainder of the game.

2.  Will teammates find Jason Thompson in the post?

Thompson was an afterthought in this one, scoring 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting.  With Cousins, Evans, Thornton and Thomas going off, JT picked up the scraps.

3.  How will Isaiah Thomas respond after a quiet night in Golden State?

The only reason this game was close was because Smart went away from Thomas in the fourth.  The second-year guard out of Washington struggled to hide his emotions in the locker room and honestly, he had every right to be upset.  IT finished with 27 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals, but played just three minutes in the fourth quarter when the game was still undecided.

Quotes of the Game

DeMarcus Cousins’ on his big night after a rough two game stretch mid-week:

I’m happy for the win.  I don’t care about the stats – I’m just happy about the win.

Keith Smart on the play of Evans, Cousins and Thornton:

These guys have abilities and when they play at a nice level, depending on the opponent, they can do these types of things.

Tyreke Evans on his developing jump shot:

I just try to shoot the same every time.  I’ve been in the gym working hard and it’s been paying off and now I’ve just got to keep shooting that same way.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

 

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".