Well folks, the Kings we’ve come to know (and love?) over the years didn’t fail to show up this evening. After a surprising win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, Sacramento flopped against the sub par Suns.
TJ Warren carried the offensive load for Phoenix for the first three quarters, and young stud Devin Booker sealed the deal with 12 points in the last period. Seven Kings players scored in double figures, led by Zach Randolph with 14.
There were two major disappointments in tonight’s contest: Dave Joerger’s rotations and the lack of rebounding for Sacramento.
In a surprising twist, Skal Labissiere got the start against his former trade partner, Marquese Chriss, and made the most of his minutes. In the first seven minutes of the game, he scored 10 points (4/5 FG) and grabbed 4 rebounds, but never saw the floor in the second half after subbing out for Willie Cauley-Stein with five minutes left in the first quarter.
The second half saw much of the same pattern. While he wasn’t as brilliant in his time on the court, Labissiere started the third quarter, played eight minutes, and was then pulled for the remainder of the game. He played seven fewer minutes than any other member of the Kings. Even the Suns broadcast was mystified as to why Skal couldn’t get another chance to impact the game.
Another concerning aspect of Coach’s substitution pattern was the end of game execution. Frank Mason, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Kosta Koufos led the charge for Sacramento in the 4th quarter, but most of that group was subbed out for Temple, Hill, and Randolph with the game tied at 97-97 and 4:28 remaining. The Suns slaughtered the new lineup and proceeded to go on a 14-4 to grab the win.
A commitment to rebounding also cost the Kings dearly. Phoenix won the battle of the boards 47-37, including an unacceptable 16 offense rebounds. Those extra possessions, especially early in the game, hurt Sacramento down the stretch.
- Frank Mason was a last minute addition to the starting lineup in place of Buddy Hield. As Dave Joerger loves match up games, it was probably due to Tyler Ulis starting for the Suns.
- The Suns ended the first quarter on a 14-2 run and ended the game on a 17-2 run.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, and Willie Cauley-Stein once again showcased their rhythm together, and had several assists to one another.
- The Kings point guards combined to shoot just 5/19 from the floor, including 2/8 from beyond the arc.