Suns struggle on defense in 142-119 loss to Kings

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After an inspiring effort against the Thunder, the Phoenix Suns came out flatfooted against the Sacramento Kings.  Both teams have been struggling recently, but the Kings were the ones who took advantage tonight.

The Kings had strong contributions from their star players DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo.  Cousins finished with a game high 32 points along with nine rebounds, an assist, and two steals.  Phoenix did not have an answer for him defensively as Cousins was able to score at will.  Jon Leuer spent the majority of the game attempting to play defense on Cousins.  Tyson Chandler got the start for Phoenix, but he only played 12 minutes and was eventually ejected for getting two technical fouls in a row.  Alex Len did not play much either because he picked up three quick fouls in only six minutes played.  Rondo did what he usually does by racking up the assists and making good decisions.  He finished with 15 points and 15 assists.

The Suns played sloppy basketball once again.  They had 16 turnovers and hung their heads on defense.  After getting off to a bad start in the first quarter, Phoenix put together a 35 point second quarter and had some momentum going into halftime.  This carried over to the third quarter and the Suns grabbed a four point lead.  Apparently that was the signal for the Suns to stop playing as the Kings owned the rest of the game.  Sacramento scored a whopping 44 points in the third quarter and were able to coast from there.

Sacramento’s bench players had success tonight as well.  Marco Belinelli and Darren Collison had 19 and 21 points respectively.  The Suns’ lack of defensive effort allowed these two to greatly exceed their season averages for scoring.

Which Suns Shone the Brightest?

1. T.J. Warren – Warren continues to show developing leadership skills.  He finished with 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists.  I’m happy that he continues to get extended minutes.  It is good for him to start building chemistry with the other young players, especially Devin Booker.

2. Devin Booker – Booker had 21 points on 6-10 shooting.  He is improving at the little things, like free throw shooting, where he went 7-8 tonight.  His decision making still needs improvements, but it is important to remember that he is still a rookie.  I am still so impressed with his play every game.  The future is bright for him.

3. Brandon Knight – I am only going to focus on one statistic for Knight.  He had zero turnovers in this game.  The main duty of the primary ball handler is to take care of the ball.  Knight needs to continue to have these zero turnover games.

The Suns will try to turn things around when they finish up their road trip in Los Angeles against the Lakers tomorrow, January 3.  Tip off will be at 7:30 pm MST.

Mitch Krmpotich

Gonzaga University class of 2016. I'm a longtime college basketball writer and a big NBA fan. I'm also a die hard Broncos, Avalanche, Zags, and Suns fan.

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