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Kings Thump Suns in Preseason Opener, 109-95

The good news is this game, like the rest of the preseason, means nothing. Nothing at all. The bad news is the Phoenix Suns were outscored by 22 points in the second half by the Sacramento Kings en route to a 109-95 defeat.

Steve Nash and Grant Hill combined to play 8 minutes, while Gani Lawal and Channing Frye did not play at all. 

If you are pushing the panic button, I recommend Valium, yoga, or some Zen breathing exercises.

The Suns trotted out a lineup of Nash, Richardson, Lopez, Turkoglu and Hill. The starting unit, along with Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, and Dwayne Jones, jumped out to a an 11 point lead and appeared in total command of the game until the end of the quarter, as the Suns amassed 6 turnovers. Still, they held on to a 31-26 lead.

Nash and Hill would not return for the rest of the game. But Jason Richardson added 8 points and Robin Lopez 5 in the second to lead the Suns to a 58-51 halftime lead. Cold shooting, turnovers and fouls plagued the Suns in the third, as the Kings went on a 14-4 run and eventually tied the game up going into the fourth quarter.

To summarize things quickly and easily, the Suns sounded like they were tired in the final 12 minutes as Tyreke Evans scored 10 points during a 20-6 that put the Kings up for good. 

To emphasize once again, this was a preseason game. Still, there were some areas of concern, if you want to get concerned over an early October contest:

  • The Suns committed 23 turnovers resulting in 25 King points.
  • The Suns were out-rebounded 47-36.
  • The Suns shot 2-16 from 3-point range.
  • Hedo Turkoglu went 0-5 from the field in 16 minutes of play.
  • Goran Dragic committed 6 turnovers in 25 minutes, dished out 1 (one) assist and logged a -24.
  • The Suns scored 6 fast break points.
  • The Suns allowed 50 points in the paint.



Of course there were bright spots:

  • Robin Lopez played 31 minutes, scored 15, added 6 boards and 2 blocks while committing only 2 fouls. The fact that he produced without pain (or looking as though he was in pain) is a major victory.
  • Jason Richardson went for 17 and 5 and shot just over 50% from the field (6-11).
  • Josh Childress played efficiently, scoring 6 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing 3 assists and adding a steal in 19 minutes of play.
  • Jared Dudley went 5-8 from the field for 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.
  • Matt Janning sounded as if he played a fairly aggressive game, adding 8 points in 21 minutes.


I won't insult anyone's intelligence here by jumping to any insane conclusions. This game was full of auditions (Dwayne Jones and Chucky Atkins playing 17 minutes); meanwhile, some needed inside help in the form of Garret Siler and Gani Lawal did not play at all. My master-of-the-obvious skills tell me there is a game in Vancouver tomorrow and, as we all know, this preseason is a grand experiment that will determine the regular season rotation (at the outset only, of course), and running minutes off the bodies of Steve Nash and 38 year old Grant Hill makes no sense at all.

It is a bit disturbing, though, to see our Phoenix Suns shoot 2-16 from beyond the arc and get crushed in rebounding differential, but as I noted above, I think we were dealing with some tired legs and lack of dirtworkers. Expect less JRich tomorrow, more of Canada's favorite son, old man Hill, and the beast of Lawal to be unveiled.

Rest soundly, Suns fans. We'll catch you here tomorrow.

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