The Sacramento Kings lost for just the second time this preseason tonight, this time at the hands of Jared Dudley and the Phoenix Suns. Dudley scored 25 points on just 12 shots to lead the Suns to a 103-88 victory. Michael Beasley added 15 points and Luis Scola had a near double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Second year player Markieff Morris did have a double-double in 21 minutes off the bench, with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block before fouling out. Sebastian Telfair added 12 points and Goran Dragic had 9 with 6 assists.
Sacramento got off to a great start, jumping out to a 16-4 lead before Phoenix made a run of their own. Sacramento's starting lineup changed for the 4th time this preseason, this time featuring Aaron Brooks, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. Big Cuz and Jason Thompson were the biggest contributors to the early run, scoring 12 points combined during it. Cousins ended up playing just 8 and a half minutes (because it's preseason, not due to injury or foul trouble) and finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Jason Thompson led the starters with 14 points on 7-10 shooting to go with 6 boards and 2 assists. Thompson was the only starter who finished in double digits and one of just two Kings to do it.
Keith Smart opted to go with a bunch of experimental rotations tonight, using 16 players, all but three of whom played more than 10 minutes. Nobody but Thomas Robinson played more than 22 minutes, and Robinson was only at 25. Robinson was the team's leading scorer and rebounder, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, an assist and a steal off the bench. He only shot 5-15 but was aggressive and got to the line, hitting 7-11 attempts from there.
It wasn't really a night to remember for any other Kings players though. Marcus Thornton took 11 shots to score 8 points, and Tyreke Evans had just 4 points on 7 attempts. Aaron Brooks was just 1-4 from the field but did finish tied with a team-high 4 assists. Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette both scored 7 off the bench, but also both shot just 1-5. While Thomas added 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals, Jimmer struggled badly after looking good in the past two games against the Lakers. Jimmer had no assists but 5 turnovers. James Johnson also was held scoreless for the second night in a row.
Tyler Honeycutt made his first appearance of the preseason and played for 14 minutes. He only scored 2 points on 1-5 from the field, but he did have 4 rebounds, a couple of blocks and an assist in that time. All three training camp invitees also got an extended look. Tony Mitchell had the best stat-line of the three with 5 points on 2-2 shooting with 2 assists. Hamady N'Diaye had 2 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 13 minutes and Willie Reed had 3 points and 2 rebounds in 5 minutes.
Sacramento shot just 37.4% from the field and were outrebounded 58-46 by the Suns (in no small part due to the absence of DeMarcus Cousins for the majority of the game). On a good note the team still managed to get 19 assists and force 22 Phoenix turnovers.
The Kings will play their final preseason game this Thursday in San Diego against the Lakers, before prepping for the regular season next Wednesday in Chicago.
If you were at tonight's game in Phoenix, observations are extremely encouraged as being there was the only way to watch the game.