When the Sacramento Kings came out on the court they were energized like an upstart ready to rule over a team that had been its master for so many years. The only problem with that is the comical nature in which they played after the initial quarter turning Kings to Jesters in a blink.
The Phoenix Suns (10-15) pulled out the win to extend their current winning streak to three games avoiding contention with the cellar of the Western Conference for now.
In a game against a bad team -- the Kings are now 7-17 -- with two key injuries, off of a back-to-back, and on the road is about as easy pickings as one could ask for. The Suns tried to give the game to the Kings early, but the game was about attrition and sustaining play rather than immediate gratification of a single quarter won.
"I thought we were great in the second half," said Gentry after the team scored 58 second half points. "Good ball movement and I thought Scola was great finding people."
Luis Scola put together a career-high with 10 assists and his first non-points/rebounds double-double of his career as well. Scola set the tone in the third with five of his assists creating fluidity to the offense that had been very stagnant over the course of the season. Getting two or three passes in every possession has always made this team more lethal on offense as opposed to when the ball just sticks in one person hands.
"Last game we moved the ball pretty well," said Brown after the game about the ball movement. "We are just continuing to get better. Hopefully we can keep having that happen and keep winning."
That third quarter was the factor in the game and was highlighted by Scola's unselfishness, Shannon Brown's 14 points (matched the Kings as a team in the third), and the energy of the team as a whole. The question is, did the Suns overlook this Kings team early on?
"I have no idea, but that isn't it. We are in no position to overlook anyone. I look on the right side (of the boxscore) and we have 15 losses so we cannot overlook anyone. Not anyone. Not anyone in this state... including Chaparral High. I don't know why we got off to a slow start, but it didn't have anything to do with being overconfident or anything like that. We just didn't have the energy that we needed to start the game, but we found a way to get the energy in the second half and I told them the first five minutes of the third quarter was going to be monumental as far as are we going to take the game over or have to battle to the end. I thought we did a good job of coming back and taking over the game."
That energy took the Kings out of their rhythm, comfort zone, and without their traditional leader on the court (Tyreke Evans) they had nobody to turn to for those situational, run stopping buckets. When they did turn to a player capable of making those types of plays Marcin Gortat continued to deny him, play after play.
"I don't think he wanted to play tonight," said Marcin Gortat on DeMarcus Cousins poor play after the game. Not here to speculate, but look at the boxscore and look at the game, Cousins was not the monster that torched the Suns for 23.38 PPG like he had been over the course of his career. Enough said.