Kings 115, Suns 117: Sacramento digs too deep of a hole

A valiant comeback effort wasn’t enough to overcome a terrible start.
By | 0 Comments | Oct 24, 2017

I’d like to think I know a thing or two about the Kings. So naturally, when this morning saw Earl Watson fired and Eric Bledsoe sent home for demanding a trade the same day they were set to play the Kings, I tweeted this:

So I wasn’t exactly surprised when I turned the game on and it was already 13 to 2 Phoenix. Disappointed, sure, but not surprised. The Suns would go on to continue eviscerating Sacramento’s starting lineup early on, building up a 22 point lead that was cut to just 19 by the time the first quarter ended.

From that point on, the Kings spent the entire rest of the game playing catchup, and thanks in part to their young guys they were able to. While every single Sacramento Kings starter finished with a negative +/- (and all but Willie Cauley-Stein in double digit negatives with Willie right at the border at -9), every single Kings bench player was a positive, led by none other than De’Aaron Fox. Sacramento’s bench also outscored the starters 78 to 37.

Fox didn’t even have what I would consider to be an amazing game, but he still managed to score 19 points to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and play some really solid defense. The fact that he’s basically been Sacramento’s best player over four games and is a 19 year old rookie is a testament to how well he’s taken to the NBA. Fox is very poised for a rookie, and while he makes mistakes, he doesn’t get hesitant either. Fox even had a play ran for him towards the end of the game in which he tied the game at 112 with a flip shot in the lane, a shot he had been struggling with all night. On the ensuing possession, he got a steal and got to the basket where he wasn’t able to finish but probably should have gotten a foul call and a chance to take the lead at the line. This kid never gives up and I love it.

Garrett Temple was the near hero tonight. On a night when the Kings couldn’t buy a bucket from downtown, Temple hit six of them on his way to a team-high 23 points, including several late in the ballgame to bring the Kings all the way back into it. He did miss a crucial free throw late that could have tied the game, and he also was short on the game winner, but without Temple’s big shots and big plays, the Kings wouldn’t have even been in the position to have a chance to win the game.

We also saw the debut of Bogdan Bogdanovic, and he was a key part of Sacramento’s second quarter run that cut the Suns lead to just 8 at halftime. Bogdan showcased his feel for the game and also his vision with some nifty passes. It was a rough shooting night for the rookie though, as he went just 5-15 and in particular couldn’t buy a basket in the second half. He looked a bit rusty and fatigued, which is to be expected when the guy has played all summer and is also just coming back from an injury.

This was easily Sacramento’s worst defensive game of the young season so far, allowing the Suns to shoot 54.5% from the field and get easy bucket after easy bucket. The defense tightened up a lot in the second half, but Phoenix still got far too many easy looks while Sacramento worked for tougher shots. Rookies Mike James and Josh Jackson combined for 33 points on 14-18 shooting, and James hit a very tough shot over the outstretched arms of Willie Cauley-Stein that put the Suns in the lead for good.

The Kings will need to be more consistent from start to finish to win these types of games, and I also think that it’s time for some change in the starting lineup. This lineup hasn’t done a great job of getting off to a good start, and some adjustments should be made.

The Kings now have a couple days off before they return home to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday in the return of DeMarcus Cousins.

For the opponent’s perspective, visit Bright Side of the Sun.

Game Highlights:

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