|Date of game: 12/26/2014
Recap: Sacramento vs. Phoenix
Sacramento, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points off the bench in his return to Sacramento to help the Phoenix Suns come through with a 115-106 victory over the scuffling Kings.
Thomas, traded to the Suns in July after three very productive seasons in Sacramento, put up eight of his points during a 16-2 second-half run that lifted Phoenix to a season-high fifth straight win.
Fellow reserve Marcus Morris also had a big night for the Suns, hitting 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point range to finish with 20 points. Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris contributed 18 and 17 points, respectively, while Goran Dragic had 16 along with six assists.
"We got a big lift from Marcus," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "When we are making the shots, we're getting good looks."
Playing without star center DeMarcus Cousins due to a stomach virus, Sacramento suffered its seventh loss in eight games after failing to match Phoenix's markmanship from the perimeter, as the Suns went 14-of-33 on 3-point tries.
Darren Collison paced the Kings with 19 points and Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams both had 16 in defeat. Reggie Evans compiled 11 points and 16 rebounds starting in place of Cousins.
"Well you give up 25 fastbreak points, 19 second-chance points," Kings coach Tyrone Corbin attributed to the loss. "The second-chance points really hurt us."
The Suns trailed 88-86 late in the third quarter before putting together their game-changing spurt, which was fueled by their long-range shooting. Marcus Morris and Thomas closed out the period with consecutive triples, and Morris drilled another to begin the fourth before Thomas converted a 3-point play that the ex-King followed with a driving layup to put Phoenix up 102-90 with 10:30 left.
Sacramento, which went 6-of-21 from the floor in the fourth quarter, never recovered as the Suns stretched the lead to as much as 15 points down the stretch.
Phoenix struggled offensively early on before catching fire near the end of the first quarter. The Suns hit 5-of-7 shots -- three of them from long distance -- during a 15-6 stretch that staked them to a 28-17 lead.
Sacramento answered with an 8-0 run and continued to chip away, with Carl Landry's short jumper midway through the second quarter giving the Kings a 40-39 edge. The game remained tight for the remainder of the half, with Phoenix owning a 59-56 advantage following a Marcus Morris trey just prior to the buzzer.
Phoenix then opened the second half with a 7-0 flurry to go up by double digits, but Collison knocked down a trio of 3-pointers during a 19-10 sequence that pulled the Kings within 76-75 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.Game Notes
Sacramento had won five of its last seven matchups with the Suns, including a
114-112 double-overtime triumph in Phoenix in which Cousins totaled 25 points
and 18 rebounds ... In addition to Cousins, the Kings were without backup
point guard Ramon Sessions due to a strained lower back ... Suns center Alex
Len tied a career high with 11 rebounds while swatting away a personal-best