Playing for a contract he is. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
The Sacramento Kings are not that bad of a team. I mean that. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast, Tyreke Evans is a beast, and Isaiah Thomas, well he has his moments when he isn't tossing the ball into the second row. The three, along with Marcus Thornton proved formidable against a Suns in the first half, overcoming turning a 4 point deficit to take a 10 point lead. The Kings strong armed the Suns for 11 first half offensive rebounds, converting into 11 points.
But in the second half, the Suns strapped on their big boy pants, as the second unit Suns played much better than they did in the first half. The Suns slowly chipped away at the King lead until DeMarcus Cousins lost his mind and committed a flagrant foul on Channing Frye by way of elbow to the neck. Frye converted both free throws, and the Suns were up 53-52.
After 2 Tyreke Evans free throws, the Kings were back on top briefly, 61-59. A 9-0 Suns run, featuring buckets by Gortat, Dudley, Frye and Nash brought the tally to 68-61 Suns. And that is when the Suns second unit redeemed themselves after an awful first half appearance.
Sacramento got within 3 in the waning moments of the 4th, but the Suns hit their next 5 shots to close out the Kings.
- The Suns held the Kings to 38% shooting. The Kings starters were especially awful: Evans 8-18, Cousins 7-20, Thornton 9-23, Thomas 3-13
- The Suns big two of Frye and Gortat out-rebounded the Kings bigs, Cousins, Thompson, and "guard" Evans 27-24
- The Kings were terrible from 3, (2-13), while the Suns hit for 5-12
- The Suns bench outscored the kings bench 30-18
- Robin Lopez put in a strong performance, playing 17 minutes, scoring 7, grabbing 5 boards, and blocking 2 shots.
- The Suns finished off a 6 game homestand 5-1, and are now 10-9 in the gorgeous confines of U.S. Airways Arena
Quality game from the Suns. If you tossed the 2nd quarter out of the mix, the Suns win this game comfortably. Gotta feeling Alvin Gentry shredded the second unit members at half time after their performance in the first half. Shannon Brown still plays out of control and makes some super stupid decisions at times, but you can tell he is feeling more confidence with his shot and role on the squad.
Steve Nash is plain freaking smart. What do we think of the recent trend of floaters he takes? It's a good shot for him, you can tell he has worked on it, and masters of the obvious like myself are thinking...Brilliant, he can beat his man and when his roll partner is taken away, he's left open in the paint from 5-10 feet out. If he takes it to the hole, he'll get blocked, bludgeoned or both. Instead, he drops the lil' floater in the lane.
Channing Frye is proving he doesn't need to shoot a respectable percentage from the field in order to stay on the court. It's clear Frye is consciously trying to take the ball inside. It's also clear he's putting in a huge effort on the boards and on the defensive end of the floor. He has the size and length to be a defender. He has the desire to shed his "soft" label. And he's clearly not stressing about missing shots.
Markieff Morris was putrid tonight offensively. Freakin' putrid. But, the kid still grabbed 6 boards in his 17 minutes. He's getting the open looks, they aren't falling. He's rushing his shot at times, and other times he's just laying bricks. The key is he's getting good playing time. He'll find his shot, he'll be a good PF in the NBA.
Grant Hill is quietly going about his business, D'ing up the oppositions best player every night, hitting clutch shots as he did tonight in the 4th, and being a quiet MVP on this squad. Sure the engine doesn't run without Nash, but the Camaro morphs into a Ferrari when Hill is doing his thing. He's healthier now than at any time in the first half of this season.
Next up, a true test. OKC, Dallas, Memphis, Minnie, Utah, the Clippers.