DISCLOSURE: The following recap has been written by Bill Walton*.
Truly, tonight's game was a meeting of Gods and Titans, an all-out war for dominion of the West Coast. On one side, the Kings, led by that Juggernaut, DeMarcus Cousins, and on the other, the bright-eyed Luis Scola striding atop his flaming chariot. It was a mighty battle, but in the end the Kings left the Valley of the Sun victorious.
To say the Kings dominated the paint would be presuming that the other side had any control at all. The Kings set up a monopoly in the paint, one that even Theodore Roosevelt would have been hard-pressed to bust. Among the tycoons of industry who made their living on the inside for Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins rose above them all, the Carnegie of dunking. On paper, Cousins merely scored 34 points in 30 minutes, but were it not for Keith Smart, that most benevolent of leaders, Cousins would have continued his unstoppable rampage.
The Suns were wounded tonight, to be sure. Those stalwart warriors Marcin Gortat and Goran Dragic were sorely missed, and unlike their city's namesake, they were not able to rise up from the ashes to join their comrades. Instead they had to rely on Luis Scola, a surgeon with the basketball. Scola danced and dove and struck at all the Kings men to the tune of 25 points on 10-13 shooting. The Knights of St. John couldn't have set up a better defense to Sacramento's onslaught than Luis Scola. If only Scola's teammates had played with an ounce of his courage and determination in the face of adversity.
Alas, Sacramento carried the day on the backs of multiple heroes. Cousins led the charge down the middle, but Phoenix's flanks were turned not by Cousins, but by Isaiah Thomas, Patrick Patterson and the mighty Chuck Hayes. Thomas, possibly the only practitioner of the Japanese art of Ninjitsu in the NBA, was an assassin, scoring inside and outside for 23 points, and finding his teammates for open baskets to finish with 8 assists. What sad, cruel world do we live in where this pint-sized basketball maestro went last in the NBA draft? Every single General Manager who passed up on this young man should be fired, including Geoff Petrie, who had the gall to pass on him twice.
And how about Patrick Patterson? That guy is a keeper. The Houston Rockets made the most grievous of errors in letting this man go. Patterson epitomizes everything you could want in an NBA big man with his size, skill and toughness. He's an old spirit, wise beyond his years. He had his first double-double for Sacramento with 10 points and 10 rebounds, along with 5 hard fouls. They give you 6 for a reason and Patterson was judicious in his use of them.
Chuck Hayes, what a game. Despite not playing at all in the first half, he was ever ready to take up arms and serve his team, a Minuteman of basketball. He changed the game for Sacramento in a way that I'm not sure can be quantified in earthly terms. His presence was otherworldly, his specter likely still haunting the Suns hours after the final bell.
No doubt the Kings were inspired by the presence of the greatest fans in the world, who waded into enemy territory to join their team on the front lines of battle. Kings fans are indomitable, great champions one and all.
Should you wish to acknowledge worthy and stout adversaries, head on over to the fantastic Phoenix Suns blog Bright Side of the Sun, the best blog about the Suns known to man, woman, child and porcupine. NASA knows less about the Sun than these fine folks.
*not really written by Bill Walton