by Michael Martinez
picture credit Robin Hagy Photography
SACRAMENTO- It all came down to free throws at the end of the game. Fortunately, the end of the game was not constantly fouling the Kings, who gave up a 15 point lead they had early in the fourth quarter.
The Kings even had a seven point lead within a minute to play, but the Suns never quit. Phoenix would cut the lead down to two with 21 seconds left in regulation. Ben McLemore got to the line where he missed both free throws and gave the Suns some hope to tie it up. Luckily, rookie sensation Devin Booker missed a jumper and James Anderson got the rebound and got to the line. Anderson made them both to put the Kings up by four. After a couple of free throws by Quincy Acy to maintain their four point lead with three seconds to go. The Kings picked up win number 33, 105-101.
Without DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, Seth Curry and Kosta Koufos stepped up in a huge way. Curry got his first career double double in the ball game with 20 points and 15 assists. Curry made some outstanding passes as he drove to the hoop and broke down the defense. On 8-14 from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc, Curry continues to be an effective scorer. One of those threes he juked his defender, made a spin move and knocked down the shot. Curry is solidifying himself with his recent play and the Kings’ decision to sign him has paid off. Hopefully he will continue to develop and make an impact for this team who might not retain Rondo after this offseason.
As DMC sat out, the Kings lost his 26.9 points per game but Koufos did a good job on the offensive end with 19 points and eight boards. Gay chipped in 15 points and although McLemore missed two late free throws, he added 14 points of his own.
The Kings turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 27 points for the Suns. Phoenix also out rebounded Sacramento, 51-40. Phoenix grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and they scored 17 second chance points. Their turnovers and a bit lack of size almost cost Sacramento the game, but the Kings shooting 49.3% led to their victory.
Sacramento will finish their season on the road in Houston against the Rockets. Cousins will once again not play, so expect Koufos to get playing time once again. And whether or not Rondo plays, Curry must get more minutes in the season finale to to see his development as he continues to set career highs.