Needing a win to finish over .500 at the midway point of the season, the Sacramento Kings looked dominant early against the Phoenix Suns. And then they caught a case of the whoops.
Sacramento blew a commanding 21-point third quarter lead and then squandered opportunities down the stretch to let one slip through their fingers.
Phoenix got stops when they needed them and hit timely buckets down the stretch to come away with a 115-111 win over the Kings.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop back below .500 at 20-21 on the season.
Sloppy. The Kings looked like Keystone Cops for much of the night. It started in the first quarter when they gave it away five times.
It looked like they solved the issue in the second quarter, where they turned it over just three times to take a commanding 72-53 lead into the half.
But the wheels fell off the bus in the third and it didn’t get much better in the fourth.
Sacramento came into the night averaging just 13.1 turnovers per game. They fumbled it away a total of 26 times against the Suns, which cost them the game.
Trouble in the Third
The Kings had the game locked away early and then they fell apart in the third. Sacramento turned the ball over 10 times in the period and shot just 4-of-16 from the field as the Suns came charging back.
The starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield combined to shoot 1-of-7 in the period and turned the ball over a total of five times.
Phoenix outscored the Kings 33-14 in the period to tie the game going to the fourth.
It’s not easy sitting on the sidelines and watching your teammates find success. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Dave Joerger went deep into his bench, turning to seldom used wing Ben McLemore to help supplement his rotation.
McLemore made a nice impact on the game, scoring 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc. The former lottery pick barely grazed iron on his shots, showing that he’s been working on his game behind the scenes.