Notebook: Kings 117, Suns 103



Posted Mar 29, 2013 1:11 AM

Mike Tulumello, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Sacramento Kings have made 101 visits to Arizona over the years without much success. So if their trek to Phoenix Thursday night was the last, they went out on a good note.

The Kings, whose future in the California capital hasn't been resolved, broke the game open just before halftime then rolled to a 117-103 win. The Kings (27-46) won for the sixth time in the last 10 games. The Suns (24-49) have lost five straight and nine of 10. Over the years, the Kings have gone 24-77 in Phoenix.

On Thursday, DeMarcus Cousins took advantage of a Suns' team that lacked injured big men Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O'Neal by scoring a season-high 34 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Cousins hit all nine of his free throws and even went 1-for-2 on 3-pointers.

"We have a unique big man," Kings coach Keith Smart said of Cousins. "He has the skills of a guard. He has the whole package.

"He's going to be a special talent."

Hearing this, Cousins said, "He said that? Why, thank you." Also for the Kings, Isaiah Thomas had 23 points and eight assists, along with five turnovers.

For the Suns, Luis Scola had 25 points and seven boards. P.J. Tucker scored 18.

"Our effort was there tonight," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. "Our execution wasn't."

Goran Dragic (rest) sat out his second straight for the Suns, who are testing Kendall Marshall out as the starter.

QUOTABLE: "I was 100 percent truthful with him. I said, 'You're starting for an NBA team. But I don't know if the rest of the league sees you as a starting point guard."
-- Keith Smart on Thomas, who the coach must continue to grow in learning when to pass and when to shoot. "He's making the transition from a big-time scorer in college to managing other players."

THE STAT: Cousins scored the Kings' final 15 points of the first quarter (as they took a 38-32 lead) and the first two points of the second quarter; that's 17 straight. "I didn't even realize that," Cousins said.

TURNING POINT: When the Suns announced Dragic wouldn't play.

QUOTABLE II: "They lost? Oh....man...."
-- Keith Smart, told his Indiana Hoosiers were upset in the NCAA tournament.

HOT: Cousins shot 12-for-16 while Scola went 10-for-13.

NOT: The Suns shot just 12-for-23 from the free-throw line.

ROOKIE WATCH: Marshall shot 4-for-12 for nine points plus 10 assists and zero turnovers in 34 minutes.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Dragic has missed the last two games as the Suns decided to rest him. His minutes could be limited from here on while Marshall is tested at the point.

NOTABLE: Marshall, who started Wednesday in Utah and Thursday vs. the Kings (his first two NBA starts), became the first Suns' rookie to record 10-plus assists in consecutive games since Negele Knight in April, 1991 and the first Suns' rookie to do so on back-to-back nights since Kevin Johnson in April, 1988. Johnson, of course, is now the Sacramento mayor who is trying to keep the Kings in town.

UP NEXT: For the Kings, Saturday vs. L.A. Lakers, Wednesday vs. Houston and Friday vs. Dallas. For the Suns, Saturday vs. Indiana, Wednesday @ L.A. Clippers and Friday vs. Golden State.