Kings ice cold from field in 96-88 loss to Suns

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Kings ice cold from field in 96-88 loss to Suns

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX (AP) -- Falling behind has become a habit for the Phoenix Suns. In the last three games, so has winning.Steve Nash had 19 points, Marcin Gortat scored 14 and matched his season high with 17 rebounds, and the Suns won their third in a row with a 96-88 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.In all three wins, the Suns rallied from double-digit deficits, something the franchise hadn't done since November 2002.Jared Dudley scored eight of his 14 in the fourth quarter, when Phoenix pulled away. Shannon Brown added 13, including consecutive 3-pointers in the decisive run to open the final period.Marcus Thornton scored 23 and Tyreke Evans 17 for Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins added 16 points and 14 rebounds, but the Kings shot just 33 percent in the second half to fall to 4-19 on the road.The three consecutive victories since the All-Star break, all at home, matched Phoenix's longest win streak of the season.Nash said the team's first-half struggles trace to its long layoff during the break."We had seven days off, a lot longer than a lot of people," he said, "and I just feel like we're still trying to shake the rust off in the first half of games. We feel a little better, a little more comfortable and make more plays in the second half."Overall, the Suns have won five of six."We still aren't starting great, but at least we are not starting ridiculously slow," Gortat said. We don't have this outstanding pace that we usually have in the third quarter, but we're getting better."Brown's 3s, followed by one from Dudley, capped a 15-3 Suns outburst to start the fourth quarter and Phoenix led 85-74 with 7:45 remaining. Sacramento scored the next eight to cut it to 85-82 on Cousins' dunk from the baseline with 3:32 to play.Nash, though, followed with his second 3 of the night in as many tries to boost the lead back to 88-82. The teams traded baskets, then Evans sank a 12-footer to slice the lead to 90-86 with 2:29 to go. Grant Hill made a pair of mid-range jumpers and Dudley's 18-footer with 51.4 seconds left sealed it."I think the thing that killed us was Shannon Brown, those 3s that he hit," Evans said. "After that we could never really find a rhythm."Sacramento coach Keith Smart praised his team's defense."You're going to give up something," he said. "You've got a great point guard who's going to make plays and find people. I thought our guys did a great job to maintain and do the things necessary, but we had a few breakdowns late."Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry liked the Suns' defense, too."But we didn't come up with the loose balls," he said. "We were right there defensively but we just need to complete the defensive possession."The Kings took a 32-29 lead after one quarter, then opened the second with a 10-2 run to go up 42-31 on Isaiah Thomas' 16-footer with 9:15 left in the half. Phoenix cut it to 48-44 on Nash's runner in the lane with 2:24 to go and was down 52-47 at the break.Cousins had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half but managed only four points and four rebounds after that. He finished 7 of 20 from the field, 1 of 4 after halftime.Phoenix caught the Kings at 52-all with 9:59 to play when Cousins was called for a flagrant foul for throwing an elbow into Channing Frye on a layup attempt. Frye made both free throws.Sacramento took a 61-59 lead on Evans' three-point play, but the Suns scored the next nine. Nash made a left-handed layup, was fouled by Evans and completed the three-point play to put the Suns ahead 68-61 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.The Kings outscored Phoenix 10-2 the rest of the quarter, though. Travis Outlaw blocked Sebastian Telfair's shot, then dunked the rebound at the other end of the court at the buzzer to give Sacramento a 71-70 lead entering the fourth.NOTES: The Suns played their sixth in a row at home, dating to before the All-Star break, and are in a stretch of 10 of 11 at US Airways Center. ... Thomas, who had averaged 17.1 points in seven games since becoming a starter, scored eight on 3-of-13 shooting. ... Referee Tre Maddox called a technical on Gentry in the second quarter. ... Sacramento got a technical on its second delay-of-game warning with 9:56 to play. ... Frye shot 3 of 12 for Phoenix. His backup at power forward, Markieff Morris, was 0 of 7.

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

The Sacramento Kings are young and lack experience. They have plenty of holes in their roster and they even sat three veterans when they rolled into the Staples Center for a 12:30 start on Sunday afternoon. 

Sacramento also has talent and they play hard. The Clippers just learned the hard way what plenty of other teams already knew - there is no quit in this team.

From start to finish, the Kings played a gritty style of defense. They closed out strong on the Clippers shooters and did their best to quash the alley-oop that Chris Paul is so famous for. Los Angeles coasted through the game assuming that they won before the opening tip. And then Sacramento flipped the table late, shutting the Clippers down in the fourth while riding a 22-3 run to finish the game with a 98-97 come from behind victory.

