Devin Booker and TJ Warren exploited one of the Kings’ major issues defensively – size on the perimeter – powering their way to 26 points apiece as the Phoenix Suns knocked off Sacramento 111-101 Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
Warren also had 10 rebounds for the Suns (14-23).
Zach Randolph led the Kings (12-23) with 14 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 13 points.
The Kings rallied from 14 down in the first half to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Booker was too much, scoring 12 points in the final frame.
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Here are three takeaways from the game:
Booker shows the Kings what they still need
Booker had a bad shooting night (9 of 25), but his ability to create offense propelled the Suns to victory. He scored nine straight points late in the game to put it away.
Even on an off night, a dynamic wing player can influence the game like Booker did.
The player who can do that for the Kings might eventually be De’Aaron Fox (out with a quad injury). Or they might not have one on the roster. It’s something the Kings will need to address as their rebuild continues.
Labissiere gets his chance
Skal Labissiere did not play in the previous three games (coach’s decision) but was back in the starting lineup Friday against Phoenix, which starts 6-foot-10 Marquese Chriss at power forward. Labissiere is more likely to have success in that kind of matchup, rather than against a team that goes small at the position.
Labissiere scored 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter, but did not play at all in the second quarter.
With Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos all seeing time, there aren’t a lot of minutes to go around in the frontcourt. So even on a night where Labissiere looked as comfortable as he has in a long time, he only played 16 minutes.
Labissiere’s points were his most since scoring 19 on Nov. 11 at New York.
Rough night for the backcourt
The Kings’ starting backcourt of George Hill and Frank Mason III combined to shoot 5 of 19. Buddy Hield also had an off night, going 4 of 12.
It’s hard to overcome that kind of shooting from three key players.