NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 4 (All times eastern)
Sacramento Kings (12-24) at Phoenix Suns (16-20), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Wins have been hard to come by lately for the Sacramento Kings, who will resume a three-game road trip tonight against the Pacific Division-rival Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.
The Kings have lost two straight and eight of their last 10 games, and dropped a 115-107 decision to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday in the opener of the trek. Bryant scored a game-high 38 points and showed no ill effects from a broken nose and concussion.
Francisco Garcia scored 18 points for the Kings, who got 10 points and 13 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins.
"We're an inconsistent team right now, but in a few years, if we stay together, we'll win these games," said Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette, who scored 12 points.
Marcus Thornton and rookie Isaiah Thomas scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, and couldn't prevent Sacramento from falling to 4-18 away from California's capital. The Kings are last in the division and will close out the road swing Monday in Denver.
Thomas was named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in February and led all West rookies in scoring with 12.2 ppg. He is averaging 17.1 ppg in his past seven games. Cousins has recorded double- doubles in each of the last four games, posting 17.8 points and 14.3 rebounds in that time, and ranks first in the NBA in offensive rebounding (4.6).
Sacramento has scored 100-plus points in each of the last five games (106.6 ppg), but has allowed opponents to average 109.2 ppg over that stretch.
Meanwhile, the Suns will wrap up a six-game homestand Sunday and is 4-1 so far on the residency. They are averaging 99.0 ppg in the last five and recorded an 81-78 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night.
Jared Dudley scored 22 points, including the game-sealing free throws with 13.3 seconds left, and Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 14 boards for Phoenix, which improved to 9-9 in the desert this season despite the dropoff in points after posting 100-plus in each of the previous four outings.
"We have got to learn to grind out games and be able to win scoring 81 points," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said.
Gentry's team used a big third quarter (31-17) to grab some breathing room and will visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Steve Nash finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds in the win over LA. Phoenix is 8-2 this season when scoring 100 points or more and 12-3 when leading at the half. It is only 4-17 when trailing after 24 minutes of action.
Dudley has scored in double figures in 14 of 17 games since returning to the starting lineup.
Phoenix defeated Sacramento, 98-84, on Feb. 11 this season at Power Balance Pavilion, as Dudley posted 20 points and 10 boards in that one. Cousins countered with 26 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, losers in 18 of the past 23 matchups between the two teams. Sacramento has lost 14 of its last 18 trips to the Valley of the Sun.
The Suns lead the all-time series against the Kings, 122-78, including a 75-39 advantage in the Sacramento era.
03/04 10:37:48 ET