Time: 7 p.m. MST
The Phoenix Suns put an end to their five-game road losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night with a 114-106 victory at the Staples Center, and they’ll look to continue their skid-snapping ways Friday night when the Sacramento Kings come to town.
Oddly enough, the Kings have a four-game winning streak against the Suns dating back to the 2012-13 season, including two victories over them in November on back-to-back nights. In fact, Phoenix accounts for a third of Sacramento’s win total so far this season.
With a win Friday night, though, the Suns won’t have just put an end to their losing ways against the Kings, they’ll have put together a four-game win streak for the first time since Dec. 2012.
Here’s what to look for in Friday’s Pacific Division clash:
Does Bledsoe make the difference?
It should be noted that in the two teams’ prior meetings this season, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe was in street clothes rather than in a uniform because of a left shin contusion.
Bledsoe has now played in six straight games and looks to have fully recovereed from his injury, meaning that either Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton or Ben McLemore could have their hands full Friday night. The fourth-year pro out of Kentucky leads the team in scoring and has put up at least 16 points and seven assists in his last three outings.
While the backcourt wasn’t an issue (Goran Dragic and Gerald Green combined for 54 points) the last time Phoenix and Sacramento met back on Nov. 20, Bledsoe, as illustrated in the win over Los Angeles, Bledsoe simply provides a different dynamic — especially in fast break situations.
Over/under 22 points for Marcus Morris?
Okay, while that number may be hard to duplicate, Morris is coming off his most efficient and arguably his more impressive performance in a Suns’ uniform, scoring 22 points on a career-high 10-of-13 from the field against the Lakers.
He was incisive with the basketball, confident from three-point range and competent getting to the basket — a combination that has not always been present since he arrived in Phoenix last February.
While Sacramento has a decent front line with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, after that it gets pretty thin. If Jeff Hornacek decides to play him more at three Friday night, Morris could find himself with a matchup advantage against the likes of recently-acquired Derrick Williams, Quincy Acy or Travis Outlaw. In two his two prior performances versus Sacramento this season, Morris combined to score 32 points (12-of-19 shooting) and grab nine boards.
Different team, same result?
Rudy Gay, who was acquired by Sacramento last weekend in a seven-player trade with the Toronto Raptors, will make his Kings’ debut Friday night at the US Airways Center.
Gay is no stranger to Phoenix of late, having just played in the Valley of the Sun last Friday night in a 106-97 loss. In that contest, his last for Toronto, Gay had 17 points but shot 6-of-15 from the field. Suns small forward P.J. Tucker was his typical stingy self, and only giving up one basket to Gay when assigned to the veteran swingman. To make matters worse, Gay struggled to keep up with Tucker (18 points) at the defensive end, even picking up his second foul in the first three minutes of the contest trying to run out at him off of a screen.
Does anything change in the head-to-head matchup now that Gay is a King just a week later?