Mike Brown

What Brown wants ‘lackadaisical' Kings to learn from collapse vs. Suns

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All signs pointed to a win for the Kings as they faced the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Footprint Center -- until the fourth quarter, that is.

Sacramento squandered a 22-point lead with just over eight minutes left, as Phoenix went on a 32-8 run to complete a 119-117 comeback win over the Kings. After the devastating loss -- which, at one point, Sacramento had a 99.9 percent chance to win -- coach Mike Brown said his team can learn from the experience moving forward.

"The reality of it is [the Suns] went small," Brown told reporters postgame. "We couldn't score. We couldn't score inside.[Kevin Durant] did a heck of a job ... Their ability to play KD at the 5 and still match up with us because we couldn't score really slowed us down, and we have to figure that out because it's happened to us in the past.

"So great, great learning lesson for us all."

Durant scored a decisive 14 points in the fourth quarter, draining two free throws with less than two seconds remaining to give the Suns a lead they wouldn't relinquish after being fouled be Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox.

Sacramento shot just 58.3 percent (7 of 12) from the free-throw line while Phoenix went 18-for-20 from the charity stripe, and the Suns scored eight points on eight Kings turnovers in the fourth quarter.

Brown called his team "lazy" for the way it finished the game and doesn't believe the Kings simply had run out of gas at the end of their five-game road trip.

"I wouldn't point to that because we had the ball in the right people's hands at the right time down the stretch, and we just got real lackadaisical, and/or we just couldn't finish, or we didn't stick with our principles," Brown said.

Still, the Kings coach believes Sacramento can use its latest loss as a teaching moment as the 2023-24 NBA season progresses. With Durant at center down the stretch, Domantas Sabonis was immobilized -- and Brown doesn't want to see such a matchup foil another Sacramento win again.

"Well, we've got to take care of any mismatch we have, like most teams do," Brown said. "So we've got to figure out how to score inside. When we do kick the ball out or somebody else drives the basketball, we can't think just because they don't have a big in the game that we're going to score over the top. ...

"The last five, six minutes of the game and a team's coming back and the crowd's in it, you can't be lackadaisical with your turnovers and you have to be sharp offensively."

Despite the loss, Sabonis finished with his 11th triple-double of the season and eighth in 14 games after tallying 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against the Suns. Fox scored a game-high 33 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the field and 6 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

It will be a long plane ride home for the Kings, who ended their road trip 2-3 after losing back-to-back heartbreakers against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Suns. Sacramento kicks off a two-game home set on Thursday as it welcomes the Indiana Pacers to Golden 1 Center.

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