Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris were the heroes of the weekend as the Phoenix Suns cruised to an easy 98-84 road win on Saturday night over the Sacramento Kings.
While J-Dud nabbed a double-double with 20 points (including a trio of three-pointers) and 10 rebounds, the rookie Morris racked 18 points off the bench in his 26 minutes of game time.
It was definitely a hot night offensively for Planet Orange, as they shot 50 percent overall, racked up 21 buckets in the paint, and accumulated 12 fast break points. Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat also score in double figures with 17 points and 15 points, respectively.
It was a low-scoring game for both Steve Nash (4 points) and Grant Hill (7 points), but both had perfectly acceptable excuses for their lack of offense. Nash got whacked in the lip by Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas in the first quarter and missed a good chunk of the game getting four stitches. Meanwhile, Hill was busy containing the Kings' biggest scorer and leading a surprising surge of defense by the Suns.
Hill spent most of Saturday's game battling Sacramento's wunderkind Tyreke Evans and limited the guard to 1 of 9 shooting and only four points. It was the lynchpin of Phoenix's defensive efforts, which included keeping their opponents to only 39 percent shot-wise and grabbing 31 rebounds off Sacramento's glass.
Planet Orange's defense started early as blocks and steals enabled them to launch into grab a 9-4 lead in the first two minutes. And then they never looked back, maintaining their advantage for the entire game.
The Kings, who were down as much as 15 at one point, never got closer than six points, even when they stepped things up in the second quarter. Phoenix's bench didn't falter as they had in recent games
, and outscored Sacramento 35-27. Thus, they picked up their first win against the team in over a year, having lost their last three games against the Kings.
The Suns (12-15) have won four of their last five and will continue on their short road swing through the Western Conference with games against the Golden State Warriors (10-14) and Denver Nuggets (16-12) this week. The fortunes of either team are almost opposite of what their records indicate as Golden State is riding a two-game winning streak (and have won six out of their last ten overall), while the Nuggets recently suffered a dour five-game losing skid. In other words, Phoenix will likely have to stay tough for either game.
First up will be the Warriors as the Suns pay a visit to Oracle Arena in Oakland tonight. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. For more info, visit www.suns.com
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