The players needed that. The city needed it more. In a dreadful season full of twists and turns derailed by off-court craziness, the Sacramento Kings finally got a dramatic feel-good win that eases the thick malaise surrounding the franchise for at least a night. After watching their double-digit lead whittle down, the Kings turned to the All-Star center to save them, and save them he did. The Kings beat the Phoenix Suns on DeMarcus Cousins' last second jumper, and while the future is an unknown black box, it feels good that the franchise can enjoy this 85-83 victory.
Cousins was magnificent the entire game. Scoring 28 points on 25 shots, adding 12 rebounds and 3 assists, he repeatedly ate the undersized Phoenix alive in the paint by being the recipient of several excellent high-low passes from other Kings bigs. The Kings were without both Rudy Gay and Darren Collison, but got a boost from Ramon Sessions and Ben McLemore. Sessions ran the offense well; he was repeatedly able to break down the Phoenix defense to get to the rim, the free throw line, or set up teammates. Sessions scored 10 points and dished 6 assists. McLemore cooled off late, but shot the ball well from three, tallying 13 points, including 3/8 from three point range. The ball moved really well, and while there was still some unacceptable sloppiness, you will take 20 assists to 15 turnovers from the shorthanded.
The story of the night was Phoenix's poor shooting. The Suns were led by Isaiah Thomas' 26 points on 17 shots, including several vengeful glares to the Kings bench and crowd, but besides that the rest of the team was really quiet. Without the services of Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix shot 36.3% from the field and a ghastly 17.9% from three. The Morris twins have killed the Kings this year, but were atrocious tonight, highlighted by Markieff's 3/20 shooting night. McLemore did a good job checking Goran Dragic on the night, who contributed a quiet 13 points on 13 shots. The Kings defense was active and engaged for the most part, but were helped by an unusually bad shooting night from the Morris twins.
This was badly needed for Cousins, who has referred to this season as his most frustrating by far. Boogie hasn't been playing well, becoming frustrated and flustered by being arguably misused ever since he returned. Cousins has watched another season descend into irrelevance, and for a guy who hates losing as much as he does, it has to weigh on him. So getting the game-winning buzzer beater in a game he played efficiently to possibly send the franchise into a new era.
But most of all, this was a feel-good win for Tyrone Corbin, even it is his last. Corbin, despite having his interim label removed, was obviously a lame duck for this season, and has handled the situation with about as much class as possible. Stuck in an impossible situation, Corbin did as best as he could, and though he had his faults, nobody can question his character. While Kings fans are ready to move onto bigger and better things, it was Corbin who allowed the franchise to get their house in order, so much kudos and thanks to him.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Bright Side of the Sun