"The records mean nothing," said Gentry about the Kings. "When you look at the guys they run out there and the way they play, you take a guy like Isaiah Thomas where the other night he gets 23 (points) in the fourth quarter. Two points off of Mitch Richmond's team record. So when you are in a situation like that we can't look past anyone and be ready for everyone's best shot. They can give a pretty good shot."
(Not to fact check coach, but it was 26 points for Thomas, which was all of his points for the game)
Getting off the skid against the teams they are battling internally for a Divisional Crown is very important task. They have already dropped their first game against the Warriors, Lakers, and Clippers putting them behind the eight ball. In basketball, divisional wins are not as impactful as, say football, but important nonetheless.
This Kings team is about individuals getting their numbers rather than a team coming together despite the name on the back of the jersey for a win. That is what the Suns are doing.
"They don't defend well, especially last night," said Dragic about the Kings. "They give a lot of transition points, but first we have to be solid on defense and after that we can run. Sometimes there are going to be slow games and sometimes fast games, but the fact is we have to play our pace."
If the team can master allowing the individuals on the Kings getting theirs in while the four others on the court are rendered irrelevant than this current two game winning streak can become three. Then again if the sum of the parts comes together for the Kings it could be a very different story.
PG - Goran Dragic v. Aaron Brooks
SG - Shannon Brown v. John Salmons
SF - Jared Dudley v. Francisco Garcia
PF - Luis Scola v. Jason Thompson
C - Marcin Gortat v. DeMarcus Cousins
Inactives Suns: None
Inactives Kings: Marcus Thornton (personal) and Tyreke Evans (Doubtful)
Dragic vs. Brooks
When they were traded for each other on February 24th, 2011 each team thought they won obtaining a need. The Houston Rockets got a big, young point guard to compliment Kyle Lowry and the Suns thought they had the scoring punch to alleviate Steve Nash at times.
Neither team ended up with that as just a year and a half later they do battle on different teams. More of a pride match-up rather than a headline grabber at this point.
"Not from my side," said Dragic on potential animosity from the trade. "Maybe the first game when I got traded and I came back here and played you guys (the Suns), but not any longer."
Keith Smart's Take:
"You have to do things one at a time. Take care of the first quarter, move through the first quarter. Take care of runs, teams are going to have runs and we shared in our pre-game here that we won 5 out of 22 first quarters, tied one. How do we get ourselves to where we are up ahead and teams are chasing us? I think you start the game with energy and the effort that you need to force an opponent to change. You don't win a game or lose a game in the first quarter, but a big test in a game where you have to maintain a lead or you have to try and catch up. The energy you have to put in will determine if you win basketball games."
DeMarcus Cousins vs. the Suns: 23.83 PPG (51% FG) 9.5 RPG 2-4 Record
The young star center has had a total of 11 games where he scored 28+ points and in those games his team is a meager 2-9 overall. So when he gets his the team suffers as a unit and they typically lose the game. Good strategy says let him score and you will win.
Against the Suns specifically Cousins has had two of those games including his career high 41 and his team is 1-1 in those affairs.