Even so, they would like to think that the NBA's second-most
successful non-playoff season shows there are bright days ahead.
Rookie guard Archie Goodwin's sendoff also has the Suns dreaming big
thoughts. Goodwin scored a career-high 29 points, and his five
straight late in the fourth quarter broke the game's final tie and
gave the Suns a 104-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Sleep
Train Arena on Wednesday.
The Suns finished 48-34, 23 more victories than they recorded a year
ago. They tied the 1970-71 Suns and the 2007-08 Golden State
Warriors for the second-most victories in a non-playoff campaign.
The 1971-72 Suns won 49 contests and finished out of the dance.
Phoenix was eliminated when it lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 97-91
at home on Monday. The Suns played Wednesday without leading scorer
Goran Dragic, who missed the contest with a sprained ankle. The
guard averaged 20.3 points in 76 games.
"They laid it all out there," Hornacek said of his team, which many
experts picked to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference
standings. "For what we went through, not making the playoffs in the
end, I think the guys will come back hungrier than ever. I think
they had a great season."
Goodwin made a short jumper with 3:48 to go to break a 94-94 tie
forged when Kings forward Quincy Acy dunked a rebound while being
fouled, then made the free throw. After Sacramento forward Travis
Outlaw missed a jumper, Goodwin made his only 3-pointer of the
night, capping an 11-for-13 shooting performance.
His most spectacular points came on a first-half dunk between Kings
defenders Acy and guard Ben McLemore.
"I fed off my teammates," Goodwin said. "They put me in great
position to score, and I got a couple of rebounds and made a few
free throws. I knew I was going to play a lot, so I was just trying
to leave a good (impression) going into the summer."
Forward Marcus Morris scored 22 points, and twin Markieff Morris
added 15 for Phoenix.
McLemore scored a career-best 31 points for Sacramento, which
finished 28-54 for the second consecutive season and missed the
playoffs for the eighth straight campaign. Forward Travis Outlaw
added 15 points, and rookie guard Ray McCallum had 13 for the Kings.
"For the most part, the front office and the coaching staff have
done what they need to do (to change the losing culture)," Kings
guard Isaiah Thomas said. "It's time for the players to start
putting up some wins."
Thomas, who finished the season ninth on Sacramento's all-time list
for 3-pointers made, scored only four points in what could be his
final game with the team. The third-year guard will be a restricted
free agent. He is 18 3-pointers shy of catching Jason Williams for
eighth on the Kings' list.
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"I'm going into it with an open mind," he said. "I'd love to stay. I
don't like change, so I would love to stay here."
Sacramento played the contest without center DeMarcus Cousins, who
sat out after the NBA upheld his one-game suspension for picking up
too many technical fouls. Cousins was called for his 16th technical
foul in Sacramento's 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on
Cousins was by far the Kings' most dominant player in 2013-14,
posting career highs in scoring (22.7 points per game), rebounding
(11.7), assists (2.9), blocks (1.3) and field-goal percentage (49.6
percent). His rebounding total ranked fifth in the NBA, his scoring
However, he once again was among the leaders in drawing the
officials' wrath. He finished tied with Los Angeles Clippers forward
Blake Griffin and Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant for the most
technical fouls in the league, and he has never finished lower than
fifth. He led the NBA a season ago with 17, and he has totaled 59 in
his four seasons.
NOTES: The Kings honored Hall of Fame guard Mitch Richmond with a
halftime salute that included a video montage. Richmond became the
first former Sacramento King elected to the Hall of Fame when he was
voted in earlier this month. Richmond averaged 23.3 points per game
in seven seasons with Sacramento and 21.0 per game in 14 NBA
seasons. ... Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, whose best seasons came
when the franchise was the Cincinnati Royals, also was in
attendance, as was Sacramento mayor and former NBA guard Kevin
Johnson. ... Phoenix G Gerald Green started in place of G Goran
Dragic (sprained ankle). Green scored 12 points and finished the
season averaging 15.8 per game. ... Kings F Jason Thompson finished
with 11 rebounds for the Kings. He trails only Chris Webber, Vlade
Divac and Brad Miller on the team's all-time rebounding list. ...
The Kings finished 22nd in home attendance, averaging 16,291 a game.
They played their finale in front of the 14th sellout of the season
at Sleep Train Arena. They had only three sellouts last season.
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