Sacramento Kings (2-7) vs. Phoenix Suns (5-4) Preview


Jan 23, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) drives in ahead of Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic (1) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Phoenix Suns defeated the Sacramento Kings 106-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a home-and-away swap for the Kings and Suns, who stand at the opposite ends of the tank race. Sacramento is a disappointing 2-7 after coming into the season with a (seemingly) easy early schedule and higher hopes. Meanwhile, the Suns are a shocking 5-4, way better than expected. The Suns have a rag-tag bunch that has put together solid numbers, and that’s not good for a Kings squad that has failed to have more than three players play well at a single time.


Sacramento Kings:

Phoenix Suns


DeMarcus Cousins, 6’11, Kentucky

21.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 47.5% FG


Miles Plumlee, 6’11, Duke

10.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 49.4% FG


Jason Thompson, 6’11, Rider

6.7 PPG, 6 RPG, 41.7% FG


Channing Frye, 6’11, Arizona

6.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 33.8% FG


Luc Mbah a Moute, 6’8, UCLA

3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 35.7% FG


P.J. Tucker, 6’6, Texas

9.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 45.6% FG


Ben McLemore, 6’5, Kansas

7.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 37.9% FG


Goran Dragic, 6’3, Yugoslavia

14.3 PPG, 5 APG, 44.3% FG


Greivis Vasquez, 6’6, Maryland

10.2 PPG, 5.2 APG, 49.3% FG


Eric Bledsoe, 6’1, Kentucky

20.4 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.6 RPG, 50% FG

Key Bench Players:


Isaiah Thomas, 5’11, Washington

28.2 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 4.9 APG, 45.1% FG


Gerald Green, 6’8, Gulf Shores Acad.

25.3 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 48.9% FG


Marcus Thornton, 6’4, LSU

10.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 36.8% FG


Marcus Morris, 6’9, Kansas

22.6 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 40% FG


Travis Outlaw, 6’8, Starkville HS

14.8 MPG, 6.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 50% FG


Markieff Morris, 6’10, Kansas

27.5 MPG, 14.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 55% FG

Last Three Contests:

March 28, 2013: Kings @ Suns – Kings 117, Suns 103
March 8, 2013: Suns @ Kings – Kings 121, Suns 112
January 23, 2013: Suns @ Kings – Suns 106, Kings 96

Oct 17, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives to the basket against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Phoenix Suns 107-90 Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Key Matchup: Kings PG Combo vs. Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe escaped from the Los Angeles Clippers bench to Phoenix, where he no longer sits behind Chris Paul. While many (this writer included) expected his first season as the go-to starter to be fraught with inconsistency, he’s been anything but. He’s averaging excellent numbers at 20 PPG, 6.8 APG and shooting a very nice 50% from the field and is a huge reason why the Suns are a shocking 5-4.

Neither of the Kings guards looked exceptionally bright in the Kings decimation on Sunday by the Memphis Grizzlies. They need to at least combine to match Bledsoe tonight.

Three Things to Watch:

1. Return to Form: Sunday was Cousins’ first bad game of the season, although it was a bit understandable considering he was going against Marc Gasol, the reigning defensive player of the year. The lack of effort, though, was less excusable.

Tonight he goes against Miles Plumlee, a solid shotblocker, but certainly not the best defender he’s battled against. A return to form (attacking the paint, hustling defensively) is hopefully in order.

2. Bust Out Ben: Things haven’t gone as well for Ben McLemore, starter, as they were going for Ben McLemore, energy bench player. He’s still going full-tilt, one of the few players that looks energized 100% of the time, but he’s obviously a bit overwhelmed.

He’s a week into his starting role now, and he’ll be playing a crafty defender in Goran Dragic, but one who can’t keep up with his size or athleticism. Dragic is basically an undersized point guard—a nice test for the rookie and a good chance to turn it around.

3. The Suns’ Bench: Phoenix has a surprisingly deep bench, especiallygiven the breakout of the Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus. Markieff in particular has been dangerous, averaging 14.4 PPG of the bench on 54 percent shooting. Gerald Green would be the Kings best small forward by far, but he’s a benchy behind P.J. Tucker. Add in rookie Alex Len, and the Suns have a young bench with plenty to prove.

Prediction: Kings 98, Suns 94