“I thought the whole game, the guys didn’t lose effort and they deserve it,” veteran point guard Darren Collison told media following the game. “Look at our last couple of weeks, even though the results haven’t been what we want it to be, so many guys that kept fighting, they were able to deserve this win.”

Trailing by 18 at the 5:16 mark of the fourth quarter, this game looked like so many others that we have seen over the last month. Sacramento had fought to stay in the contest, but in the end, the experience of their opponent wins out. But the Kings kept fighting.

“They didn’t lose hope, not one bit,” Collison said. “They kept pulling and pulling and pulling. Eventually they got some big threes, some big shots.”

So many contributed to the victory, but at the 2:19 mark, rookie Buddy Hield knocked down a 3-pointer to draw the Kings within six. Moments later he stole the inbounds pass and dropped in a second straight three in a nine second stretch.

“You just have to stay confident, trust yourself and trust what got you here,” Buddy Hield said.

Through three quarters, Hield had shot just 1-of-7 from the field and looked overwhelmed by the Clippers star players. He came alive in the fourth, hitting 3-of-3 from behind the arc to finish the quarter with 11 points and five rebounds. Hield scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds on the night, showing fans that he is ready to compete in crunch time.

“We kept playing and made some plays and the little things matter,” coach Dave Joerger said. “I’m really proud, it’s like we won Game 1 of the playoffs.”

With their teammates rallying on the court, the Kings bench looked like a cheerleader troup. All they needed was some pom-poms and a lot of eye liner.

Regardless of the record, Sacramento has remained a close knit group. Youth and veterans have meshed well as they forge towards another lottery selection. 

“I’ve been on a lot of teams, some winning teams and the chemistry is not as good as this team,” Collison added. “People don’t understand how hard it is to be in our shoes and come to work every single day with the circumstances that we have dealt with. But to be together still and fun, it shows a lot about this team. I’m real happy to be a part of this team. We’re not winning games, but the way we’re going about our business - we’re losing games together, we’re winning games together.”

Collison went off against his former team, scoring 19 points and handing out four assists in 28 minutes of action. Anthony Tolliver hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points and rookie Georgios Papagiannis but up 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and blocked two shots.

With the win, the Kings snapped their four-game losing streak and improve to 28-45 on the season. They play again on Monday when the Memphis Grizzlies drop by the Golden 1 Center on the second night of a road-and-home back-to-back. 

Instant Replay: Kings close game on 22-3 run, stun Clippers

Instant Replay: Kings close game on 22-3 run, stun Clippers

BOX SCORE

Wins are getting harder to come by for the Sacramento Kings. On Sunday afternoon, they battled all the way down the stretch and it looked like they were headed for a fifth straight loss. And then Buddy Hield and his young teammates fought back to shock the Los Angeles Clippers by a final of 98-97.

Hield caught fire late, scoring 11 of his 15 points in a wild outburst during the fourth quarter. The Kings shooting guard added seven rebounds and brought his team back with a steal and pair of 3-pointers late.

Willie Cauley-Stein hit the glass hard, grabbing 14 rebounds while scoring eight points at the center position. His bucket with 1.8 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner.

Darren Collison went to work against his former Clipper teammates. The veteran point guard went in attack mode early, knocking down his first eight shots. He finished the night with 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and four assists.

Anthony Tolliver sat in the corner and waited for the kick out from his teammates. The result was a 5-for-6 shooting night from long range and a solid 15-point performance.

Georgios Papagiannis came off the bench to support Cauley-Stein in the pivot and continued to show improvement. The rookie 7-footer out of Greece altered plenty of shots in his 21 minutes on the floor and finished the night with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Tyreke Evans started at the small forward spot and chipped in eight points and four rebounds and Ben McLemore added eight points in limited minutes.

The Clippers stars shined brightly Sunday at the Staples Center. Chris Paul set up his teammates from start to finished, dropping in 17 points and dishing out nine assists in the loss.

DeAndre Jordan went for 20 points and 11 rebounds. Blake Griffin shot 6-for-11 from the field for 17 points added six rebounds and Austin Rivers hit 2-for-7 from deep to finish with 10 points.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Hield was the hero. He struggled for the first three quarters, but came up big in the fourth to push his team over the top.

TURNING POINT:
Cauley-Stein grabbed a rebound and put it back in with 1.8 seconds remaining and Sacramento held on for the huge win.

INJURY UPDATE:
Ty Lawson was a late scratch with a knee issue and both Arron Afflalo and Kosta Koufos sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
Following the game in Los Angeles, the Kings hopped a plane back to Sacramento where they’ll face the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night at Golden 1 Center.