SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings look to get back on track against Booker, Suns

Dec 8, 2023, 9:47 AM | Updated: 9:52 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket pas...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Following Monday night’s disappointing NBA In-Season Tournament loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Sacramento Kings took three days to regroup before playing their next game.

With the short break in the rearview, Sacramento (11-8) will look to get back on track on Friday night against a Phoenix Suns (12-9) team that will be without Kevin Durant (ankle), Bradley Beal (back), and Grayson Allen (groin).

The Kings will take a mostly healthy roster into Footprint Center, with Keegan Murray cleared to play after suffering a setback scare with his back on Monday night.

Sacramento will have to take advantage of the shorthanded Suns in a game that carries some importance as an extra regular season head-to-head matchup. Instead of playing four games against one another, the Kings will face Phoenix five times this season after Friday’s game took shape following the first round of the In-Season Tournament.

Can De’Aaron Fox and the Kings improve to 12-8 on the season against Devin Booker and the Suns? Let’s find out.

Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns Game Info

When: 6:00 PM PST

Where: Footprint Center – Phoenix, AZ

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 4:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -2.5, O/U 234.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Suns coverage, beginning at 6:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Phoenix.

Attack The Paint

It’s happened too often this season where the Kings will struggle to convert from three-point range, and instead of switching things up by attacking the paint, they attempt to shoot through the cold spells.

Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t.

After opening Monday’s game seven-of-11 (63%) from three-point range, Sacramento went seven-for-30 (23%) during the final three quarters.

If the shots aren’t falling early, it would be great to see the Kings emphasize paint touches and getting to the basket, especially against a Suns defense that ranks 24th in points allowed in the paint (53.4).

De’Aaron Fox and Domantas are the most likely players to show aggression in attacking the basket, but players like Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray should also look to expand that aspect of their game against Phoenix.

All Eyes On Book

With Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal out on Friday, the Kings will need to pay extra close attention to All-Star guard Devin Booker.

Booker was a thorn in Sacramento’s side last season as the Kentucky product averaged 34.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 3.0 steals on 61 percent shooting from the field over four games (2-2 record).

The Suns will rely on Booker even more so against the Kings, meaning it will be crucial to limit the three-time All-Star and force Phoenix’s deep bench to beat you.

Sure, the Suns have veterans like Eric Gordon, Jusuf Nurkic, and Josh Okogie, but if you can take Booker out of his comfort zone, it will be tough for Phoenix to beat a mostly healthy Sacramento squad.

Notes

  • The Kings and Suns have split their past eight meetings (4-4)
  • De’Aaron Fox had a quiet four-game set against Phoenix last year: 20.8 PTS, 4.3 AST, 43% FG
  • Domantas Sabonis fared well against the Suns last season (four games): 21.3 PTS, 10.3 REB. 7.5 AST, 63% FG

Kings vs. Suns Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Chris Duarte – QUESTIONABLE (left ankle sprain)
  • Colby Jones – OUT (lower back soreness)
  • Alex Len – OUT (high right ankle sprain)

Phoenix

  • Kevin Durant – OUT (right rib fracture)
  • Bradley Beal – OUT (low back strain)
  • Grayson Allen – OUT (right groin strain)
  • Damion Lee – OUT (right meniscus surgery)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, December 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 6:00 PM PST
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7:00 PM PST

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