Rapid Recap: Kings close strong, beat Suns 128-119

The Sacramento Kings an insult is not a joke. They score hard on shots to the rim, get open 3-pointers when drives are off, and pace on every attempt or miss at the other end.

The Phoenix Suns’ fifth-ranked defense this season looks like it’s no match for the Kings’ top-ranked offense, so it came down to the Suns improving their offense by outplaying the Kings’ bottom-three defense.

The game was tied 115-115 with 3:39 left on a Torrey Craig free throw, but Sac regained the lead on a pick and roll finish by Sabonis on ANOTHER chance to go up 117-115. The Kings only had 7 offensive rebounds at that point, but they turned a pair of Ayton blocks into points and took the lead after a turnover.

Sabonis scored the next time, giving the Kings a 4-point lead. Ayton made a fast break on a Booker steal, bringing the Suns back within one with 1:14 left. Fox made a jumper to put the Kings up by 3 again, then Booker was called for a questionable offensive foul that was somehow confirmed on review, to which they responded with a 3-pointer to put the Kings up by 6.

It’s a game.

Kessler Edwards had a great game for the Kings (12 points, 7 rebounds for his best game as a King), and their scoring shut down.

The Suns’ big three did well, but the supporting cast didn’t provide enough support. On the other hand, the Kings secondary played a really great game. All five Kings bench players had 9+ points for 65 points (double the season average).

The Suns lose, 128-119, and the Kings outscore them 13-4 down the stretch.

Suns Managers: Chris Paul with 16 points and 16 assists, Devin Booker 28 points and 8 assists, Deandre Ayton 22 points and 12 rebounds. But the bench had more fouls (14) than baskets (13).

Let’s check how it was…

First half

The Suns jumped out to a 17-6 lead, forcing the Kings to take a timeout to reset their mindset… and bring a few players off the bench to change the momentum.

And they changed it – the Kings outscored the Suns 43-26, fueled largely by their bench team, which contributed 32 of those 43 points. During the streak, they also generated 17 free throws, compared to just 6 for the Suns. The guys off the bench just couldn’t stop fouling — Cameron Payne and TJ Warren picked up 3 fouls each, Terrence Ross 2, Damion Lee 2 and Jock Landale one. Crazy thing. Only Ish Wainright failed to foul, but he missed both of his three-pointers and that’s it. Just a terrible situation from those guys.

Players from the Kings bench shot 11 for 18 for 37 points in the first half. What what? If the superstar put up those numbers, highlights would be all over social media. Kings bench players are averaging 37 points per game, so that’s pretty good.

So much for that good Suns defense — 5th in the league this season — against a top-ranked Kings forward. The Kings just made them score non-stop anyway, even with a bad start from their starters.

Woof. In the half, the Kings used their offensive power. 67 points. 21 three-pointers. 26 free throws. And it’s only half time. You can’t give them three-pointers and a free.

Kings 67-59 over Suns at halftime.

Other half

The Suns came out much stronger in the 3rd quarter despite the Kings attacking the basket on every possession. They even turned a couple of Ayton blocks into turnovers (something not common with Ayton blocks, but it happened).

It took until the middle of the quarter for the Suns to reduce the advantage of the Kings, they even took the lead 88-85, but the Kings bench made a run again. This time it was Malik Monk. By the end of the quarter, the Kings regained the lead 96-95. The Kings bench is now up to 50 points a night (averaging 37 per game).

The Kings’ defensive scheme was to trap Booker near the three-point line to knock the ball out of his hands, and he obeyed. The Suns mostly scored with their starters, but the bench guys around Booker weren’t as effective.

Chris Paul helped the team take a 103-100 lead off the bench on a 3-pointer by Isha, but a second chance on the other end gave them another 3-pointer to tie things up again.

The Suns called a timeout with the score 105-105 and 7:28 left. Chris Paul had 14 points and 16 assists, while Deandre Ayton had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Devin Booker was about to go on a long streak with 21 points and 7 assists for the game. Josh Okogie has 15 points on 4-8 shooting (3-4 for 3-pointers), and Terrence Ross has 18 points in 21 minutes.

Coming out of a timeout, Okogie made a bad turnover as Malik Monk drained a bank-shot three in transition. This is how this night actually goes.

The Kings went up 112-107 on a 9-2 run that included several transition scores that the Suns simply didn’t have to commit.

Booker made a tough layup in traffic only to see the Kings use it like a runout to get an open three-pointer from the corner to get back to within 4, 115-111.

Booker made a 3-pointer to pull the Suns back within 1, and then Torrey Craig got free throws after a run of his own and made a 1 to tie the game, 115-115 with 3 to go.

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