The Kings turned to their veterans to pull out a victory.
George Hill had 18 points and seven rebounds in helping the Kings knock off the Phoenix Suns 99-92 on Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center. Zach Randolph had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Sacramento, which beings a four-game trip Wednesday at Minnesota.
The Kings (9-18) finished strong, outscoring the Suns 25-18 in the fourth quarter.
T.J. Warren led the Suns (9-20) with 18 points. Mike James scored 17 points off the bench.
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Here are three takeaways from the game:
Bouncing back at the point
Using two rookie point guards will make for some uneven play.
Frank Mason III had a dreadful game in Sunday’s loss to Toronto, making just 1 of 10 shots. But he looked more like himself Tuesday, playing the entire fourth quarter.
Mason finished with six points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench.
De’Aaron Fox also struggled Sunday, committing a career-high seven turnovers. On Tuesday, Fox had seven points and no turnovers in 21 minutes.
It helped that Hill was playing well, which took pressure off the young point guards.
Wing defenders needed
Garrett Temple had to expend a lot of energy in his 15 minutes defending the much bigger T.J. Warren. Other times it was Bogdan Bogdanovic on him.
In either case, the Kings didn’t have the size and strength on the perimeter to deal with 6-foot-8, 215-pound small forward consistently.
That’s why two-way player JaKarr Sampson was valuable when he was up from the Reno Bighorns. The Kings are doing the best they can, but it will be a struggle most nights to defend the wing.
It helped that guard Devin Booker (left abductor strain) was out or the defense would have been seriously compromised. But the Kings had enough fight in them to make it tough on Warren.
Hill keeps it going in the second half
Hill got off to a good start in the first quarter, scoring eight points.
However, he didn’t play in the second quarter. That kind of extended break can throw a player off.
Hill has struggled to get going in that situation more than once this season. That wasn’t the case Tuesday, as Hill was just as engaged after halftime, scoring seven points in the third quarter.