PHOENIX -- Short-handed and playing on the second night of a back-to-back, all seemed lost for the Kings (15-23) as they stared down a big third-quarter deficit.
With the starters struggling against the athletic Phoenix Suns (14-23), coach Luke Walton went to his vets and they turned the game around.
De’Aaron Fox played with the foursome of Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon, Nemanja Bjelica and Trevor Ariza for second half of the third quarter and the entire fourth. The group went to work, leading the Kings to a 114-103 win and back from a 21-point hole.
Devin Booker posted his seventh straight 30-point game for Phoenix and Deandre Ayton added 21 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to stop Sacramento.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings pick up their second straight win.
A wild third quarter
Early in the season, the Kings had a strange trend of falling apart in the third quarter. That issue reemerged Tuesday in Phoenix.
After going to halftime tied at 53, the Kings missed their first 10 shots to open the third quarter and the Suns ran them off the floor. The Kings took long jumpers and contested off-balance shots while the Suns built a 21 point lead.
Walton pulled a line change midway through the quarter, turning to his veterans in an attempt to stem the tide. They responded with a tremendous effort, trimming the Suns' lead to 87-78 heading into the fourth.
With the momentum on their side, the Kings continued the improbable comeback in the fourth. Fox put on a show, scoring 11 of his team-high 27 in the final frame as the Kings pulled away.
Dedmon walking ... and playing
Out of pure necessity, the Kings turned back to center Dewayne Dedmon against the Suns, and the veteran played well after an extended break.
Coming off three straight games on the inactive list (and three more DNP-CDs), Dedmon played nearly 32 minutes off the Kings' bench Tuesday. He rebounded the ball, played defense and even knocked down a 3-pointer.
The Kings’ $40 million man finished the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He helped stabilize the game and played most of the second half as the Kings fought back.
Harry Giles, NBA starter
Giles, 21, missed all of training camp, the preseason, the first eight games of the season and then a 15-game stretch as a healthy scratch in a tumultuous start to his second NBA season. But on the second night of a back-to-back Tuesday, Walton tossed him in the starting lineup against the Suns.
Giles played under control in the first quarter, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting, while grabbing four rebounds. It was clear that he was trying to avoid picking up early fouls, which allowed Ayton to get off to a quick start.
With Dedmon playing well, Giles sat for much of the second half, but he still managed to finish the night with eight points on 4-for-7 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds in 16 minutes of action.