I have no words. This is the worst loss of the season and it’s not even close. I mean, even if the Kings were to win, it would be the worst win of the season. The Phoenix Suns had the worst record in the West, they were without their best player Devin Booker, they were up by 21 in the third and they lost by four points. Twenty-six turnovers for the Kings, too. Even back-to-backs aren’t an excuse for this performance. This loss could definitely have playoff implications but is this a playoff team following this loss?
The Suns barely average 100 points per game, yet they had already scored 35 points at the end of one. They were shooting a ridiculous 65% on 13-20 shooting. Rookie center Deandre Ayton scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds while Josh Jackson had seven points. The Kings were sloppy with the ball with five turnovers already. Buddy Hield had eight points to led the Kings and Willie Cauley-Stein had seven points, four rebounds and two assists. Sacramento trailed 35-32.
The second quarter was much more like it. The Kings scored 40 points, while the Suns only managed 18 and fell to a 72-53 deficit at the end of the first half. Ayton continued to produce for the Suns, scoring 12 points with five rebounds, two assists and a block. Kelly Oubre Jr. was big for Phoenix off their bench scoring 12 points on 4-5 shooting in 13 minutes. Sacramento found light through their bench. The unit had 31! Justin Jackson continues to have a good story, nailing three three’s and also finding Ben McLemore at the rim for two. Speaking of McLemore, he caught fire in the quarter and had eight points in two minutes at one point. He finished the quarter 11 points and three rebounds. Hield also led Sacramento with 11 points while De’Aaron Fox got going with 10.
And we’re back to square one after this pathetic third quarter by the Kings. A 21-point lead was cut into by the Suns (where have I heard this one before?) and the worst team in the West record-wise made it 86-86 at the end of three. Man, I wish Marvin Bagley was available for this one. Sacramento had 18(!) turnovers by the end of the third. That’s embarassing and terrible basketball. Phoenix outscored Sacramento 33-14.
Sacramento gave up the lead (shocking) and then made a 13-2 run to get a 109-104 lead with little remaining. Oh, they blew that too. 115-111 final score as a Kelly Oubre putback dunk sealed it. Kings will be below .500 at the halfway point of the season.
There’s only one I’m placing in this section: Ben McLemore scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting in 18 minutes off the bench. He grabbed three rebounds and had one steal. He had the best +/- of any player in the game at +19.
Willie Money Watch
Willie scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists, three steals and three blocks. He had a really good stretch in that 13-2 run in the fourth but only if he could finish better at the rim.
De’Aaron Fox had 24 points on 7-12 shooting along with five assists, three rebounds, three steals and a chasedown block. However, he had eight turnovers and some came at the worst possible times.
Sacramento was 20-29 from the free throw line. Not good enough (69%)
They were, however, 15-29 from three which is really good.
Having 26 turnovers and giving up 33 points off them will never get the job done. Tonight was the latest example, obviously.
The Game in One Sentence
Marvin Bagley doesn’t play and another lead is blown.
Sacramento returns home to face the Detroit Pistons on Thursday at 7:00 PM PST. Detroit had a record of 17-21 and have Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.