Credit to Akis for the recap headline, but it’s completely true. Sacramento was scorching hot against the Suns (how ironic), while Phoenix was completely cold for a long, long time. Every player but Yogi Ferrell scored in this game, which just tells you how dominant the Kings really were. Don’t let the score fool you from what was once a 35-point game. The Kings came out against a Suns team without Devin Booker and T.J. Warren and had their way in all aspects of the game.
Someone explain that first quarter to me. Utter dominance probably doesn’t even begin to describe what the Sacramento Kings did to the Phoenix Suns to start this game. It was another level above dominance. I mean, the Suns showed exactly why they currently have a 4-19 record. Terrible passing, ball movement, shooting and all aspects of basketball was on display by the Suns. Poor fans. The Suns were 3-17 from the field and 0-9 from three. They also had seven turnovers and gave up 10 points off of them. For the Kings, Willie Cauley-Stein had four steals in just a matter of minutes, fronting Deandre Ayton constantly and daring the Suns to make an entry pass. Buddy Hield led the way with eight, followed by Bogdan Bogdanovic’s seven off the bench. Even Frank Mason came in and scored five tough points off the bench. The quarter ended 36-9. When was the last time we ever saw that? The answer’s likely never, as according to the Kings that +27 margin was the Kings best first quarter since 1954.
The Suns started playing real basketball in the second quarter, but more towards the end of things. They were down 53-18 at one point in the quarter, but later went on a swift 14-2 run led by Trevor Ariza to put a little “uh-oh” into Kings fans. However, the Kings went on a run of their own and extended their lead to 68-40 to end the half. The Suns finally made threes and turned it over only five times. The Kings were led by Hield’s 18 points, who at one point had more points than the entire Suns’ team. Kosta Koufos had 11 off the bench and De’Aaron Fox and Bogi each added nine. Sacramento was also 8-14 from deep.
Again, the Suns started the third quarter playing good basketball, cutting the lead to 81-59. But as the period dwindled, the Kings picked it up and extended their lead, best capped off with a Troy Williams fastbreak dunk. Fox had himself a much better quarter, going up to 16 points while Hield went to 20. Bogi ended with 14 and Justin Jackson made a three down the middle, plus a tough layup going through defenders. The quarter would end 99-67, with the Kings on top with ease.
The final frame featured a bench vs. bench lineup, but with both teams bringing in players not in the normal rotation. The Suns lineup easily dominated the lineup that Sacramento had out there, outscoring them 38-23 in the process and making this game seem closer than it actually was. Ben McLemore came out and made a three, then proceeded to miss every shot he took and didn’t play well for the rest of the quarter. Harry Giles finally entered the game, and impressed with 13 points, two rebounds and an assist in 10 minutes. The assist came with him diving for the ball, then feeding Troy Williams for an easy two. Before the game ended, Frank Mason jumped the pass for a steal, then proceeded to miss an open dunk. I guess every game can’t be perfect. Kings win 122-105 to start the four game road stretch.
It’s hard to have a best players category when so many players had a solid game that deserve to be on here, so forgive me if I missed anyone you thought was deserving.
Buddy Hield was hot from the start and at one point had 18 points on 6-9 shooting. He would finish with 20 points on 7-13 shooting, going 3-5 from three in the process. He also added five rebounds.
De’Aaron Fox started the game rough from the field again, but slowly crept up to a total of 16 points by the third quarter. He was 5-11 shooting wise and made his only three-point attempt. Fox also registered seven assists.
Bogdan Bogdanovic rounds out the best player section with 14 points off the bench in 21 minutes. He was 5-9 from the field, with five rebounds and two assists. The importance of Bogdan off the bench cannot be underestimated. For those +/- fans, Bogdanovic was +28.
Willie Money Watch
Willie Cauley-Stein started the game on fire on defense. He had four steals in just a few minutes as the Suns couldn’t learn from their mistakes of trying to force the ball to DeAndre Ayton. But Willie was unheard of the rest of the way as he played 19 minutes. He finished with six points, five assists, four rebounds and four personal fouls.
Here’s where everyone else falls in:
Justin Jackson had another solid game off the bench, with 10 points on 4/5 shooting. He made both of his threes. Again for +/- fans, he was +26. You can see him slowly getting more confident, but hopefully he maintains it and doesn’t disappear for a big batch of games.
Troy Williams had 11 points on 4/5 shooting with five rebounds in 22 minutes. He’s been consistently giving the Kings good minutes whenever he’s out there.
Kosta Koufos was notably big in the second quarter for getting his shots to go in. The hooks, floaters and layups were on full display as he added five rebounds and gave the Kings 19 good minutes off the bench.
Harry Giles only played in the fourth quarter against mostly backups, but was still very impressive again. He deserved more minutes in a game that was already out of hand. Giles finished with 13 points and two rebounds. He was also fouled numerous times in the quarter and made five of nine free throws.
The Kings were 11-24 from three, but 21-32 from the free throw line.
Sacramento had 32 points off 21 Phoenix turnovers. 25 points came on fast breaks as well.
The Suns were 12-43 from three. 43! That was also their total field goal percentage to end the game (43.7%).
The Game in One Sentence
The Kings are off to their best start (12-11) since the 2005-06 season, when they last made the playoffs. *sheds tears*
The Kings head to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Friday at 4:30 PM PST.