Game Recap #8: Kings vs. Suns

Starting Line-ups

Kings (3-4)

  • Tyreke Evans
  • Beno Udrih
  • Omri Casspi
  • Carl Landry
  • Samuel Dalembert

Reserves:  DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Darnell Jackson, Francisco Garcia, Luther Head, Donté Greene, Antoine Wright.

Inactives:  Pooh Jeter, Hassan Whiteside.

Suns (3-4)

  • Steve Nash
  • Jason Richardson
  • Grant Hill
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Robin Lopez

Reserves:  Hakim Warrick, Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Josh Childress, Channing Frye, Garret Siler, Earl Clark.

First Quarter Recap

Samuel Dalembert came out strong, taking Robin Lopez off the dribble for a lay-up to start the game.  Jason Richardson, the resident Kings killer, missed four of his first seven shots, including two wide open three pointers.  Nash and Udrih went toe to toe for a stint but Nash showed why he is a hall of famer, going for ten points, five rebounds and six assists in the first.  The Suns have a remarkable three rebound advantage to go with a six point lead at the end of the first.

Kings  24  Suns 30

Leaders

Kings:  Udrih (6) Points;  Landry (3) Rebounds;  Evans/Dalembert (2) Assists.

Suns:  Nash (10) Points;  Nash (5) Rebounds;  Nash (6) Assists.

FG%:   Kings  47.8%  Suns  56.0%

Rebounds:   Kings  10  Suns  13

Assists/TO:   Kings  4/2  Suns  6/1

Second Quarter Recap

The Suns bench put the metal down in the fourth, pushing the lead to nine at the six minute mark.  DeMarcus Cousins had a nice spin move and dunk on the baseline to get the first “throw it down big man!” by the Kings new broadcast addition Bill Walton.  The Kings continued to play the same isolation basketball that has hurt them over the last three games.  They did a better job controlling the glass in the second, taking a four rebound advantage but they need to get the ball down low to their post scorers.  The Kings shot 2-11 from three point range, clearly the Suns are gave up the perimeter in order to stop the Kings penetration and post offense.  Steve Nash continued his spectacular night finishing the half with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists to lead the Suns nine point advantage after two quarters.

Kings  43  Suns 52

Leaders

Kings:  Evans (10) Points;  Casspi/Dalembert (5) Rebounds;  Evans (3) Assists.

Suns:  Nash (17) Points;  Nash (6) Rebounds;  Nash (6) Assists.

FG%:   Kings  38%  Suns  57.9%

Rebounds:   Kings  26  Suns  22

Assists/TO:   Kings  8/5  Suns 9/6

Third Quarter Recap

The third quarter was a wild ride.  The Suns pushed the lead to 14 early, the Kings cut it to four at one point but pushed the lead back to nine to finish the third.  The Kings went to DeMarcus Cousins early and he played well with the starters.  During the third, Udrih scoring on a myriad of pull up jumpers while Casspi hit two big three’s to keep it close.  The Kings played the Suns straight up in the quarter but that is not what they needed when they started with a nine point deficit.

Kings  68  Suns 77

Leaders

Kings:  Udrih (15) Points;  Dalembert/Cousins (8) Rebounds;  Evans (7) Assists.

Suns:  Nash (23) Points;  Richardson (7) Rebounds;  Nash (9) Assists.

FG%:   Kings  41.5%  Suns  54.2%

Rebounds:   Kings  39  Suns  32

Assists/TO:   Kings  14/9  Suns  14/9

Fourth Quarter Recap

The Kings made it close a couple of times, cutting the lead down to three a couple of times but the Suns just kept scoring.  Steve Nash was unbelievable from start to finish.  Carl Landry did his best to keep the Kings close late, going for 20 points and 11 rebounds but it wasn’t enough.  The Suns pulled away late with Hakim Warrick putting on a nice dunking exhibition.  Suns win by 14, pushing the Kings losing streak to four.

Kings Lose!

Kings  89  Suns  103

Leaders

Kings:  Landry (20) Points;  Landry (11) Rebounds;  Evans (9) Assists.

Suns:  Nash (28) Points;  Richardson (8) Rebounds;  Nash (14) Assists.

FG%:   Kings  40.9%  Suns  51.9%

Rebounds:   Kings  50  Suns  42

Assists/TO:   Kings  18/11  Suns  19/11

Stats that Stick Out

  • Antoine Wright played 10 minutes, going 0-3 from the field with a turnover.
  • Jason Thompson received his first DNP-CD of his career.  Coach Westphal discusses this below but it is still a tough pill to swallow for the third year forward/center.
  • Donté Greene received a DNP_CD as well, his third in seven games this season.
  • Carl Landry scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds including 7 offensive boards.  I’m not going to guess how many of those offensive rebounds came on his own misses.
  • The Kings hit 12-19 free throws for a whopping 63.2%.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • Coach Westphal on the effort tonight against the Suns:  “I have to say, I can’t really find a whole lot of fault with our team, or effort.  We’ve been having turnover problems the last couple game, we kept our turnovers to a minimum.  We got good shots. We got good shots for good shooters.  We hit the offensive boards.  We got second shots.  We missed too much but that is not an effort thing, that’s basketball.  On the other end, we were the victim of a hall of fame player having a hall of fame night.  Steve Nash was unspeakably sensational with his decision making and his execution.  We tried double teaming him, we tried making him score and taking away his other options, we tried zoning.  Everything we tried he had the answer and if I wasn’t sitting on the visitors bench, I would have applauded him, because it was an unbelievable performance by Nash.  I was proud of my team, we just weren’t good enough tonight.”
  • On whether the team make progress tonight:  “It was progress, I’m never happy to lose but I’m happy with the way we competed, the way we executed, the way we played together.  We need to make more shots and that’s NBA basketball.  If our guys give that kind of effort, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
  • On Jason Thompson not playing tonight: “I’m a big fan of JT.  Right now, we have Sam and DeMarcus ahead of him at the five spot.  Carl and Jackson ahead of him at the four spot and all of those guys played a reasonable amount minutes and didn’t have bad foul trouble so he didn’t get in at either of those spots.  It’s pretty tough to expect him to play the three against the Suns, the way they’re constituted, so there were no minutes for him.  It’s hard to not put him in the game, knowing what kind of player he is but there are only so many minutes to go around right now.”

Player of the Game: Steve Nash was amazing.  28 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds.  Enough said.

The Difference Maker: Hakim Warrick played really well in his 23 minutes, scoring 18 points on 6-8 shooting and 6-7 from the line.  He was all over the offensive end in the fourth quarter, helping Steve Nash to end any run the Kings had in them.

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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 provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".