Oubre Ties Career-High in Suns 21-Point Comeback Over Kings

by Cody Cunningham

The Phoenix Suns were without Devin Booker (back spasms) on Tuesday night, as Josh Jackson was inserted into the starting lineup against the Sacramento Kings.

The game was a high-scoring affair right from the start as seven players contributed to the Suns 35-point first quarter. It was back-and-forth battle through the first quarter and a half, but midway through the second, the Kings began to heat up.

The Kings closed out the half on a 15-6 run as they took a 19-point lead into the break. First-half deficits followed by comebacks falling just short have turned into the narrative for the Suns over the past few weeks and they looked to be in a similar situation.

Sacramento opened up the third quarter extending their lead to 21 and the Suns would need someone to step up with their leading scorer sidelined. 

But instead of just one player, the whole team stepped up.

T.J. Warren got things going with a reverse layup and the team began to fight back on both ends of the court. Whether it was a Warren floater, a Richaun Holmes block, a Mikal Bridges steal, a Troy Daniels three or a De’Anthony Melton assist, the Suns were executing in every aspect of the game.

The Suns recorded eight steals and four blocks in just the third. Warren led the way scoring with 12 points in the frame, but it was Holmes who hit the free throw with 24 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game.

The Suns fought back and overcame a 21-point deficit in less than 12 minutes and the two teams were tied up heading into the final quarter.

The Suns continued their hot play to open the fourth as Jamal Crawford launched a three-pointer to give Phoenix their first lead since early in the second quarter. 

The game remained close over the course of the fourth quarter and with just over a minute to go, the Suns were down by one. Melton, who was having one of his best games since entering the league, blocked Bogdan Bogdanovic to start the fast break.

Kelly Oubre Jr., Warren and Melton sprinted up the court as a Melton tip-in gave the Suns a one-point lead. However, this was quickly matched by a De’Aaron Fox tossed an alley-oop to Willie Cauley-Stein alley to quickly put the lead back in the Kings' favor. 

On the Suns next possession, Oubre missed on a three, but Deandre Ayton battled for the offensive board and was able to find Oubre under the basket to draw a foul. Oubre knocked down both free throws and the Suns once again led by one.

After doing his work on the glass on the offensive end, Ayton stepped up defensively and forced Fox into a turnover, which gave the Suns the ball with 30 seconds remaining. Already up by one, the Suns had a chance to increase their lead and close out this game at home.

Warren pulled up for a midrange jumper as the ball bounced off the rim, but Oubre made the play of the game as he flew down the baseline for the put-back slam to extend the Suns' lead to three.

The Suns intentionally fouled Cauley-Stein, who then went on to miss both free throws. The Kings fouled Ayton in desperation, but the Big Fella hit from the charity stripe to officially close out the game 115-111.

The Suns 21-point comeback to win is their largest since November 1, 2017.

Not only did Oubre score the game-clinching bucket, but he tied a career-high 26 points in the game to go along with five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. 

“He got the house rocking tonight,” Ayton said about Oubre. “There was some shots he hit, I was like, ‘whoa, we need that.” 

Ayton notched his rookie-leading 25th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. 

Melton and Holmes were forces on both ends of the court in the victory. Melton scored 10 points while tying career-highs in assists (eight), steals (four) and blocks (two). Holmes finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

“Richaun, being a dog, as usual,” Ayton said. “Just showing what he got and just getting everybody to follow him really. To me, he’s one of the best leaders by action. He just goes out there, no matter what the score is and just play hard like his life is on the line out there.”

The Suns have a quick turnaround as they hit the road and travel to Dallas on Wednesday to face the Mavericks. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona. 

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