It’s tough to overcome a slow start, even against a team that just fired its coach and sent one of its best players home with the intention of trading him.
The Kings learned that Monday, after falling behind by 22 points in the first quarter at Phoenix before rallying only to lose 117-115 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Kings (1-3) hoped to end their three-game trip with a 2-1 mark. Instead they lost for the second consecutive game after Garrett Temple’s 3-pointer at the buzzer missed to give Phoenix its first win of the season.
Devin Booker led Phoenix (1-3) with 22 points. Temple had a game-high 23 points, 16 coming in the fourth quarter. De’Aaron Fox finished with 19 points and Skal Labissiere scored 17.
1. Bogdanovic fits in just fine
After missing three games with a sprained right ankle, Bogdan Bogdanovic made his regular-season debut. The EuroLeague star and NBA rookie had 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Suns. He looked especially comfortable playing in the backcourt with Fox. When the Kings started slowly, it was that combo in the backcourt got the Kings back into the game. Bogdanovic shot just 5 for 15, but he’s definitely going to help in the long run.
2. Where is the spark at tip-off?
For the second game in a row, the Kings fell into a deep hole. This time it was a 22-point deficit in the first quarter to a team in disarray and an 0-3 record coming in. Sacramento doesn’t have the offense to climb back into games on a regular basis, even against one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.
3. Where’s the speed?
The Kings have spent months talking about their desire to play fast. The group that has looked best equipped to do that has usually included bench players like Fox, Temple and Labissiere on the floor.
Coach Dave Joerger might have to look at mixing things up to get that speed into the game earlier, because the game definitely picks up once Fox and the second unit get into the mix.