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Suns Fall to .500 with 120-105 Blowout Loss to Kings

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The short-handed and struggling Phoenix Suns dropped to 14-14 on the season after a 120-105 blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings (17-10).

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Phoenix entered tonight hoping to break a streak of losing seven of their last 10 games. However, the Suns were without Bradley Beal (right ankle sprain)Jusuf Nurkić (personal reasons) and Josh Okogie (right hip contusion). In return two-way players Udoka Azubuike and Saben Lee got some good minutes and actually made the most of them. The rest of the role players, not so much.

The game went about as expected missing these major pieces against a team that loves to play with the pace. Here’s how the action unfolded:

First Quarter

The Suns had a tough time right away defending the Sacramento stars without Okogie and Nurkić. Fox had 12 points in the first quarter, while Domantas Sabonis scored the Kings’ first seven points of the game and forced two fouls in the first quarter on both Drew Eubanks and Azubuike.

The first quarter was a free throw-fest with 25 combined free throws between the teams. Fox and Sabonis led the Kings to a 35-30 first quarter lead, as Kevin Durant had nine points with seven of them coming from the charity stripe. The Kings shot 57% in the quarter after starting 9-of-13 from the field.

Second Quarter

The free throws did not stop to start the second quarter and allowed Phoenix to stay in the game. However, Fox and Sabonis made everything look too easy offensively for the Kings, and they led 65-54 at halftime.

The Suns continued to struggle from three in the first half, as they have the last few games, so they decided to attack the basket. At the end of the half, Phoenix was 13-of-27 on field goals in the paint, while Sacramento was 13-of-17 in the paint.

The Suns also had seven offensive rebounds compared to only one for Sacramento, the Kings were simply getting better looks and connecting on more shots.

Phoenix shot 42% from the floor and 30% from three compared to 55% on field goals and 35% on threes from Sacramento.

During the second quarter, both Durant and Booker picked up technicals and then coach Frank Vogel got one right before the half. The Suns ended up making as many threes as they had technical fouls (3) in the half.

Phoenix played six players off the bench in the first half. They contributed 20 points, a big positive in terms of role players stepping up.

Third Quarter

The Kings looked to put this game to bed against a shorthanded and struggling Suns team and did so. They scored the first nine points of the third quarter and went on an overall 14-2 run to start.

Sacramento made its first 11 shots in the quarter, playing with pace and getting whatever they wanted. It was suddenly 93-67 with 6:14 left in the third quarter before the Kings missed a shot.

The Suns picked up their aggressiveness, led by Azubuike making some good plays against Sabonis. Azubuike, Durant and Booker combined for the first 21 points in the quarter for the Suns.

Phoenix went on a 13-2 run to make it 98-80 with 1:55 to go in the quarter.

The quarter ended with the Kings leading 103-84. Keegan Murray had 13 points in the quarter for Sacramento while Durant had 12 points for Phoenix.

Fourth Quarter

The Suns looked to build on their momentum from the end of the quarter and looked like they could right away, but quickly faltered.

The Kings slowed their pace down a little and made less mistakes, so the Suns couldn’t capitalize on them.

Once Sacramento started doing this, it was game over for any chance of good play for the Suns.

The Kings ended up winning 120-105 at the end.

The Suns will next host the Dallas Mavericks (16-12) on Christmas Day (Monday) at 8:30 p.m. MST.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau


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