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Suns rally after slow start, multiple absences to beat Kings in OT

It took a hair-twisting effort, but the Phoenix Suns eventually pulled off a great road comeback against the Sacramento Kings for a 127-124 overtime victory.

“We just stayed in the fight and managed to get a big win on the road,” said head coach Monty Williams.

“I’m just proud of the mental toughness we had,” added Williams.

Phoenix overcame an in-game injury to Jae Crowder (right ankle), Deandre Ayton fouling with a minute left in regulation and Devin Booker earning the same disqualification with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. once again without Cam Johnson (right quadriceps contusion) and Chris Paul (right thumb avulsion fracture), plus point guard Cam Payne was a late scratch due to illness unrelated to COVID-19.

“Just a team win. It takes a special group to do what we did,” Booker said.

They also created adversity after a sleepy opener to the match.

A Sunday afternoon start against a bad team was enough to blow away the Suns we normally see. Phoenix played with little to no intensity on both sides for the first 10 minutes, which made the Kings feel comfortable.

Sacramento took advantage of that, and even though the Suns picked it up a bit late in the first quarter, the Kings now had a rhythm. the Suns had 10 assists and seven turnovers with a 42.9 field goal percentage. Yes, that’s a pretty high conversion rate for the Kings, but a handful of those brands were with space.

Phoenix was down 10 at halftime. The uphill climb of this comeback combined with a whistle from officials that it was difficult for the Suns to get an accurate picture made it look like this was all going to be insurmountable for them.

Booker scored 19 of his 31 points in the third quarter, but after he and Ayton committed their fourth foul early in the frame, the two would get their fifth just before their usual slots in the check rotation for their final rest.

But after Booker checked with 1:46 left in that third quarter and the Suns down three, the shorthanded bench rallied, giving Phoenix its first lead with 11:14 remaining via one of five triples from Landry Shamet in the afternoon.

Shamet, JaVale McGee, Torrey Craig and Aaron Holiday all played to keep the Suns ahead until Ayton and Booker returned.

Even then, however, the Suns just couldn’t outplay the Kings (25-48).

He went as far as a ridiculous 19-foot Booker from the baseline to put the Suns ahead with eight seconds left, matched by Kings rookie Davion Mitchell at 2.8 seconds on the clock to force overtime.

With Ayton fouled and Phoenix (58-14) missing more key guys, the Kings’ Domantas Sabonis had a knee-to-knee collision with Mikal Bridges in the fourth quarter and did not return. Sacramento was already without star point guard De’Aaron Fox (right hand pain), and that’s not as deep of a team as the Suns, so taking down Sabonis was also important.

Suns third-string center Bismack Biyombo completed half of overtime admirably when McGee also fouled, and when Booker caught up with him with 50.9 seconds left and Phoenix has one, there was the unanswered question of who was going to take the big hit for the Suns with so many guys now unavailable.

The question expanded once Sacramento’s Damian Jones scored to put Phoenix down, but following a failed Suns deflected out of bounds for a Phoenix possession on the baseline, Williams drew a beauty. pointer for Shamet, his fifth 3 to make him 20 points.

The Kings’ choice option on left, Harrison Barnes, isolated himself on Craig only for Craig to play wonderful defense and force a shot that wouldn’t go down. With 15 seconds left and a three-point lead, the Suns sparked their usual free game – throwing shenanigans by fouling three and running to close it.

Bridges ended up playing a record 50 minutes and scored 27 points, playing aggressive downhill basketball with his sharp game when his 3-point shot wasn’t there early on.

Shamet had a free throw in the dying seconds to tie his season-high 21 points.

Elfrid Payton started in place of Payne and didn’t play well, shooting 0 of 3 with one point, four rebounds, two assists, three steals, two blocks and three turnovers in 18 minutes. guard Aaron Holiday had nine points, seven assists and a +13 rating in 23 minutes.

Craig had another terrific game, following his two great starts with six points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. After starting with left groin pain preventing Crowder, Craig played in the critical time when an apparent right ankle injury was sustained. in the third quarter, Crowder was benched for the rest of the game. Williams and the team did not get an update on Crowder.

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