Just like against the Denver Nuggets a week ago, the Suns had a great first half playing their game and taking a solid second-quarter lead.
But then after halftime, their opponent started playing really well and the Suns offense completely died.
The Suns won the first half 61-53 but lost the second half 57-46.
Deandre Ayton was the Suns best player. He had 16 points and 11 rebounds at halftime, but got only one shot in the whole second half and finished with 21 points and 21 rebounds.
Devin Booker had some good runs, and finished with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
But everyone else was pretty much bad, including Chris Paul, and the Suns went down for the 3rd time in 4 games this season.
The Suns had a spirited comeback, even tying the game at 107-107 with 37 seconds left. But the Kings win on a buzzer beater, 110-107.
Both teams came out playing fast, with little resistance on either defensive end. The Suns took an early lead behind the activity of Deandre Ayton — 6 points (all dunks), 4 rebounds in first 6 minutes. The Suns were shooting 58% to the Kings 60%, but made more threes to have the early lead, 18-14.
Former Suns dotted the center position for the Kings, with Richaun Holmes starting and Alex Len coming in halfway through the first quarter to replace him.
The Suns ended the first quarter up 29-23 on 50% shooting and a lot of hustle we had not seen the first week of the season as they got into game shape. They still got out-attempted on threes (10 to 5), which is a bad trend, but the Kings only drained 1 of 10.
The second quarter was up (to 36-25) then down (to 40-36) then back up to 51-40. Deandre Ayton was having himself a game... that continued into the second quarter this time! Had a double-double before halftime (16 and 11). Elfrid Payton also played well in the backup PG role (Cam Payne out/hammy), putting in 8 points with 2 assists. Devin Booker came alive late in the quarter, finishing the half with 15 points and 3 rebounds.
Suns up, 61-53, at half.
The Suns did not start as well in the second half, getting outscored 8-0 with a lot of empty/bad possessions to allow the tie at 61-61. The Kings were playing more physical and spirited defense, bothering Chris Paul into misses on shots he didn’t want to take.
The Kings traded buckets with the Suns for a while then, even taking the lead on a nice cut by De’Aaron Fox to the bucket.
The Kings were definitely playing with a lot of energy out of the half, and the Suns just frankly were playing with not a lot of focus. Chris Paul missed a ton of shots, and Devin Booker was hot and cold. And that doesn’t bode well when they’re your ball handlers and they’re choosing to take all the shots.
The Suns scored only 15 points in the third quarter, ending the quarter down 82-76 as the Kings scored 29 of their own (Buddy Hield had 12).
This is one of those games where you look at the box score and get the wrong idea about JaVale McGee’s game. The box says 7 points (3-3 shooting) and 11 rebounds in 12 minutes but he’s really not been very good out there. He has 4 turnovers (this number seems low) and has not provided good help defense at all. It’s the whole JaVale experience.
Buddy continued the hot shooting (7 threes himself, compared to the Suns having only 3 as a team at this point), helping Sacramento take the lead 92-82 with 8:31 left. They just weren’t going away.
In fact, the Kings just played with a lot more freedom than the Suns, who seemed to get tighter and tighter as the game went on.
The Suns went on a late run with Booker running point, and Landry Shamet next to him, but the Kings were now feeling it and made enough threes to keep the lead.
The Suns pulled within three but gave up a layup to Harrison Barnes, then pulled within 2 on a Jae Crowder three and FINALLY TIED THE GAME on a Crowder steal and Booker assist to Mikal Bridges with 34.7 seconds left.
Tie game 107-107. The Suns forced a Kings miss, but then got Booker a terrible shot for the miss. Kings ball, 3.7 seconds left.
And then Harrison Barnes makes the three to win the game.
Suns are now 1-3 on the season.
The homestand continues for the Suns as they welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. The 2-2 Cavs are on a west coast swing, bringing their 2-2 record to the Staples Center this evening against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Papa Ricky Rubio will make his return to Phoenix, his first time doing so with fans in the stands. If you are at the game on Saturday, stand and cheer for that man. The Suns wouldn’t be who they are today without the efforts Rubio provided during his one season in Phoenix.