Game Recap: Kings vs. Suns

Starting Line-ups

Kings

  • Beno Udrih
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Francisco Garcia
  • Jason Thompson
  • DeMarcus Cousins

Reserves:  Donté Greene, Samuel Dalembert, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, Darnell Jackson, Pooh Jeter, Jermaine Taylor.

Inactive:  Luther Head.

Suns

  • Steve Nash
  • Vince Carter
  • Grant Hill
  • Mickael Pietrus
  • Robin Lopez

Reserves:  Marcin Gortat, Josh Childress, Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Gani Lawal, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick.

First Quarter Recap

The Kings got off to an extremely slow start, shooting below 25% from the field for a good portion of the first quarter.  The Kings did a good job early of both drawing fouls and hitting the glass, which kept them in the game while they struggled from the field.  The Suns finished on a big time run, pushing the lead to 10.  It could have been worse for the Kings, who shot a lowly 23% from the field, but held a 15-9 rebound advantage.

Kings  17  Suns 27

Leaders

Kings-   Garcia (8) Points;   Garcia (5) Rebounds;   3 tied (1) Assist.

Suns-   Pietrus (7) Points;   Hill/Lopez (2) Rebounds;   Nash (5) Assists.

Second Quarter Recap

The Kings jumped out to an early 7-0 run in the second, forcing the Suns to take a timeout after only 1:18 of play.  Continuing the run, the Kings stretched it to a 13-2 advantage and took the lead at 30-29.  The Kings continued to be the aggressor, landing the Suns in the penalty at the 6:00 minute mark of the second.  Omri Casspi came in off the bench and kicked in a big eight points for the Kings in the second, while Cousins kicked in six to push his total to 11 for the half.  The Suns rallied late again, taking the lead back and stretching it to nine going to the break.

Kings  39  Suns  48

Leaders

Kings-   Cousins (11) Points;   Landry (7) Rebounds;   Cousins (3) Assists.

Suns-   Gortat (11) Points;   Hill (4) Rebounds;   Nash (8) Assists.

Team                  Kings         Suns
FG%                     28.3%         40.0%
Rebounds          33                 19
Assists/TO        7/10            13/4

Third Quarter Recap

The Kings fired back early in the third, quickly cutting the Suns’ lead to three at the 8:37 mark.  But much like the second quarter, the Suns put the pedal to the metal, holding a double digit lead for much of the third stretching it as high as 12.  Steve Nash ran the Kings ragged in the third, scoring 10 points and dishing three assists.  Through three quarters, Nash had 20 points on a perfect 8-8 from the field and 11 assists.  Francisco Garcia led a well-balanced Kings attack with eight in the third, while the Kings continued to dominate the Suns on the glass.  DeMarcus Cousins ended the third with a baseline jumper at the buzzer to cut the Suns’ lead to eight going into the fourth.

Kings  65  Suns 73

Leaders

Kings-   Garcia (16) Points;   Landry (9) Rebounds;   Cousins/Evans (5) Assists.

Suns-   Nash (20) Points;   Hill/Pietrus (5) Rebounds;   Nash (11) Assists.

Fourth Quarter Recap

The wheels fell off the Kings’ bus to start the fourth.  A minute and a half into the quarter, the Kings had missed a shot and turned the ball over twice, allowing the Suns to open up a 14 point lead.  The Kings’ chipped away, getting within 10 at the 8:42 mark, but Vince Carter quickly buried a three to push it back to a 13 point contest.  At the 7:31 mark, Cousins missed a jumper and got called for his fifth foul of the game.  At the 5:06 mark, with a chance to cut the Suns’ lead to eight, Francisco Garcia missed two free throw attempts.  Moments later, Garcia redeemed himself when he grabbed a rebound and hit a lay-up, cutting the Suns’ lead to single digits.

With 4:04 left on the clock, DeMarcus Cousins hit Omri Casspi for a corner three, which cut the Suns’ lead to five and energized the crowd.  Garcia hit a 16 foot jumper to slice the lead to three, but Marcin Gortat answered with a seven foot jumper to give the Suns an 89-84 lead.  Rookie Pooh Jeter hit a 17 foot jumper at the 2:34 mark to get the Kings within three again and after a Grant Hill miss, Cousins took the ball at Gortat, got fouled and hit an improbable lay-in as he fell to the floor.  Cousins hit the free throw to tie the game with 1:48 left in the game.  After a series of impressive defensive stands by the Kings, Pooh Jeter hit Omri Casspi for a laser three to give the Kings the 92-89 lead.  Mickael Pietrus attempted a three pointer to tie, but Casspi played him perfectly.  Cousins rebounded the miss, got fouled and dropped in both free throws for his 27th and 28th points of the night.  Game over.

Kings win!

Kings  94  Suns 89

Leaders

Kings-   Cousins (28) Points;   Landry (12) Rebounds;   Cousins (6) Assists.

Suns-   Nash (20) Points;   Gortat/Hill (6) Rebounds;   Nash (12) Assists.

Team                    Kings         Suns
FG%                       40.5%         40.2%
Rebounds           60                 32
Assists/TO         21/15          24/6

Player of the Game: DeMarcus Cousins.  The Kings’ rookie big man was unbelievable, scoring 13 of his game/career high 28 in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.  Add in eight rebounds and another career high- six assists, in 34 minutes of action.  Cousins played a substantial portion of the fourth quarter with five fouls and kept his temper in check as the Kings picked up the win for the second time in three games.

The Difference Maker: Take your pick.

  • Pooh Jeter shut down Steve Nash in the fourth, stopping the sure fire Hall of Fame point guard from even getting a shot off.
  • The Kings rebounders- Landry (12), Garcia (11), Casspi (10), Cousins (8), Thompson (6), who combined to out-rebound the Suns 60-32.
  • Francisco Garcia, who scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots from the wing.
  • Omri Casspi, who scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, hit 4-6 three pointers – including the go ahead basket with 25.6 seconds remaining in the game, and played impeccable defense down the stretch.
  • Tyreke Evans for telling Coach Paul Westphal not to put him back in the game or Paul Westphal for listening.

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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".