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  • RICK SCUTERI / Associated Press

    Jared Dudley of the Suns draws a foul and scores on the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins, left, and John Salmons in the fourth quarter of Sacramento's 101-90 defeat on Monday.

  • RICK SCUTERI / Associated Press

    The Kings' Chuck Hayes, left, battles the Suns' Marcin Gortat for the ball in the third quarter.

Kings squander 19-point lead, drop fifth straight

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 - 7:56 am

PHOENIX – Things couldn't have been better.

The Kings led by 19 points with 3:16 to go before halftime.

From that point on, it only got worse.

What started with a 10-2 run by the Phoenix Suns to close the first half became a 28-6 run into the second half.

The big lead was gone, and so was all the momentum the Kings had in a 101-90 loss to the Suns on Monday night at US Airways Center.

The Kings have dropped their last five games, all by double digits, and were outscored 58-36 in the second half.

"You work so hard in the first half to establish a lead, and then you let it go in three minutes," guard Aaron Brooks said. "It's kind of disheartening."

The Kings' lead was pushed to 19 by reserves, led by Jimmer Fredette. He scored 12 of his career-high 22 points in the second quarter. Fredette scored 10 in the fourth quarter, but by then the Suns had taken control of the game.

Fredette's previous career high was 20 points at Memphis on Jan. 21 last season.

"I thought having the chance to play on the ball as an off guard for the most part, (Fredette) was able to make plays," said Kings coach Keith Smart.

"He turned down a lot of good looks, and he's got to keep shooting those. But I thought he was aggressive, I thought he made the right plays, I thought he fought defensively. I thought he did a great job."

Fredette will have to contend with Marcus Thornton for minutes as an off guard with the second unit when Thornton returns Wednesday.

Fredette said he has no preference as to where Smart uses him.

"I just want to be on the floor," Fredette said. "If I can play (shooting guard) no matter what, it's like having two point guards on the floor …

"It's an effective way for us to play. I was feeling good, I shot the ball well, and teammates found me in good situations to make plays."

Smart didn't go back to Fredette until there were 6.7 seconds left in the third quarter and the Kings trailed 74-68.

Smart is concerned about having two small guards on the court at the same time and is hesitant to put Fredette in a position to defend in the post.

But if Fredette played the way he did Monday (7-of-13 shooting), Smart will have to be creative and find ways to keep him on the floor.

"Teammates looked for him," Smart said. "They found him a lot, but they also missed him a lot. When you've got a good shooter on the floor, you've got to do all you can to make sure that guy at least touches the ball to be able to make a play."

DeMarcus Cousins was limited by foul trouble (four in 25:44) and had nine points on 1-of-10 shooting.

It was just the fourth time Cousins has not scored in double figures this season.

"It was one of those nights," Cousins said. "Some fouls I know I committed; some were questionable. It happens."

Cousins said the foul trouble kept him from establishing himself on offense.

"It's kind of hard to get a rhythm that late in the game," Cousins said.

Suns center Marcin Gortat had another take on Cousins' game that Cousins surely will remember.

"Quite honestly, I don't think he wanted to play (Monday)," Gortat said.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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