The Sacramento Kings dominated the Phoenix Suns 117-103.
DeMarcus Cousins scorched the Suns with 34 points and 14 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas included 23 points and eight rebounds to the Kings’ convincing win. Sacramento has added to its fourth victory in the last six games, whereas Phoenix has tied a season-high fourth consecutive loss at home.
“We have a unique big man,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. “He’s a big who can play big but has the skills of a guard and a perimeter player. He has the whole package. When everything comes along in his life, when he grows up and sells into how he plays every night in the NBA, he’ll be a special talent.”
Sacramento finished the game shooting 53 percent from the field, 39 percent from the 3-point line and 92 percent from the foul line. The Kings accounted for 21 assists, three blocks, 19 fast break points, five steals and 18 turnovers.
The Suns continued to struggle in the low post. Sacramento totaled 50 rebounds compared to Phoenix’s 37.
Prior to this matchup, the Kings notably struggled at US Airways Center, losing 12 of their past 13 meetings in Phoenix. Regardless, Sacramento was able to pull out a 121-112 home win vs. the Suns on March 8.
It was a miracle the Suns only trailed 38-32 considering the explosive performance of Cousins. The Kings’ starting center began the first quarter with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Not exactly the ideal start for Phoenix, a team that surrendered 56 points in the paint Wednesday night vs. Utah Jazz.
The Kings entered halftime with a 64-50 lead. Cousins cemented his double-double by the end of the second with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Cousins closed the first half with 17-straight points.
“I didn’t even realize it,” Cousins said. “I was more caught up in the turnover I had. That’s some of the advantages I do have, my size and the ability to shoot ball, so I just took advantage of it.”
Thomas certainly aided Cousins’ outstanding first half with 14 points and eight rebounds. Sacramento shot 55 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 92 percent from the free-throw line heading into intermission. Phoenix conversely shot 41 percent from field goal range, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 43 percent from the foul line.
The Suns were able to cut the deficit to 10 entering the fourth. Luis Scola led the Suns with 16 points to help hold the Kings to a manageable 88-78 lead. Phoenix inched even closer following a 9-0 run with eight minutes remaining, bringing the score to within seven points in the final quarter.
However, the Suns’ hopes quickly dwindled following two quick Tyreke Evans assists to Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. With a victory virtually secured, the Kings sat a number of their starters with time to spare.
Scola finished the game with the team-high 25 points. Goran Dragic sat out once again, giving Kendall Marshall his second start. The young point guard finished with nine points and 10 assists. The Suns ended the fourth shooting 45 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3 and 52 percent from the free-throw line.
“I thought our effort was there but our execution wasn’t,” Suns coach Lindsey Hunter explained. “We had mental lapses at times on different coverages and it resulted in them scoring.”