The Phoenix Suns came out with a lot of bravado and confidence, but quickly devolved into a completely uncoordinated group of basketball players who couldn’t make a basket or defend one.
After the Suns kept it close for half a quarter, the Kings ended the half on a 43-20 run almost entirely without DeMarcus Cousins (two early fouls) by playing sharp offense with passing and picks leading to open jumpers the Suns eventually lost the heart even to defend.
In the second half there were some spirited attempts to will points onto the scoreboard, and the three rookies even led a brief 20-4 charge to cut the Kings lead to 10. But then Kings steadied their ship and ran the lead back up.
Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 46 points. Cousins had 24 points in 24 minutes. Ty Lawson had 9 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
For the Suns, Devin Booker had 18 points, while Eric Bledsoe finished with 16 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds. Dragan Bender had 10 points (4/5, 2/3), Marquese Chriss had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Final score: 113-94 Kings over Suns
The Suns looked like they had no offensive plan. No defensive self control. And no recognition of their man in transition. The whole game was a train wreck.
Read on for more...
Jared Dudley returned to Phoenix with a flourish!
The 31 year old Dudley recorded the Suns first basket, assist, block AND charge. That charge got Boogie Cousins benched for collecting two quick fouls, both against Dudley.
After missing two long threes the crowd really wanted him to make - I mean, REALLY wanted - Devin Booker made a tough floater in the lane to break the seal for him on the 2016-17 season. A few minutes later, Booker collected his second foul, and went to the bench.
Booker made a basket so far. He's not playing at Dudley levels or anything, but it's a start.— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) October 27, 2016
Booker was the only Suns player garnering double team traps on the perimeter to get the ball out of his hands, and the Suns kept the game at a 14-14 tie, so a slow start isn’t the worst thing.
But then, after the Suns got up 18-14 and both teams went to their bench, all of a sudden the Suns forgot how to play basketball. The second team allowed a 16-1 run to end the quarter, leaving the Suns down 30-19. Ben McLemore made his first three shots, and Anthony Tolliver had a revenge minute or two with a couple of driving floaters after being run off the three point line. P.J. Tucker looked like a fish out of water out there. Or a fish full of water... And Brandon Knight was pretty much a disaster.
The Suns still looked totally dysfunctional, but at least the Kings stopped making every shot for a few minutes.
And then they started up again, while the Suns remained looking sloppy on both offense and defense for the entire half.
By the end of the half, the Suns were down 19 after Chandler misses two layups (one an offensive foul) and Garrett Temple rolls past a single pick into an uncontested jumper.
By halftime, the Suns bench had three points. The Kings bench had 30 points. For the Kings, 11 different players scored their 58 points by halftime led by Rudy Gay with 10. The Suns saw only 7 players score their 38 points led by Bledsoe with 9.
Kings up 57-38.
The Suns came out with fire but couldn’t do anything right, which isn’t any better than the first half.
After the Suns went on a big 5-3 run prompting a Dave Joerger timeout to calm the troops, the Kings took the big lead right back as the Suns stumbled and bumbled around.
The Kings just began attacking the defense on every play, drawing foul after foul and getting into the penalty before halfway through the quarter. The momentum was so strong in the Kings favor, the refs were just calling the contact every time. And the Suns were taking it.
Then Boogie Cousins decided it was time to make every play - either drawing fouls, committing them, scoring inside or making long jumpers. He factored in nearly every play for about 15-20 minutes, and the Kings extended the lead to 26.
The best part of the night: Dragan Bender took the floor late in the third, and scored his first hoop on a nice cut to the basket.
The Suns are now the only team in league history to put three teenagers on the floor at the same time.
Then he made his first three with a hand in his face, and the crowd went wild.
Tyler Ulis scored HIS first NBA bucket a minute later to more wild cheers from the cheer-starved crowd.
Ulis led the charge with his passion and defense and by the end of the rookie run, the Suns had cut the lead to 17 points.
The young ones continued to play hard in the fourth quarter, including forcing some turnovers on the Kings second unit. But they had a hard time cutting the big lead down significantly.
Then they had a fun stretch - the loudest of the night from the crowd - a 20-4 run to cut the lead to 10 - including Dragan Bender draining his second three-pointer of his short NBA career.
But then the Kings made some shots, including a couple of threes, to stretch it back out to 17. Then 19. Then 21.
That few moments were fun while they lasted.
Oh, and Matt f*&*#@in Barnes has 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a few punk fouls committed.