Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger turned the ball over to his young core Wednesday in Phoenix and they delivered in shocking fashion. Led by rookie Skal Labissiere’s career night, the Kings outlasted the Suns to come away with the 107-101 win.
Labissiere showed off his entire arsenal against Phoenix. The 6-foot-11 power forward scored a career-high 32 points on 11-for-15 shooting, including 20 in the fourth quarter and added 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
The starting frontline of Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos produced numbers for coach Dave Joerger. Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the night with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four steals and four blocks, while Koufos chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.
Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson attacked rookie Tyler Ulis, coming away with 11 points and six assists. Arron Afflalo scored 14 points and Langston Galloway provided a spark off the bench, knocking a pair of 3-pointers for eight points.
Devin Booker burned the Kings with a game-winner at the buzzer the last time these two teams met. He was back at it Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena, scoring 19 points on just 6-for-26 shooting.
Ulis has a future in the league. The pint-sized point started for Eric Bledsoe and scored 13 points and handed out a game-high 13 assists.
T.J. Warren dropped in 24 points on 12-for-16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds and Alan Williams scored 14 points and picked up 10 rebounds.
Sacramento native, Marquese Chriss scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots.
Labissiere wasn’t just the best rookie on the court, he was the best player. The 20-year-old forward is showing there is more to his game everytime he steps on the court.
The Suns stayed with the Kings all the way down the stretch, but in the end, Bookers shooting woes were too much to overcome, as was the strong play of Labissiere.
Darren Collison and Anthony Tolliver missed the game due to “planned rest.” Rookie Malachi Richardson is out another week or two with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.
The Kings travel have two days off before playing Saturday in a 12 pm start on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following the game in OKC, the Kings fly to San Antonio where they face the Spurs on Sunday evening.