Since both teams lost in the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals, the Kings and the Suns will meet tonight for the first time in 2023-24. Last season, the two teams faced off four times and split the series evenly.
The Kings look pretty much the same, but the Suns are a very different team now. Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson are all gone. Devin Booker is the only player left from their 2021 Finals team but he is once again surrounded by big names.
Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal both came to Phoenix in big blockbuster trades, but Beal has only played three games so far, and we haven’t gotten a chance to see the team at full strength yet.
Nevertheless, the Suns have a 12-9 record going into tonight’s game and are not an easy team to beat.
Is Kevin Durant playing tonight?
So far this season, Kevin Durant has been the healthiest of the Suns’ three stars, playing 19 games. Tonight, he is out with a left ankle sprain, however, which definitely makes the game easier for the Kings.
Keegan Murray has developed into a solid defender but guarding Durant is a daunting task, and the Kings don’t really have anyone else who could slow him down. Other than Murray, Kessler Edwards might be the only King to stand a chance. He has not been able to crack the rotation yet, however.
Also out for the Suns are Grayson Allen, Bradley Beal, and Damion Lee according to the NBA injury report. The Kings will definitely be without Alex Len and Colby Jones. Chris Duarte is still questionable, but even without him, the Kings should have the depth advantage.
The Kings could use a win tonight
Many In-Season Tournament brackets had the Kings as one of the favorites in the West. The Pelicans had other plans, however, and quickly ended any hopes the Kings had of going to Las Vegas.
The Kings got off to a hot start before making too many defensive mistakes and letting the game get away from them. It was a disappointing loss and the Kings could use a bounce-back win to keep up the spirits.
The Suns are a tough opponent and should not be underestimated, but considering how short-handed they are, the Kings should be able to take home a win.