Suns Rally From 17 Down, Top Kings
Phoenix 123, Sacramento 110
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 11 (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns stumbled out of the blocks, but put together a strong second half to finish.
Raja Bell scored 25 points and All-Star Shawn Marion contributed 23 and eight rebounds as the Suns rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to post a 123-110 triumph over the Sacramento Kings.
"We came in at halftime, said a few words, and then just went out there and left it all out on the court," said Marion, who shot 9-of-15. "We got a big win."
"You never know if you can climb back into a game like that, but you know we were going to come out and play hard in the second half," said Bell, who made 6-of-7 shots after the halftime.
Sacramento was coasting at intermission behind its commanding 68-51 edge, but Phoenix stormed back after the break as it connected on 11-of-18 shots in the third quarter to tie the game at 84-84.
"We talked at halftime that this was a dangerous team if you let them get back in it in the third quarter, and that's exactly what we did," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We just couldn't stop them in the second half. They shot over 70 percent. You're not going to win very many games giving that up."
"In the second half the guys came out with the fire necessary to compete in the playoffs," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That's the first time that we have seen that in a long time. We had an unbelievable second half both defensively and offensively."
After trading baskets through the first four minutes of the final period, the Suns built a 99-93 lead as Tim Thomas, who scored 13 points, hit a deep jumper and Leandro Barbosa followed with a shot from the arc with 7:18 left.
"If you're going to be a good team you've got to have performances from everyone," said Suns guard Steve Nash, who scored 13 points. "You have to have guys step up at different times. (Barbosa and Thomas) are more than capable than stepping up every game. You need that if you're going to be good."
Bonzi Wells' layup cut the deficit to 109-102 but on the ensuing possession Boris Diaw, who scored 12 points, found Thomas wide open in the right corner for a 3-pointer with 3:46 to go and Phoenix never looked back.
"It was definitely a big shot because it was going back and forth and they were trying to get back in the game," Thomas said. "Boris did a good job finding me in the corner and I just knocked it down."
The Kings fell one-half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers (42-37) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"I just want to get in the playoffs," Wells said. "Whoever we play we've got to be prepared for them - better than tonight."
Barbosa and James Jones scored 11 points apiece and Nash handed out 13 assists for the Suns, who scored 38 points in the paint.
"I thought we changed our attitude and momentum so much that we were feeling confident," Nash said. "We kept competing and things started to click for us offensively."
The trio of Mike Bibby, Brad Miller and Ron Artest each scored 23 points for Sacramento, which was outscored, 72-42, after halftime. The 30-point swing was the Kings' worst this season, topping a blown 16-point lead to Indiana on March 17.
"You've got to be ready at all times," Artest said. "They have a really good team and they showed us some things we needed to see. They can really shoot the ball. If you leave them open a little bit, they're going to hit shots."