Postgame Central: Suns vs. Kings - Dec. 17, 2012
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Suns Rally to Oust Kings
By: Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
The 2012-13 Suns officially have more comebacks than Brett Favre.
In Monday’s contest against the Kings, the Suns rallied back from a 19-point first-half deficit to roll to a 101-90 victory over visiting Sacramento. It was a 31-point third quarter, propelled by 14 big points from shooting guard Shannon Brown in the period, that turned the tides for the Suns.
“They got a lot of offensive rebounds and loose balls,” Brown said of the Kings in the first half. “Once we settled down, played smarter, didn’t commit fouls, didn’t take terrible shots and played our game, everything came back right.”
In the first half, the Suns shot an icy 37 percent from the floor, while surrendering 11 more fast-break points and four more offensive rebounds. But in the third quarter, the script was officially flipped.
The Suns forced the Kings into five turnovers in the period, using those opportunities to their advantage on the offensive end. By holding the Kings to 14 points in the third – a season low for Suns opponents in the third quarter this season - Phoenix erased an 11-point deficit and went into the fourth ahead by six.
From that point on, the Suns cruised to their second-straight double-digit win and their 12th win in 13 tries at home against Sacramento. Brown finished with a team-high 22 points on the night, shooting 10-of-13 from the floor.
In addition, Marcin Gortat racked up 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, notching his fourth-straight game with a double-double. Swingman Jared Dudley (20 points) and power forward Luis Scola (14 points and a career-high 11 assists) made up the rest of the Suns in double figures.
The win marked the fifth time this season the Suns have rallied from a double-digit deficit to capture a win, coming back from 19 or more points three times in 13 homes games. They also improved to 3-1 on their season-high five-game homestand.
“Right now we’re playing the right way,” Dudley said. “We’re playing unselfish, guys are moving the ball and defensively we’re talking. Anytime you have that, you’re going to give your team a chance to win.”
The Suns now are currently riding a season-high three-game winning streak. They host Charlotte on Wednesday.
A game after limiting Utah center Al Jefferson’s effectiveness, the Suns focused their defensive efforts on containing another big man.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins came into Monday’s contest having averaged 27.7 points and 11.7 boards last season against the Suns. His all-time scoring average of 22.8 points against the Suns was his best against any opponent.
In fact, the last two times these clubs met, Cousins racked up 41 points and 12 rebounds. But Monday was a different story.
Cousins totaled just nine points on a frigid 1-of-10 shooting. He was blocked three times throughout the night and turned it over three times.
“We’re just doubling and making it a helter-skelter game,” Dudley said. “We’re making other people shoot it. If that’s your main option, we’re taking that away and make other guys do it.”
The Suns came into Monday having held their opponents under 85 points in consecutive games for the first time since November 2004. Although they allowed the Kings to score 90 on Monday, the last time they held opponents to 90 points or less for three-straight games was in December of 2006.
The Suns are one of only six teams that have six players averaging double-figures. Goran Dragic, Brown, Scola, Michael Beasley, Gortat and Dudley are all averaging 10 points a game or more this season. San Antonio, Minnesota, Denver, Charlotte and Cleveland are the only other clubs that join Phoenix in that group.
Hall of Famer
One of the perks of being a Suns season-ticket holder is having a town hall with a Hall of Fame player. NBA legend Bill Russell, who has the Finals MVP trophy named after him, paid a group of about 300 Suns season-ticket holders a visit at the Suns’ practice court before the Phoenix-Sacramento contest Monday.
The former Celtics superstar is one of several speakers that will be featured in a town-hall-like forum for season-ticket holders this season.
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