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Kings 103, Suns 105: Had their chances

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Devin Booker wins it at the Buzzer

Make no mistake about it: the Sacramento Kings dumbed this game away. Yes, Devin Booker was hot and hit a game-winner he probably didn’t call bank on. But this one’s all on the guys in black.

DeMarcus Cousins had a triple double (22 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists) to lead the Kings. But he also spent all game picking up dumb fouls, and had to sit out a good part of the fourth quarter because of foul trouble. He was hit-and-miss in crunchtime; a clutch corner three sandwiched by a bad crosscourt prayer of a pass to Ty Lawson that was picked off, and an awful decision to try and draw a foul on a jumper on a three pointer.

Ty Lawson had 18 points on 10 shots, but his defense left much to be desired on the other end. Darren Collison had 19 points and gave it his all in the second half, but was completely invisible in the first half. Ben McLemore, on the other hand, scored most of his 18 points in the first half and lost track of Booker repeatedly in the second.

Again, the Kings had their chances to close the game out. They had a seven point lead with four minutes remaining. They had a three point lead with two minutes left after Cousins’ corner three. They had several chances to make plays to really put the squeeze on the Suns, and utterly failed to do so. Chances like when Collison bobbled a ball leading to an open Booker dunk. Cousins missing a point blank layup. Barnes fouling Chandler softly when the guy was wide open on a layup.

I could keep going, but the point is that the Kings did not deserve to win this one. For a team with so much veteran experience on the roster, they fail to make critical plays when they need them most. Already behind the eight ball, they can’t afford to let games like this one slip away.

Observations:

  • There was a bit of consternation with Dave Joerger starting McLemore at shooting guard after he hadn’t been in the rotation for so long, but Ben’s explosive first half proved it was the right decision. Along with Willie Cauley-Stein, if this is a sign of young players developing for a change, that’s a massive step in the right direction for the franchise. Its up to Ben to keep it up.
  • On the other hand, Malachi Richardson struggled with his second quarter minutes. He forced some shots and made some mistakes on offense, another learning experience for the rookie. I did think he played solid defense against the corpse of Leandro Barbosa.
  • I thought Cauley-Stein had a positive game even if it didn’t look like it in the box score. He actually hit the glass well, he switched out on the perimeter to defend effectively, and even hit a midrange jumper.
  • Anthony Tolliver is either ridiculously hot or super cold, with very few games in-between. Its unfortunate that he is mediocre-to-bad at everything else. Today, with his shot off, all we got was the bad defense and poor rebounding.
  • So this will be my last recap as the regular StR recap writer. Unfortunately, life has finally caught up with me. Its been a blast writing for you guys and I’ll hopefully still be around to contribute. Thanks for being such a fantastic community!

For the opponent’s perspective, visit Bright Side of the Sun