NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 5th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (21-13) at Sacramento Kings (14-19), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The reeling Sacramento Kings hope to right the ship tonight when they welcome their Pacific Division rivals, the Phoenix Suns, to ARCO Arena.
The Kings lost for the fifth time in six games on Saturday when Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and pulled down seven rebounds, and the Southwest Division- leading Dallas Mavericks defeated Sacramento Kings, 99-91, in California's capital.
Omri Casspi had 22 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost three in a row. Jason Thompson recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyreke Evans returned from a three-game absence to score 14 points and dish out six assists in a losing effort.
"We have to learn to play with fatigue, we have to learn to play against good teams. It's all part of the journey," Kings head coach Paul Westphal said.
The Suns, meanwhile, finished a three-game homestand in losing fashion on Saturday when Memphis' O.J. Mayo dropped in 25 points and rookie Sam Young scored 22 off the bench, as the Grizzlies annihilated Phoenix by an unlikely 128-103 margin at US Airways Center.
Amare Stoudemire logged 29 points and Steve Nash donated 19 points and 13 assists for the Suns, who were coming off impressive wins over the Celtics and Lakers in the first two games of their residency.
The Suns had won 19 consecutive home games dating back to 2008-09 before losing to Cleveland on Dec. 21. Including that game, they have now dropped three of their last six as the host.
"The only way that you can put it is we just got our [butts] kicked. We can sugar-coat it and we can say different things but they beat us in every phase of the game," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.
Phoenix has won eight of the past nine meetings in the series but lost in its last trip to Sacramento, a 126-118 setback in March of last season.
01/05 10:36:19 ET