The Phoenix Suns lost their first game of the preseason tonight 102-96 to the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins lead the way for the Kings with 21 points and 9 rebounds, while Michael Beasley had the Suns' best all-around game (stats below).
The game started out promising enough with the Suns scoring 30 points in the first quarter, including 10 by Michael Beasley. Goran Dragic finished the first quarter with four assists and one basket.
Then the bench unit came in and, as is usually the way, the Suns struggled to score. They got only 18 points in the second quarter (11 of them by Wesley Johnson) and went into halftime with a one-point deficit.
DeMarcus Cousins loves playing the undersized Suns, dominating in the paint and on the glass.
The Kings beat the Suns to most loose balls in the second half, most pointedly at the end of the third quarter where the Kings got 4 straight offensive possessions, though somehow the Kings didn't score.
So the Kings just kept trying for more 4-shot possessions and got a few. Overall, the Kings outrebounded the Suns bigtime in the second half. On top of that, the Suns were falling for pump fakes,or not reacting in time to actual shot attempts. Just guessing wrong most of the time.
Kendall Marshall played like a rookie, missing his open jump shots and allowing himself to get rattled a bit with pressure. But more than anything, Marshall did not make an attempt to take over the game.
Most of the Suns looked like they didn't know exactly which plays would work and which would not, which is to be expected in a new offense. Especially amongst the non-starters who have not established themselves in the NBA yet.
Sacramento got a lot of rebounds, both offensive and defensive. They are long and Cousins is thick, as is Chuck Hayes (though he is not tall).
Kings went on a 16-5 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter, playing such luminaries as James Johnson, Chuck Hayes, Thomas Robinson, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons to take a 15-point lead. Ouch. To be fair, the Suns were playing youngsters and new players to the team.
Offensive rebounds. Layups. Dunks. Transition buckets. Offensive rebounds. Transition buckets. Offensive rebounds.
The Suns just didn't come out ready to play in the second half.
• Wes Johnson has a good game:, scoring 18 points on 7/15 shooting
• Markieff Morris played well in spurts, with 16 points and 7 rebounds (though only 5/13 from the floor)
• Kendall Marshall couldn't make a shot (1/5 with a layup) and had but 4 assists (though teammates missing shots didn't help him) and 3 turnovers in 28 minutes
• Michael Beasley played only in the first and third quarter, getting 14 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals (along with 3 turnovers) in 24 minutes.
• PJ Tucker got himself 7 rebounds (tied with 2 others for team lead) and 2 steals before getting a stinger in the shoulder and having to leave in the 4th. He also played spirited defense on the perimeter. He could be a good sparkplug as long as you don't want him to score (0/6 from the field).
• Goran Dragic played only 15 minutes after collecting 4 fouls in the first half. He scored 7 points in rapid succession in the third period, briefly giving the Suns the lead. Their last lead. For the game: 9 pts, 4 assists, 3 turnovers.
• Jermaine O'Neal had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in 18 minutes - similar to the last backup C.
• Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola did not play a whole lot, and did not impact the game much while they were in there (16 pts, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in a combined 47 minutes)
• Overall, the Suns shot just 41% from the field and 65% on free throws.