It was over before it really began. The Kings came into Tuesday night's game knowing the Suns were shorthanded and they didn't overlook the team with the league's worst record. Sacramento jumped all over Phoenix in the first quarter, putting the game out of reach before the first 12 minutes had concluded.
The final score of 122-105 fails to capture the essence of the game. For one of the few times this season, the Kings put away an opponent early and coasted down the stretch.
The Kings currently stand at 12-11 on the season after drubbing the Suns on their home floor. Here are three positives and one negative from the game:
Cauley-Stein gets back to his roots
Cauley-Stein was the hero Saturday against the Pacers, dunking home the winning basket in the closing seconds of the game. You can chalk Tuesday's Suns game up as another victory for the 7-footer out of Kentucky.
The fourth-year big man is still learning how much he can impact a game. Known as a defensive stopper at the college level, Cauley-Stein got back to that mindset in Phoenix. In the opening four minutes of the game, the Kings' starting center fronted rookie Deandre Ayton in the post and came away with four huge steals.
Blessed with incredible athleticism and tremendous length, Cauley-Stein can be an impact player on the defensive side of the ball when he's focused. A day of practice centered around defensive fundamentals seems to have opened his eyes to the possibilities.
In a game where Cauley-Stein finished with six points, five assists and four rebounds, he was the team's MVP.
When you're on the road, it isn't always easy to come out with energy and intensity. You have to create your own momentum, instead of feeding off the crowd.
Sacramento walked into Talking Stick Resort Arena and dominated a shorthanded, struggling Suns team. Led by Cauley-Stein's defensive effort, they outscored Phoenix 36-9 in the opening 12 minutes to set a new franchise record for least points allowed to an opponent in the opening quarter.
It was a stunning performance from Sacramento and it set the tenor of the game. By the early second quarter, the Suns trailed by 35 points and without their two leading scorers, there was no chance for a comeback.
The Kings started the four game road trip off the right way. All 13 players got to see the court and no starter played more than 26 minutes.
Buddy Hield is an early candidate for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. The 24-year-old shooting guard is an elite shooter, but he's becoming so much more for the Kings this season.
Against the Suns, he was lights out, shooting 7-of-13 from the field and 3-for-5 from behind the arc for 20 points in just 17 minutes of action. In a competitive game, Hield could have scored 40 or more, but with the game over early, he stepped aside and played cheerleader for most of the evening.
This was the tenth time this season that Hield has scored at least 20 for Sacramento. He accomplished that feat just 13 times last year. He is leading the Kings in scoring, posting 18.4 points a night on 47.5 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from long rang.
Let off the gas
A win is a win, but... The second and third units struggled to finish off what should have been a 30-40 point victory. They turned the ball over, missed shots and allowed a huge lead to dwindle late.
Players like Ben McLemore, Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason and Harry Giles are struggling to get court time on most nights. When they get an opportunity, they need to impact the game in a positive way.
Not all of these players struggled, but as a collective, it wasn't pretty. The plus/minus for the group is cringe worthy.