The Phoenix Suns beat a Sacramento Kings team without DeMarcus Cousins by the score of 115-106. The story for three quarters was the Suns hot shooting from beyond the arc that was being neutralized by the Kings play in smaller areas of the floor. The Kings had 24 points off of turnovers, beat the Suns 54-46 at points in the paint despite not playing a center, and had 17 offensive rebounds despite not playing a center.

Still, the Suns centers got their worth. Alex Len and Miles Plumlee went to town on the Kings without DeMarcus Cousins or Ryan Hollins out there. Len had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks while Plumlee added 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The twins had an absolute field day in this one, shooting 14-23 combined including Marcus' 6-7 effort from three. Here's your recap by halves.

First Half

The story of the first half was the ball movement for the Suns. While the score may not have reflected it, it felt like the Suns were the much better team and should have been up by more. The Suns had 17 assists, 10 of which came from Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. They only had five turnovers and were generally getting it done offensively.

The Kings kept making mini-runs to keep themselves in the game, essentially playing in spurts. The Suns have really had trouble staying focused for a full 48 minutes at times and this was what was keeping the Kings in the game.

Second Half

It seemed like to me at least that the Suns came out with some newfound energy and decided that they were over the Kings being in this game. A 7-0 run to start off of the third quarter made it seem that the Suns were about blow the doors off in the game. That would not happen, as the Suns would let up yet again and allow Sacramento back into the game. They would commit seven turnovers in the quarter, most of which resulted with points on the other end. Still, the Suns went 5-6 from three and despite not completely buzzing out there they were still up 4 going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter after another Marcus Morris technical and some Isaiah Thomas glaring at the Kings bench the Suns started to pull away. Len was getting more and more space around the basket and the Kings started to not get points in other areas of the court. Zoran Dragic made an appearance with a minute left.

DeMarcus Cousins is out with an illness tonight. Ryan Hollins and Ramon Sessions are also out.

A preview of the Suns' game at Sacramento, where Isaiah Thomas will play his first game as a visitor in his old home.

      
 
 

The Phoenix Suns will take on the Sacramento Kings at 8PM MST on Fox Sports Arizona and 98.7FM. Here's the lowdown.

Previous Meeting

Early in the season these two teams met and it would be the first of many games the Suns would let slip away at home. The double overtime defeat was an unacceptable loss in which the Suns led by 11 at the end of the third quarter and the Kings didn't have a lead in the game until there was 1:37 left in the fourth quarter. The Suns would also jump out to a 7-point lead in the first overtime and a 4-point lead in the second overtime. It was a horrible loss and you've got to think (and hope) that the Suns remember it.

The Kings

The Sacramento Kings have had a bizarre season. The superstar two-way play of DeMarcus Cousins combined with the resurgence of players like Darren Collison and Ben McLemore had the Kings at a very respectable 11-13 record in the middle of December. With a record like that on the league's second toughest schedule and missing their superstar center for nine games the Kings should have been absolutely fine with that mark. It apparently was not fine with the higher ups in Sacramento as they went on to fire head coach Mike Malone. A move like this with a previously unstable centerpiece that was happy seems strange and everyone is struggling to see the reasoning.

Regardless of that hysteria, the Kings still have to move on. They are 1-3 since Malone was fired and they got Cousins back for the last three games. If you were wondering about Cousins being healthy, he's averaged 26 points and 11 rebounds in those games so I think he's fine. McLemore is finally shooting the way he was supposed to out of the draft (40% from deep this year) and Collison is putting up career highs across the board (except for his FG%). They've gotten some great work off the bench from Omri Casspi and will bring some real strength and size to the power forward position with Jason Thompson and Carl Landry.

The Suns

Besides the Dallas Mavericks game from earlier this year, this two game stretch has been the best basketball we've seen from the Suns this season. Following some unsettling quotes from Isaiah Thomas, head coach Jeff Hornacek has gone with the three point guard lineup more than ever and while it's a small sample size, the numbers have been fantastic. Both games featured six Suns getting into double digits. Any Suns fan who has seen games from both last season and this season know how much of a night and day type switch it is with this team. This could be the start of something.

Prediction

The Kings are (rightfully so) not the same team without Mike Malone and despite having a great big, something Suns fans fear, I think the Suns picked the right time to travel to Sacramento.

Score: Phoenix Suns 114, Sacramento Kings 97

There was not much in the box score or the highlights to tell what a difference Markieff Morris made on the court when the Suns beat Dallas on Tuesday for a four-game winning streak.

      
 
 

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