Playing for a contract he is.  Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The Sacramento Kings are not that bad of a team. I mean that. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast, Tyreke Evans is a beast, and Isaiah Thomas, well he has his moments when he isn't tossing the ball into the second row. The three, along with Marcus Thornton proved formidable against a Suns in the first half, overcoming turning a 4 point deficit to take a 10 point lead. The Kings strong armed the Suns for 11 first half offensive rebounds, converting into 11 points.

But in the second half, the Suns strapped on their big boy pants, as the second unit Suns played much better than they did in the first half. The Suns slowly chipped away at the King lead until DeMarcus Cousins lost his mind and committed a flagrant foul on Channing Frye by way of elbow to the neck. Frye converted both free throws, and the Suns were up 53-52.

After 2 Tyreke Evans free throws, the Kings were back on top briefly, 61-59. A 9-0 Suns run, featuring buckets by Gortat, Dudley, Frye and Nash brought the tally to 68-61 Suns. And that is when the Suns second unit redeemed themselves after an awful first half appearance.

The Kings went nearly 2 minutes without a bucket, Marcus Thornton went temporarily insane and Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley hit 3's as the Suns went on a 9-2 run.

Sacramento got within 3 in the waning moments of the 4th, but the Suns hit their next 5 shots to close out the Kings.

NOTABLE

  • The Suns held the Kings to 38% shooting. The Kings starters were especially awful: Evans 8-18, Cousins 7-20, Thornton 9-23, Thomas 3-13
  • The Suns big two of Frye and Gortat out-rebounded the Kings bigs, Cousins, Thompson, and "guard" Evans 27-24
  • The Kings were terrible from 3, (2-13), while the Suns hit for 5-12
  • The Suns bench outscored the kings bench 30-18
  • Robin Lopez put in a strong performance, playing 17 minutes, scoring 7, grabbing 5 boards, and blocking 2 shots.
  • The Suns finished off a 6 game homestand 5-1, and are now 10-9 in the gorgeous confines of U.S. Airways Arena

FINAL THOUGHTS

Quality game from the Suns. If you tossed the 2nd quarter out of the mix, the Suns win this game comfortably. Gotta feeling Alvin Gentry shredded the second unit members at half time after their performance in the first half. Shannon Brown still plays out of control and makes some super stupid decisions at times, but you can tell he is feeling more confidence with his shot and role on the squad.

Steve Nash is plain freaking smart. What do we think of the recent trend of floaters he takes? It's a good shot for him, you can tell he has worked on it, and masters of the obvious like myself are thinking...Brilliant, he can beat his man and when his roll partner is taken away, he's left open in the paint from 5-10 feet out. If he takes it to the hole, he'll get blocked, bludgeoned or both. Instead, he drops the lil' floater in the lane.

Channing Frye is proving he doesn't need to shoot a respectable percentage from the field in order to stay on the court. It's clear Frye is consciously trying to take the ball inside. It's also clear he's putting in a huge effort on the boards and on the defensive end of the floor. He has the size and length to be a defender. He has the desire to shed his "soft" label. And he's clearly not stressing about missing shots.

Markieff Morris was putrid tonight offensively. Freakin' putrid. But, the kid still grabbed 6 boards in his 17 minutes. He's getting the open looks, they aren't falling. He's rushing his shot at times, and other times he's just laying bricks. The key is he's getting good playing time. He'll find his shot, he'll be a good PF in the NBA.

Grant Hill is quietly going about his business, D'ing up the oppositions best player every night, hitting clutch shots as he did tonight in the 4th, and being a quiet MVP on this squad. Sure the engine doesn't run without Nash, but the Camaro morphs into a Ferrari when Hill is doing his thing. He's healthier now than at any time in the first half of this season.

Next up, a true test. OKC, Dallas, Memphis, Minnie, Utah, the Clippers.

Kings vs Suns coverage

Kings vs Suns boxscore

Sactown Royalty


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The Phoenix Suns rebounded from a double digit deficit for their 3rd straight game as they rallied in the second half to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 96-88.

