Road Reaction: Phoenix Suns 103, Sacramento Kings 88

Luis Scola posts up Jason Thompson (Photo: Steven Chea)

 
After beating the Lakers last night in Los Angeles, the Sacramento Kings came up short against the Suns on Monday, losing 103-88 in Phoenix.

Notes and Analysis

  • Keith Smart went to a three-guard set to start the game and Brooks, Thornton and Evans struggled to make it work.  The trio finished with just 14 points in 58 combined minutes.
  • The power forward combination of Jason Thompson and Thomas Robinson should be fun to watch this season.  Thompson finished the game with 14 points and six rebounds in his 22 minutes, while Robinson had a solid 17 point, eight assist night off the bench.
  • With only one more preseason game left, Smart continues to play with his starting lineup.  16 players took the floor tonight in the loss, so clearly Smart wanted to see some of his secondary pieces in action.
  • John Salmons continues to miss games with what is being deemed a “personal issue”.  At this point, it hard to imagine that he isn’t the team’s fourth or fifth option at small forward.
  • After getting plenty of time with starter level players this preseason, Jimmer Fredette struggled tonight when matched with the Kings third and fourth teamers.  Jimmer scored seven points on 2-for-6 shooting in his 11 minutes, but turned the ball over a team-leading five times in the loss.
  • Coach Smart gave DeMarcus Cousins a break.  The Kings leading scorer and rebounder through the team’s first five preseason games finished with eight points and five rebounds in nine first-half minutes.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings shot just 37.4 percent from the field tonight.  That’s not going to cut it next week when the season begins.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. How much energy will the Kings have on the back end of a back-to-back?

The Kings should have had plenty of energy early, but Smart went deep into his bench in Phoenix.  The result was what you would expect – inconsistent play and a solid double-digit loss.

2. Who thrives off the Kings’ bench tonight?

After dropping the hammer on Dwight Howard last night in Los Angeles, rookie Thomas Robinson brought his hard hat to work in Phoenix.  The 6-foot-9 power forward had a break-out night, finishing with 17 points and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes of action.

3. Will we see anything out of Tyler Honeycutt or the roster invites?

Smart went to his bench early and often.  Honeycutt, Hamady Ndiaye, Tony Mitchell and even roster long-shot Willie Reed made appearances before halftime, as the Kings used 15 of their 17 remaining players in the game’s first 24 minutes.  Ndiaye and Honeycutt showed defensive prowess, while Mitchell scored a productive five points on 2-for-2 shooting.

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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".