You have to give the Suns credit for playing hard. Whether you want to give that credit to new head coach Lindsey Hunter, or to the natural reaction to a shakeup, or to Sacramento being an easy team to beat, I don't care.
The fact is that the Suns hustled. They are not the most talented team in the NBA, but they really tried to execute and finish the plays.
And then Michael Beasley, yes the Beas!, happened. Sporting a new hairdo, Beasley scored 11 points in a critical 20-3 run that helped the Suns take the lead for good. Beasley made shots with abandon, something we have not seen all season. And they were good, high-efficiency shots, for heavens sake. Where has this guy been all season?
And Luis Scola was smiling!! I mean seriously, this is a huge development. Luis Scola has not had much fun this season, but he looked very happy in the 4th during the Suns big run. He was hugging, high-fiving, smiling and getting into Cousins' head.
The Suns had an 11-point lead before Sacramento stemmed the tide but could not cut the lead as the Suns closed out their first 100+ point game of 2013.
The Suns made all the big shots. Scola had 9 points, Beasley 13 in the fourth to carry the Suns to a 30-14 run to finish the game.
The Kings played hard, aggressive defense the first three quarters against the Suns, including constantly double-teaming guys all over the court - under the basket on Suns defensive rebounds, out at the top of the key, under the offensive basket... really, anywhere they could cheat off their man and double-team the ball.
This tactic was more and more effective as the game wore on, despite the Suns working hard all game long to stem the tide. The double teams worked against wings and bigs, but Goran Dragic was in control and more aggressive than he's been in weeks. Dragic had 10 points and 9 assists (against just 1 turnover) through 3 quarters, though his passing was so good it could have been 15 assists by then.
The Kings also dominated the glass through the first three quarters, nearly doubling the Suns effort in that area. DeMarcus Cousins (15, 15 and 5), Jason Thompson (12 and 14) and Thomas Robinson were just longer than the Suns troika of Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola and Markieff Morris.
Yet the Suns hung around, only trailing by 4 points going into the 4th. And then everything changed. The Kings wilted, their defense softened and the Suns with Beasley and Scola grabbed the reins. Even DeMarcus Cousins, who had dominated the first three quarters, just disappeared in the fourth as Scola got into his head and his teammates' poor play dragged him down (rather than him building them up).
The Suns outscored the Kings by 18 points in the second half.
Michael Beasley had 19 and 6, Luis Scola had 21 and 7 with 4 assists and Goran Dragic had 12 points and 11 assists (which could have been 20 with the way he was passing).