Suns vs. Kings Recap

Coming off a last second disappointing loss to the Warriors, the Suns returned home Tuesday night to face the Sacramento Kings. This was a very important game for both teams, for playoff position. The Suns came into this game with a half game lead over the Kings.  A Suns win would tie the season series between the two up, and they would move in as the fifth seed in the Western Conference standings.  Adding on to what was already a busy day for Phoenix, the Suns signed veteran forward Thaddeus Young off of the buyout market. This is an addition that will add experience and toughness to Phoenix’s bench.

After a hot start for the Suns, unfortunately Bradley Beal made an early first quarter exit with a hamstring injury. Eric Gordon had the greenlight early, with 10 first quarter points. The fans got a chance to welcome the newly acquired Royce O’Neale, and it added to the crowd’s excitement. Once the suns cooled down the game went back and forth, and the Kings finished the quarter up 39-38. Both teams struggled defensively. 

The Suns knew that this would be a tough game, every time the Kings are present it’s usually a hard fought game. The Kings went on a run going up by eight.  Malik Monk had the hot hand for Sacramento, giving the Suns problems everywhere.  Something that could be big in the future is a new defensive duo featuring Royce O’Neale and Josh Okogie, they showed they can make it hard for opposing teams on the perimeter. The Suns caught fire at the end of the quarter, ending the half down 67-64.  Eric Gordon led all scorers with 20 points, and even finished a rare alley-oop.

The biggest thing the Suns needed to adjust to was the King’s ability to attack. Domantas Sabonis had his way through the first half, with 19 points. A recurring problem the Suns have dealt with all season long has been their inability to close out shooters. That was the case in the first half.  

In response to a strong first half, the Kings jumped out of halftime with an early 11 point lead.  The Suns eventually presented the Kings with a small ball lineup featuring Devin Booker, Grayson Allen, Josh Okogie, Royce O’Neale, and Kevin Durant. This lineup swung the momentum towards the Sun’s way, and with two free throws Devin Booker tied the game up at 87. After a short run, the Suns went to their bench, and Nassir Little got some playing time.  lead Devin Booker made his presence felt, helping the Suns take a 94-92 lead into the fourth quarter. 

The Suns were off to a beaming start to the fourth quarter. Royce O’Neale caused the building to explode after a three, which led the Kings to call a timeout.  The Kings were able to gain some life back as they tied things up at 108, after trailing the Suns by 10.  Both teams traded buckets with only minutes left in the game. The Suns looked like they were about to pull away with a clutch O’Neale three, but De’aaron Fox put the Kings down by one with a huge three.  Devin Booker, who just passed up Alvan Adams as the second all-time leading scorer in Suns history, hit a mid-range that would put the Suns up by three with 32.8 seconds left. The Suns beat the Kings 130-125. This game showed that the Suns are going to be a team to beat down the stretch, and they just needed some time to work things out. 


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