Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 117, Phoenix Suns 103

Coming off a huge win last night in Oakland, the Sacramento Kings picked up a second-straight road victory by beating the Phoenix Suns 117-103 Thursday evening.

DeMarcus Cousins was the story of the night, scoring 17 of his season-high 34 points in the game’s first 12 minutes, including 15-straight points for the Kings to finish the quarter.

Phoenix made a run at the Kings multiple times, but without Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat or Jermaine O’Neal, they just didn’t have enough to fight off the visiting team.

Notes and Analysis

  • Cousins crushed the Suns, scoring 34 points on 12-for-16 shooting from the field and hitting all nine of his free throw attempts..  The Kings starting center also grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out two assists in just 30 minutes of action.  Cousins needs to feed on lower-rung teams like this every night out.
  • Isaiah Thomas continued his high-octane play, finishing with 23 points and eight assists in 29 minutes.  Like Cousins, Thomas was hot from the field, shooting 6-for-10 overall and 3-for-4 from long range.  In a free-wheeling, track meet like this game tonight, Thomas is in his element.  He finished with five turnovers, but this game was played at a frantic pace and turnovers are to be expected.
  • Patrick Patterson is becoming a favorite of Keith Smart.  Over his last three games, Patterson is averaging 8.7 rebounds per game, which is the stat that will earn him the most minutes from the Kings head coach.  Tonight he finished with a solid 10-point, 10-rebound double-double and played solid defense in his 29 minutes of action.
  • Jason Thompson started out hot, scoring eight points in the first quarter.  But he never scored again and finished with just three rebounds in 19 minutes.  During his career with the Kings, Thompson has had to fend off challengers at his position at least once a season.  The addition of Patterson and Smart’s insistence on playing him over Thompson in the fourth quarter has really seemed to affect JT’s play.  Thompson is struggling to keep his emotions in check when he is on the floor and tonight, he picked up his ninth technical of the season after dropping some unsavory language on an official that was in the middle of warning him and others.
  • The Kings won in impressive fashion without much help from  Marcus Thornton.  The Kings sixth man finished with just three points on 1-for-4 shooting in 11 minutes.  Even though the Kings have won two in a row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games, I’m pretty sure there were some unhappy campers on the flight back to Sacramento tonight.
  • Tyreke Evans continues to fill up the stat sheet, finishing with 12 points and six assists on the night.  He picked up three fouls early, but still managed to play 33 minutes in the win.  With free agency looming for Evans, it is a surprise that he hasn’t elevated his numbers and really made a statistical push down the stretch.
  • Stat of the Night: 34 points in 30 minutes for Cousins.  I’m not sure what the bigger shock is: the points or the fact that he only played 30 minutes.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will Tyreke Evans find his wind?

Evans was solid, but still lacked the overall stamina that we have grown accustomed to.  After struggling with stomach issues all week, that is to be expected.  It’s nice to see Evans gut it out and still perform at a reasonable level.  He will be tested big time Saturday against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

2.  Over or under 20 points for Isaiah Thomas?

Thomas notched his 20th 20-point game of the season in the win.  Thomas was extremely efficient, scoring 23 points on just 10 shots.  He also handed out a team-high eight assists and grabbed three rebounds.  The little point guard out of Washington is the general of this team and quickly rising up the ranks of the Kings’ offensive options.

3.  What kind of impact will DeMarcus Cousins have on this game?

Cousins was spectacular, but sat out the entire fourth quarter while Keith Smart played Chuck Hayes in crunch time.  Cousins had a shot to have a career night. But instead, he had to settle for an incredibly dominant performance against lower level competition.

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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".