Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sports News

Suns Match Second-Best Mark For Non-Playoff Team

Send a link to a friend  Share

[April 17, 2014]  SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Phoenix Suns are headed home after winning 48 games in rookie coach Jeff Hornacek's first season.

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.

[to top of second column]

"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 Sunday.

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 total 10th.

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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top