It is done. It is over. The tank is going into the shop for at least 6 months. The Phoenix Suns held out six players (Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler, Leandro Barbosa, Jared Dudley). The other nine guys may as well have taken the night off too.
Sure, they got within 11 points in the fourth quarter, but that lasted all of a minute. The next thing you knew, Ty Lawson (TY LAWSON!) had a triple-double, the lead was back up to 20, and the Suns’ 58th loss was in the books. This time by a score of 129-104.
The best thing about this game was that Marquese Chriss did this several times:
Your heroes and goats, briefly:
- Alan Williams notched yet another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- Marquese Chriss showed out for his hometown with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
- Tyler Ulis continues to make his case for steal of the 2016 draft, putting up 25 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
- Poor Alex Len. If this was his final game as a Sun, he goes out with whimper, not a bang. 4 points, 7 rebounds.
- Eight of the nine Kings who played scored in double figures. Game ball goes to Ty Lawson who put up a triple double with 22 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.
- Buddy Hield led the Kings with a career-high 30 points.
So now that the season is over, what are you most looking forward to in what is sure to be a busy offseason for the Suns?
The Suns started this game like the season was already over, spotting Sacramento a 9-0 lead. After the Kings extended that to a 13-3 lead, Phoenix woke up. On the defensive end, Alex Len and Marquese Chriss had a little block party, with Chriss getting 2 rejections and Len getting 1 in the span of about 90 seconds. On the offensive end, Tyler Ulis found Chriss for a high-flying alley-oop.
Here’s Quese sending Willie Cauley-Stein’s shot far far away.
And here’s one of Marquese’s first quarter alley-oops.
The quality of basketball didn’t improve, but that didn’t stop the game from getting close and a little chippy. Dragan Bender made his mark on the first quarter. First, he made this nifty lay-up in traffic.
Then he scrapped with fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis. Who knows if this played any part in the scuffle, but Papagiannis’ papa had talked some trash about Bender during the draft process:
Just as a reminder to Kings fans: Georgios Papagiannis' father was VERY vocal about Dragan Bender on Twitter https://t.co/FXaQOYxDlQ— Omer Khan (@okhanSTR) April 12, 2017
The end result of the scrap was a lot of words exchanged and technical fouls issued to Bender, Chriss, Papagiannis and a common foul on Bender. And the intensity of the game got cranked up a couple of notches as the Kings carried a 28-25 lead into the second quarter.
While Dragan Bender’s post-injury shooting still leaves something to be desired, his passing remains on point, as he set up Derrick Jones, Jr. for a fast break dunk.
In the second quarter, Sacramento was able to extend their lead, getting it up to 47-35 with about 3 minutes left in the half behind some nice shooting by Ben McLemore and... Anthony Tolliver? Sure, Anthony Tolliver.
Also, in the interest of fairness, I should probably show you this clip of Buddy Hield putting Jones, Jr. on skates:
While you were frozen along with Airplane Mode watching that move, the Suns’ offense froze up entirely as the Kings outscored Phoenix 30-14 in that second quarter to take a 58-39 halftime lead.
Oh, gee. What can I say about the start of the second half. Here. Look at the Tyler Ulis drive and finish.
Maybe that will take the sting out Willie Cauley-Stein and the Kings having their way with the Suns to start the second half. The Kings extended their lead to 24 points about 4 minutes into the third quarter. Stein took advantage of Alex Len’s relative immobility off the dribble, burying a variety of close to mid-range jump shots.
A lot of bad basketball transpired. I thought maybe I was being dramatic, but then Steve Albert called it the “longest third quarter in NBA history” and I felt vindicated. The Kings maintained a 20 point lead, 97-77, going into the fourth quarter.