A battle between two of the best in the Western Conference ends with the Sacramento Kings defeating the Phoenix Suns, 114-106.
The Suns made a run in the fourth behind Yuta Watanabe's three 3-pointers, but De’Aaron Fox made crucial shots to halt any chance of a comeback from Phoenix. Fox ended the game with 34 points and 7 assists.
Without Kevin Durant and Grayson Allen, Devin Booker and Eric Gordon did their best to carry the Suns, combining for 47 points. Phoenix had their opportunities, but the Kings always seemed to have the upper hand throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter.
The loss drops the Suns to a 12-10 record. 60 games left to go, everyone. It’s not the end of the world.
With Devin Booker springing the Suns to an early lead in the first quarter, it was Jusuf Nurkic extending the lead, by setting up teammates and barreling down against Domantas Sabonis in the paint. We have seen this before, where Nurkic will continue to punish the opposing center before gathering for a jump hook or drawing the foul.
Nurkic was an extension of Booker, setting the tone with great passing in the first quarter.
It's just more fun when it's a no look pass ✌️ pic.twitter.com/m7E4qjuAys— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 9, 2023
But Nurkic could only do so much while the Kings made their comeback, tying the game at 22-a-piece. The game slowed down while the minutes dwindled in the first quarter, with the Suns holding a 26-24 lead heading into the second quarter.
Booker did his part, scoring nine, but with the absence of Kevin Durant, a search for another scorer was imminent to pull out a victory in this one.
The Kings started to make plays when the Suns could not. Turnovers created by the Suns and the ineffectiveness of Drew Eubanks under the rim to gather the loose rebound for an easy bucket distanced the Kings 35-30.
Playing against his former team, Chimezie Metu played a big part in the Suns sticking with the Kings in the first half. He was high-flying, cutting, and making the Kings defense vulnerable and accountable at all times.
The Kings were gunning from three, but having a hard time hitting any of them in the first half. Shooting 5-21, they managed to get open but nothing was falling.
We all knew it would be Eric Gordan stepping up tonight, right? He has been doing it all season long and in the first half against the Kings, he had 14 points, helping Booker who had 18 points.
The Suns held a 59-50 lead at the half.
Halftime: PHX 59, SAC 50— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) December 9, 2023
Booker: 18 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 7-9 FG
Gordon: 14 Pts, 5-8 FG
Nurkic: 5 Pts, 6 Reb, 2-7 FG
Sabonis: 10 Pts, 9 Reb, 4-7 FG
Suns close 2Q on 13-3 run
The Suns had an 11-point lead to start the second half but were unable to pull away. The Kings made an effort to keep their loose balls, with the Suns draped all over them. Somehow, someway, the Kings pulled together a 10-point run to cut the lead to one. The defense was tight, but the ball always managed to find its way into the Kings’ hands and through the rim.
The opportunities for the Suns were there to pull away, but Josh Okogie failed to hit open threes and Eubanks managed to miss a dunk.
After what was already a weird game with a late crowd- due to traffic, Nurkic was headed to the locker room, after exiting the third quarter earlier than normal.
Chaos in the third left the Suns behind the Kings 83-71 entering the fourth quarter. Line-ups that were mushed and mashed together, ate at the Suns who were in desperate need of help scoring the ball.
Both Booker and Gordon failed to score a point in the third, along Metu failing to dunk the ball after a break-away attempt fell short. It was time to sound the panic alarm!
The Suns needed one more player to step up and that man was Yuta Watanabe. Hitting all his threes in the fourth quarter, closed the Kings' lead to only six points with eight minutes left in the game. Nurkic did return to the game, joining the fun and knocking down a three of his own.
The crowd got into it one technical foul after the next. With four minutes left to go, the Kings felt the pressure from Okogie and Nurkic, bossing them around and trying to pry the lead from the Kings' hands, but Fox was too good.
Drawing fouls and hitting big shots, Fox held off the Suns, giving the Kings a 114-106 victory.
Three days off lie ahead of the Suns before they battle the Golden State Warriors at home on Tuesday.