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Kings collapse in third quarter, lose first regular season game

The Suns snapped the Kings’ unbeaten streak.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A perfect 72-0 record is no longer in play for the Sacramento Kings. After winning the first two games on their regular season schedule, the Kings lost to the Phoenix Suns 116-100 on Sunday night.

The Kings looked as sharp as they’ve looked all season to start the game, and rookie Tyrese Haliburton was at the center of everything they did. In his third official NBA game, Haliburton looked like a veteran, taking his time to break down defenses and moving well without the ball in his hands. Haliburton ended the game with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc. He also recorded a team-high six assists.

As a whole, the Kings did a great job of passing the ball, at least in the first half. In the second half, the ball started sticking and that hindered their ability to use their speed to their advantage. The Kings struggled, and the Suns took advantage of their cold stretch, making run after run until they broke the game open in the third quarter. Three different Suns ended the game with 20 or more points.

If the Kings are going to continue to surprise people, they can’t afford to stray too far away from their strengths. That means moving the ball around in the half court and pushing the pace in transition, the latter of which is contingent on their defensive effort.

Hopefully the Kings’ second half letdown was just a result of them playing on Saturday. The Kings will have the day off before returning to the court to take on the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.