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CK Press Box Report: Kings 85, Suns 83

The Kings win on a buzzer beater.

By James Ham and Rui Thomas

gamewinner

With all the coaching drama surrounding the Sacramento Kings (18-32) recently, and with starters Darren Collison and Rudy Gay out with injuries, it was understandable for fans to count them out. But a passionate effort on both sides of the ball helped the Kings take down the Phoenix Suns (29-24) in a dramatic home victory, by the final, 85-83.

“It shows a lot about who these guys are,” Tyrone Corbin told the media after the game. “As I told them, whatever you do, you got to lay it on the line.”

The Kings played efficient offense and outstanding defense, a rare sight to see together. Sacramento shot 45.3 percent from the floor and dished 20 assists. They held Phoenix to 36.3 percent on field goals and 5-of-28 from behind the arc.

Sacramento led by 10 entering the fourth quarter, but their offense sputtered, going 6-of-21 from the floor. The Suns took advantage to claw back and take the lead with 1:21 remaining, but the Kings showed resilience with a few stops and a wild off-balance jumper by DeMarcus Cousins to win it as time expired.

“I happened to see it had a chance because it went up so soft, and to see it go in the hole at the end with the clock expiring was great,” Corbin added.

Cousins, in his final home appearance before the All-Star Game, once again carried the load with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Ben McLemore provided a spark from outside with 13 points and three baskets from downtown.

Omri Casspi couldn’t replace Gay’s production, finishing with only three points, but Ramon Sessions and Ray McCallum stepped up to direct the offense in Collison’s absence.

For the Suns, Isaiah Thomas got the start in place of Eric Bledsoe (personal) and scored 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting and five assists. Goran Dragic notched 13 points and five assists and Gerald Green added nine points off the bench.

With the win, the Kings improve to 7-19 under coach Corbin. They’ll travel to face the Chicago Bulls (32-20) on Tuesday and Milwaukee Bucks (28-23) on Wednesday

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins was a force from start to finish tonight, including the winning shot at the buzzer.  Without a legitimate center to slow him, the Kings pivot went for 28 points and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes of action.  Cousins managed to turn the ball over six times, but he has now dropped in a double-double in 15 of his last 16 games, bring his total to 32 on the season.
  • Ben McLemore has shaken off a rough January and come out swinging here in the month of February.  Tonight against Phoenix, the 21-year-old guard scored 13 points on 3-for-8 shooting from long range.  He is now averaging 12.8 points per game over his last four contests.
  • Cousins wasn’t the only Kings big to drop in big numbers against the undersized Phoenix Suns.  Jason Thompson put in a solid night, scoring nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.  Thompson added five rebounds and a pair of assists in the win.  On the defensive end, he and his fellow power forwards held the Morris twins to a combined 13 points on 7-for-32 shooting.
  • Carl Landry came off the bench to provide a spark in the first half, dropping in all of his six points before the intermission.  Before tonight’s contest, Landry had averaged just 2.6 points over his previous five games.
  • Filling in for the injured Darren Collison, Ramon Sessions had a quiet, but productive 10 points, six assists and seven rebounds in his 32 minutes as a starter.  Ray McCallum filled in nicely off the bench, adding eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings need every tick on the clock to pull this one out. EVERY TICK.

Quote of the Game

DeMarcus Cousins on recent media reports

“This city done put me through so much and I stayed loyal to it the whole time. I just want to know how you’re going to stop God’s plan.”

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