The Sacramento Kings are reportedly a mess in the locker room with all kinds of divisions and distractions and they sure played like it against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns weren't exactly fantastic except for Steve Nash who finished with 28 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds to lead Phoenix to a 103-89 win over the Kings. Nash was 13-18 from the field for his best shooting night of the season. He obviously was energized by the birth of his son this morning.
"I thought we played good," Kings guard Tyreke Evans said in a statement that really doesn't match the game we saw. "Nash was being Nash; hitting shots in the lane, pull ups. We couldn't stop him tonight and that was pretty much it."
The Kings were lead by Carl Landry who had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Nash got help from Hakim Warrick's 18 points and Jason Richardson who finished with 14. It's hard to give the Suns defense too much credit for the Kings poor shooting but they certainly were able to take advantage of Sacramento's mistakes and run the ball off turnovers and misses. The Kings shot .409 from the field and never had any kind of cohesion or offensive flow.
Rebounding, which has been a problem for the Suns all season long, was an issue again tonight with the Kings out-rebounding the Suns 50-42. But the inept Kings offense wasn't able to convert on their extra chances so the advantage didn't help them much although it's still a concern of the Suns as expressed by Jason Richardson.
"We've got to rebound. We did everything we were supposed to do on the defensive end besides that aspect of it. We played great team defense, we held them to 40 percent but we just got to find a way to rebound the ball, that's the only thing we have to do better."
Turnovers have also been a focus for Suns Coach Alvin Gentry. He was pleased to see that his team only coughed up the ball 11 times but he's repeatedly said that while the Suns can improve the turnover problem, rebounding is going to plague this team as it's currently constructed.
"I mean there's no secret formula. We're just going to have to find a way to just man up and find a way to come up with some rebounds," Gentry said.
The Suns four bigs, Hakim Warrick, Channing Frye, Hedo Turkoglu and Robin Lopez, combined for only 13 of the Suns 42 total rebounds. Nash and Richardson had 15 on the night. The Suns can get away with that against a bad team like the Kings but will not be able to beat quality teams if the bigs aren't grabbing more boards.
The Suns held a lead most of the game with the margin reaching 14 points early in the third quarter before the Kings were able to close the gap to three early in the fourth. Nash came back in the game a bit early and the Suns quickly pulled away for good.
For more on the game, visit Bright Side of the Sun.