The Phoenix Suns’ Wednesday night matchup against the Sacramento Kings was an opportunity ripe for the plucking.
They entered the game three games back from the eighth spot in the West, which is currently occupied by Oklahoma State. The Pelicans (who were a half-game behind the Suns) in lost to the Rockets, and the Thunder got routed by San Antonio.
So the Suns really couldn’t afford to let the game slip away from the way they did, falling to the Kings 108-99.
It wasn’t for lack of effort from the Morris twins — Markieff and Marcus had 24 and 19 points, respectively.
And the first half saw Phoenix on pace for its third consecutive game shooting 50 percent from the field — they were down just five points at the end of the second quarter, and Markieff and Archie Goodwin had combined for 26 of the Suns’ 53.
Sacramento went on an 11-2 run in the third quarter for the biggest lead of the night, 83-70 — one which they wouldn’t relinquish through the remainder of the game.
Marcus Morris had five points in a row to try and kick-start a fourth-quarter comeback for the Suns, but the Kings answered with back-to-back threes.
All five Kings starters and seven total Sacramento players were in double figures by the final buzzer, snapping the Suns’ four-game win streak and possibly their playoff surge.
What were the numbers?
The Suns gave the ball up 18 times, handing the Kings 24 points in the process.
While Sacramento had more turnovers (19), Phoenix only managed to score 15 points off those turnovers.
Phoenix had seven turnovers in the first quarter.
3 (part I)
Forward P.J Tucker went from averaging 15.3 points per game in his last three games to scoring just three points against the Kings.
He was 1-of-11 from the first, missed all six of his three-point attempts and turned the ball over twice, though he did grab 11 boards.
The game might have been worse if it weren’t for the Morrii, who combined for 43 total points.
The twins were 16-of-27, while the rest of the team was 22-of-57.
The Suns shot an abysmal 65.4 percent from the free throw line, hitting just 17 of their 26 attempts.
Sacramento made all but three of their 23 attempts.
Another bright spot, however, was point guard Eric Bledsoe, who battled for 19 points on 46 percent shooting despite reportedly playing with a stomach bug.
Goodwin had 15 points in 26 minutes, hitting double-digit scoring for the third time in four games.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek only needed 53 seconds to get teed up, and this reportedly was the reason:
Hornacek just told referee Bernie Adams that he was awful last game too and got a technical!
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) March 26, 2015
Markieff Morris was also teed up for his 14th of the season. He now is tied for the NBA lead with Russell Westbrook.
3 (part II)
The Suns have now lost three of four games to the Kings this season — and each to a different head coach (Malone, Corbin, Carl).
The Suns lost their chance to make up a game on Oklahoma City and stay at three games back with 10 remaining.
They’ll host Portland Friday at 7 p.m.