NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, December 17th
(All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (7-16) at Phoenix Suns (9-15), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Sacramento Kings will try to halt a four-game losing
streak Monday night when they visit US Airways Center to face the Phoenix
This is a battle of the cellar-dwellers in the Pacific Division and Sacramento
has been bad lately.
After a three-game winning streak gave cause for optimism, the Kings have
dropped four in a row, including a 122-97 drubbing Sunday night at home
against the Denver Nuggets.
During this slide, the Kings are allowing 111.0 ppg. The offense hasn't been
too spectacular either, with an average of 95.2 ppg. Basically, nothing is
working right now for Sacramento.
"Get on a plane, get ready for our next ball game, that's all you can do,"
Kings coach Keith Smart said after Sunday's loss. "This game is over. It's
behind us. It's unfortunate we played this way in front of our fans. You have
to get ready for the next ball game."
Isiah Thomas is back in the rotation and contributing. He led the Kings with
20 points against the Nuggets and DeMarcus Cousins had 19 and 11 boards. Jason
Thompson also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyreke Evans left the game in the first half with a sore left knee. His
availability for Monday is unknown.
The Suns are on a bit of a roll. After a horrendous seven-game slide, the Suns
have won their last two, both home games and both against playoff-caliber
Phoenix bettered the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, then came back with
a 99-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday. For a team that has dug
themselves substantial holes all season, the Suns jumped out to a 34-point
first quarter and never looked back.
"It's just so much easier when you are playing downhill rather than uphill,"
said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. "I thought it was our best first quarter by
far. I thought we did a great job of moving the basketball, and I was really
happy because at half we had 22 baskets and they assisted on 16 of those. That
tells me that we are moving the basketball and doing the right thing."
Jared Dudley set the pace for the Suns with 22 points. Goran Dragic had 17 and
Marcin Gortat posted a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Phoenix shot 46.2 percent from the 3-point line against the Jazz.
Defense has not been the calling card for the Suns. They rank 27th in
opponents' scoring and dead last in the NBA in opponents' field-goal
percentage. But, in these two wins, the Suns have averaged 82.0 ppg against
and held both Memphis and Utah under the 47 percent shooting the Suns normally
The Kings, who are 1-9 on the road this season, have lost the last three to
the Suns and are 2-12 in their last 14 in Phoenix.
12/17 10:42:28 ET