Preview: Kings at Suns, Preseason Game 5


The Phoenix Suns did not make the playoffs last season, despite a good record, three All-Stars (with numerous MVP awards between them), and a style of play pleasing to the eye. The roster bristled under the Kerr-induced foot-stamping of StR favorite Terry Porter, leading to a midseason dismissal and the ascension of Alvin Gentry. Gentry, an old D'Antoni assistant, got the Suns running again. Shaq got traded, Amar'e Stoudemire recovered from an eye injury, and the Suns are really running now.

But with that running attitude, the Suns have reverted on defense. It isn't that fast-paced teams can't play defense well -- Denver has an up-tempo style and a great defense -- but the Suns can't play fast and well defensively. I like to think a lot of it has to do with defensive rebounding, though I can't currently back that up with stats. But basically, the theory is that when getting into the offense quickly is the top priority, you have 1-2 players leaking out on opponent shots, hurting an already poor rebounding line-up. Rebounding is one of those categories that is unquestionably strategy-related. (The Spurs, for instance, have a mirroring problem: on a San Antonio shot, every Spur runs back on defense to prevent the opponent's transition offense. As a result, the Spurs get very few offensive rebounds.)

So what's this mean? It means that Jason Thompson should again feast on the offensive glass. He had eight against Golden State. Given plenty of minutes, he might get that again in Phoenix.

You can learn more about the Suns at the tremendous SBNation blog Bright Side of the Sun.


Spencer Hawes needs a break after three Key Battles in the team's first four preseason games. So let's give it to Tyreke Evans vs. Steve Nash. Nash won't be the first quick guard Evans has to deal with -- he drew Monta Ellis on Saturday, after all -- but he is the best opponent 'Reke will have seen at preseason's end. Remarkably, among Kings only Francisco Garcia has had a modicum of success guarding Nash over the years. Even then, Nash has still been able to create at will. Evans is the first (post-Orien Greene) Kings point guard who stands a chance to knock Nash off his horse. But Nash is such a smart player and phenomenal shooter that he could give Evans absolute fits. It'll be interesting to see hear how well Evans can use his tools to counteract Nash's craft. I'm not terribly optimistic at this point.


It's not quite Key Battle-worthy, but Jared Dudley has been earning a reputation for supreme hustle this preseason. Omri Casspi has done the same. Should be fun little back-and-forth if each gets on the floor.


Donte Greene will play at least five minutes, and will not attempt a three-pointer.


The game is at 7PM Pacific. Radio only (KHTK 1140 AM in Sacramento).

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Sactown Royalty

You must be a member of Sactown Royalty to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Sactown Royalty. You should read them.

Join Sactown Royalty

You must be a member of Sactown Royalty to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Sactown Royalty. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.