The Kings were defeated 115-111 by the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Here are three takeaways from the game:
Tale of two quarters
After trailing by three entering the second quarter, the Kings got hot.
Harry Giles III tipped in Bogdan Bogdanovic’s missed jumper to get things started. Over the rest of the period, nine different players scored points, including a team-high 11 in the period by Ben McLemore, who came off the bench. He immediately hit a 3-pointer on Sacramento’s ensuing possession and stayed in until the break.
When the halftime buzzer sounded, the Kings led 72-53 on the strength of a 40-18 second quarter and looked to be in control of the game.
The Suns (10-32) showed in the third that they weren’t going away.
T.J. Warren, the team’s second-leading scorer, had 12 of his 21 points in the period and, aided by numerous Kings miscues, Phoenix stormed back from a 21-point deficit to even the score at 86-86 entering the fourth.
Too many turnovers
The Kings’ worst game of the season in terms of ball security proved costly.
Sacramento (20-21) committed a season-high 26 turnovers, including 10 in the third quarter. The Kings attempted just 16 shots in the period, making only four.
They had seven more in the final 12 minutes and despite building a five-point lead with 2:25 left, the Kings couldn’t hold on. The lead changed hands nine times in the quarter.
Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the bench to lead Phoenix with 26 points, tying a career high.
The Kings averaged 13.1 turnovers entering the game, good for sixth-best in the NBA.
“We gave up the ball too much and it’s what cost us the game,” said guard De’Aaron Fox, who led the Kings with 24 points but also committed eight turnovers. “When you have twenty-something turnovers, you can’t win like that.”
McLemore comes up big
McLemore played in just 15 of the Kings’ 40 games before Tuesday. When he was called on early in the second quarter, he gave the team an instant boost.
He scored 20 for his first game with that many points since March 3, when he was with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Ben was great tonight,” Fox said. “He was making shots and playing with a lot of energy. We know he can shoot the ball and he did that tonight.”
McLemore finished 7 for 10, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.