The Suns utilized a 10-2 run in the 4th, featuring two 3's by Shannon Brown and one by Jared Dudley to gain separation from the Kings.

Steve Nash led the Suns with 19 points and 7 assists. Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye grabbed 27 boards between them as the Suns outrebounded the Kings collectively, 53-49.

Shannon Brown was clutch tonight, with 13 points off the bench, hitting shots when the game was in the balance.


SWEET JESUS, PLAY SOME D AND GRAB SOME REBOUNDS

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Total Users: 25
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Total Threads: 1


How good can the youngster be? Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

3 in a row is a start towards..something.


Phoenix Suns guard Jared Dudley, right, shoots over Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.  The Suns won 98-84.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The Phoenix Suns are currently nestled in 12th place among Western Conference foes, 3.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the 8th seed. Amid the rest of the WC in between Phoenix and the playoffs are three other squads, Portland, Utah, and Minnesota. The chances of all 4 taking a dump while the Suns make a victorious run are slim to none. Nevertheless, two straight victories after the All-Star break may have given many of us a reason to watch tonight as the Kings come to town.

The men in purple and orange have sauntered out of the All-Star break knowing if they are to make any kind of improbable run to the playoffs, they must play full games in which they play defense, rebound, and shoot a respectable percentage from the field. Although it's only been two games, the Suns have shown that shutting down the opponents best player(s) is a great way to win games.

  • Vs. The Wolves, the Suns held Minnesota's bigs in check, as Love/Williams/Beasley shot 11-40 and 16 boards in between the 3. Meanwhile every Suns starter picked up at least 5 boards, included Steve Nash, who grabbed 8, one more than Marcin Gortat. As a team, the Suns out-rebounded Minnie 44-37
  • On the offensive end, every Sun starter scored in double figures, while every reserve scored at least 3 points and totalled a +10
  • Vs. the Clips, the Suns were awful from the field, managing only one quarter above 18 points. But the Clippers starters totalled 18-56 from the field (-41 +/-), and won the rebounding battle 52-46. Grant Hill locked up Chris Paul, while Channing Frye pulled down 14 boards and made Blake Griffin's life hellish.
  • The Suns starters totalled a robust +63, outscoring the Clippers first team 66-46. It's great to look at the box score and see Gortat with a "ho-hum" 18 and 14, including 5 offensive rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
  • The Suns are looking to break the .500 mark at home tonight. They are currently 9-9 in the desert.
MORE FUN WITH NUMBERS

In the past 5 Games, The Suns are:
  • 6th in the West in rebounding differential at +3.80
  • 2nd in the West in scoring differential at +7.60
  • 2nd in the West in opponent FG% allowed at 42%
  • 4th in the West, in games scoring 100+ points, going 3-1
QUOTABLE
"We have got to take advantage of every situation as far as playing at home...If we are not going to shoot the ball well then the only thing that can keep us in the game is our defense..."

Lon Babby

"We're not trading Steve Nash because he represents everything this franchise is and should stand for, he's an important part of the fabric of this team and the community...he's earned the right to stay here as long as he wants and as long as he's all in on this program...the value that he brings both on and off the floor is incalculable...To me, and I've been through this process on the other side...the most important thing in attracting other players here and retaining players is that we communicate the culture and the values that this franchise stands for...the most important value that you can stand for is treating people the right way and respectfully and honoring the service they have provided, and I think we are communicating that to Steve and the NBA community at large."

GAME DAY LINKS

"I don't want to get into details. That's spilled milk. I just think there are opportunities to make moves. What was the identity? That's the biggest thing we struggled with. What was our identity going to be? When they went and got Shaq, they had a certain idea of what the identity was going to be. To try to implement that, you would have to change some roster spots."
"The conditions are different -- the Kings have no momentum on the court with two straight losses to the L.A. teams after beginning the second half with a home win over Utah. We also know the difference between the home Kings and road Kings, and must adjust accordingly. Phoenix isn't amazing at home (9-9, +1.3), but is better there than on the road (7-11, -5.3)."



CHECK FOR LIVE GAME TALK AT 5.30 MTN

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