Cousins Auditions for Suns, Booker Crowned King for a Night

With a triple-double recorded already midway through the third quarter it seemed certain what DeMarcus Cousins was doing:

Auditioning for a role with the Phoenix Suns.

VS.

1 2 3 4 T
All NBA 15 34 30 26 105
All NBA 21 28 30 24 103

For the second time in three weeks Cousins recorded a triple-double, this time against the team that has most recently been connected to trading for the disgruntled superstar. Though not a monstrous game, Cousins had a 10p, 10r, 10a triple-feat following an assist off of Ben McLemore jumpshot off a Cousins pass with 3:22 remaining in the third.

Starting out ice cold in the opening quarter and battling from behind for most of the first half, Phoenix pulled away in the third quarter taking a 12-point lead on several occasions. But as has been their modus operandi the entire season, they have been unable to hang onto leads in the fourth quarter, let alone close teams out.

Coming all the way back, Sacramento held a 98-91 lead with 4:22 remaining and seemingly possession with Devin Booker losing the ball on a drive under the basket to Willie Cauley-Stein. Stein, obviously thinking fastbreak before he ever really had full possession kicked it right back to Booker who needed only to turn take a step and slam it in, his 15th dunk of the season. A frenetic final few four minutes brought the game to a tie after the Suns outscored the Kings 10-5, three of Sacramento’s points coming off a DeMarcus Cousins three-pointer.

After a Darren Collison jump shot with 8.2 seconds remaining tied the game for the Kings, Phoenix called a timeout to reboot.

Almost two years ago to the day it was the budding superstar DeMarcus Cousins who broke the Suns’ collective hearts with a buzzer-beater from the right of the top of the key in a season full of buzzer-beater losses. If nothing else, the Suns’ luck has changed:

Isolating on Matt Barnes for the entire final entire final possession, Booker jab-stepped and took a single dribble to his right to take a fade-away shot from the exact opposite side of the key that Cousins once won the game. Like Cousins, whose shot took a couple bounces to fall in, it took an awkward bank shot from Booker for his to fall, but fall it did, and this time the win went to the Suns.

Devin Booker finished with a game-high 33 points including four three-pointers, as well as 2 rebounds, assists, and steals. Booker now has fourteen 30 point games in his short career. T.J. Warren scored 21 and Eric Bledsoe finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Warren added 5 caroms himself. After a few very lack-luster rebounding games, Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 boards bringing his on-season average back up to 11.8.

As discussed, DeMarcus Cousins finished with a triple-double, ending with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. One significant knock on Cousins’ game is his turnovers, which he finished with five. For a non-point guard, his 3.5 per game is alarmingly high, and even that is nowhere near his carer high of 4.3 set two seasons ago. The one defense of this though is: Has he ever had a true point guard on his team?

Sacramento’s backcourt played to win as guards Ben McLemore, Darren Collison and Ty Lawson finished with a combined 55 points on 21-38 shooting and 6-11 from beyond the arc. They too combined for 7 assists.

Phoenix has 7 games before the trade deadline.

To compare Devin Booker and DaMarcus Cousins’ shots, here are two links to YouTube: Devin Booker and DeMarcus Cousins.

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