SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings, Suns set for crucial matchup on TNT

Feb 13, 2024, 9:08 AM

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JANUARY 16: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings handles the ball during the ...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The last time that the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns met, chaos unfolded.

It looked like the Kings were coasting to a third-straight win over the Suns this season as Sacramento took a 109-87 lead with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation on January 16th.

Then, the meltdown happened.

Phoenix ended the night on a 32-8 run to stun the Kings and secure a 119-117 win–a significant victory, as one more Sacramento win over the Suns will secure the regular season series and clinch any potential tie-breakers.

These two teams will meet again on Tuesday night in front of a national audience on TNT as the Kings (30-22) will look to leap-frog Phoenix in the Western Conference standings.

The Suns (31-22) enter play holding a half-game lead over Sacramento for the sixth and final playoff spot in the West, and it will be a tall task for the Kings to slow down a red-hot Phoenix offense that has averaged 123.0 points per game over its past ten contests.

We’re at the point in the season where games have a heightened level of importance, and this is a big one between two teams that could be battling it out for a postseason spot over the next two months.

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Footprint Center  – Phoenix, AZ

TV: TNT

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Suns -4.5, O/U 244.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Suns coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Phoenix.

Where have you gone, De’Aaron Fox?

If Sacramento is to maximize its potential for the 2023-24 season, they will need more out of De’Aaron Fox.

Fox, who has played incredible basketball over the past calendar year, hasn’t looked like himself for some time as he has struggled to create consistent offense over an extended period.

Over Fox’s past 20 games, he has averaged 21.8 points and 4.6 assists per game on 43/33/68 shooting splits. If we trim it to a ten-game sample size, Fox’s averages are 22.4 points and 4.7 assists on 46/31/66 shooting.

The reigning Clutch Player of the Year has not played at an All-Star level for the better part of the 2024 portion of the schedule, and the Kings are going to need Fox to revert into that form if they are to make a run this spring.

During Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma City, Fox finished the day with 15 points on six-of-17 shooting from the field (two-of-eight from deep) in what was the guard’s fourth-straight game with less than 20 points–the longest such stretch for Fox since December of 2022.

While some have speculated that Fox’s struggles could be due to the All-NBA guard playing through injury, multiple league sources have relayed that Fox is “feeling fine” and isn’t dealing with any injuries outside of the regular bumps and bruises of an NBA season.

Fox has fared well against Phoenix this season–30.0 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 52 percent from downtown over three games–meaning that we could see him show an increase in aggression on Tuesday.

Sacramento needs more out of Fox, and a bounce-back performance against the Suns would come at a very ideal time.

Ride The Hot Hand 

If Fox continues to struggle out of the gates, the Kings would be wise to give Malik Monk a permanent green light and see if he can carry over his recent success into the Footprint Center.

Over the six games, Monk has averaged 22.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists on 55 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from a three-point range (6.0 attempts per game).

For the first time during his Sacramento tenure, Monk has scored 20+ points in three-straight games, becoming the first Kings bench player to do so since Buddy Hield (3 games, 2021).

If Fox isn’t in a rhythm early, Sacramento will likely lean on Monk to provide the offense with a boost. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has also been an efficient playmaker, averaging 5.1 assists over his past 15 games.

Notes

  • A win would give the Kings a 3-1 season series lead over Phoenix, which would clinch any tiebreaker scenarios with playoff implications soon coming into focus.
  • Domantas Sabonis will aim for his 36th consecutive double-double on Tuesday. That would be longest such streak in the NBA since Kevin Love (53 games, 2010-11).

Kings vs. Suns Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Sasha Vezenkov – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Chris Duarte – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)
  • Mason Jones – OUT (G-League)

Phoenix

  • Damion Lee – OUT (meniscus surgery recovery)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, February 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • NBA All-Star break – February 15-21
  • Thursday, February 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 6:30 PM PST
  • Monday, February 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat – 7:00 PM PST

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