Preview: Sacramento Kings (6-14) at Phoenix Suns (12-9)


Time: 7 p.m. MST

TV: FSA

Kings

Kings

Suns

Suns

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?

 

  • Luka

    Check this out: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/12/shaq-shaquille-oneal-phoenix-suns-gordan-giricek/

    I guess it has to do with Sacramento because Shaq is a minority owner now, and the name of their arena is “Sleep Train”.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Suns are favored by 6 1/2 in Tonight’s game…the only other time they were favored by more was the Nov. 30th game vs Utah…Suns were favored by 9 in that game & lost out-right.
    Interestingly, The Suns were 5 1/2 pt favorites (the 2nd biggest line they had to cover B4 tonight’s game) in the NOV. 20 home game vs the Kings, which like the Utah game was the 2nd of back-to-back games.

    Well, tonight’s game is not the 2nd of back-to-back games & I expect the Suns to do well especially since the Kings are getting their 1st look at Bledsoe.
    Of course, the Kings always play PHX tough & Cousins is a difficult matchup.
    Maybe Slava plays in some Hack-A-Cuz.

    also….Suns are still an amazing 15-5-1 ATS this year.
    The “push” coming against Utah in the 2nd game of the year when the Suns won 87-84 as a 3 pt favorite.

  • EBJM

    Blazers had an impressive win against a healthy Rockets team at home last night. While Robin did give up 32 and 17 against Howard he did post 16/10/2 and edged Howard +5 to +4.

    Robin’s season averages are getting so close to a double-double. It is a good thing the Suns training staff got Robin through the stress fracture in his foot, the herniated disk in his back, & the the torn ligaments in his left knee!

    Otherwise he wouldn’t be starting for the best team in the West!

  • EBJM
  • EBJM

    You guys have to love the irony! Now that many believe the Suns are playoff-bound and a rebounding rim protector away from doing some damage.

    That young centers who declare early are usually projects and take time to develop.

    Forever PUSHED and PUSHED for the inept Lance Blanks to trade Marcicn Gortat and hold onto Robin Lopez.

    Now look, Robin will turn 26 a month before the Blazers with his injuries in the rear-view mirror and starting for perhaps the #1 seed out West.

    While the Suns repair and develop his 20 year-old replacement. Could this be Blank’s legacy more-so than Kendall Marshall and Markieff Morris?

  • Foreveris2long

    EBJM, Man that was a really cool article about Lopez. However I am a little concerned that Lillard referred to him as RoLo in the video. I did not give him authority to use that nickname.

    I watch every Portland game due to Lopez being there. I do not know if they make it to the finals this year but when their rookie recovers from his injuries, giving them an additional spark off the bench they may be as good as anyone in the West next season.

    I could be wrong but I place this on Babby who said he wanted to keep Lopez but did not match Pelican’s $5m/yr salary. Lopez is the best deal in the league for starting center at $5m/yr. Lack of foresight killed the Suns with Lopez. Although I have been around the game and could have been an agent, I am a hack and I knew this day would come so why couldn’t the Suns brass see this? I fear Bledsoe is going to cost the Suns a lot more than what they could have secured him for earlier. Time will tell when and if we learn of prior negotiations but I suspect Babby’s perceived lack of foresight may hurt us again, this time with Bledsoe. I hope I am wrong.

  • EBJM

    Bottom line Forever is that everyone should be happy for Robin. Portland is also more suited to Robin than almost any other NBA city.

  • Sunsn7

    Anybody else hearing the Suns supposedly are willing to deal picks for an “established star”? Anybody?

    Dont like that look AT ALL!

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  • BCrayZ

    @Forever is too long -

    Babby is just a sleazy liar.

    Back in my Wall Street days, I met so many like him that I saw his game from a mile away. Kerr was “rewarded” so well by Sarver for the last successful year of our team that he went back to TNT. Next in is Babby, a manipulative smooth talker who recognizes that the only way to gain power over Sarver was to make him feel weak. Sabotage the Suns so they will lose. Good bye to all that was good. Last year, he set up Blanks & Alvin to take the fall. With Sarver somehow believing that Babby was his only hope, that sleazy liar got his own new multi-year fat contract, after destroying the team.

    This is why I repeatedly campaign to get our best players (who are still young enough to play) back. Gogi has returned as a free agent & Frye from a medical leave & both a scary & frustrating year. The Morris twins, particularly Mark (our own hound dog), do not play winning basketball for the team. Suns could have easily lost last night’s game. Mark only played 22 minutes in the game. Good thing. Jeff is a smart coach. During Mark’s 22 minutes, the Suns were a (-16), as his plus / minus (+/-) was, once again, worst on the team. When Chinga (Frye), our starting 4, is on the court, that is when the Suns play their best ball. Frye was a +23 in the game. That means that the Suns were a total of 39 (23+16) points better off with Mark sitting down & Chinga in the game. Frye was on the court for 36 1/2 minutes, more time than any other player on the team. This is because Jeff is a smart coach. Suns have now won their last four. Only OKC has a better (five in a row) current streak. Just as I had previously mentioned, the Utah Jazz are playing better, now that they have Trey. They did indeed win at Denver, in last night’s game. This (plus our home win) moves the Suns up to the 6th seed in the West. With a bit of luck in DC tonight (Wiz able to beat tired road weary Clip?) plus another home win (vs. a Warriors team struggling big time without Iggy) tomorrow night, Suns would move to the #4 seed. This is where we want to end up the year. All four top seeds get to start the playoffs at home. Plus, instead of starting against a #1 or #2 team, we would be matched vs. the #5 seed. Let’s trade our Morris twins in a package deal. This will keep them together. Toss in some of our draft picks & land a star, like the Rockets did last year. Just not for that hound dog Melo. This star (like Harden) must be someone who plays team oriented winning ball. Like maybe Luol Deng. Also sign The Brazilian Blur. Make it so, Ryan.

    MUST reunite “that killer bench unit.” Let’s go SUNS!!!!