(Does any city has as many weird start times as Phoenix?)
The Kings visit Phoenix to play the Suns, a team that beat Sacramento in Sacramento just three weeks ago. That game -- days after the Blackout win over the Thunder -- was a mess for Sactown, punctuated by a 1-9 night for Tyreke Evans, a 2-9 night for Isaiah Thomas off of the bench and 35 percent shooting overall. Only DeMarcus Cousins (26 points) and Marcus Thornton (21) got into double digits as the Kings lost 98-84, slaughtering a good bit of momentum and sending Sacramento off on a losing streak that would reach six.
The conditions are different -- the Kings have no momentum on the court with two straight losses to the L.A. teams after beginning the second half with a home win over Utah. We also know the difference between the home Kings and road Kings, and must adjust accordingly. Phoenix isn't amazing at home (9-9, +1.3), but is better there than on the road (7-11, -5.3).
Things are also different for the Kings in that Isaiah Thomas is a starter, and that has largely helped the team's offense. Phoenix is just below average on both sides of the ball, so the hope would be that Sacramento's offense can break through and get cooking. We know based on the first match that Marcin Gortat, fine player that he is, has trouble with Cousins. We know that replacing John Salmons with Zeke will cause some defensive heartburn for Phoenix. But we also know that Steve Nash could carve up Sacramento like a gerrymandered legislative district, and that threes have been both a strength for Phoenix and a problem for the Kings.
The game's at 5, with game threads at 5 and 6:30. We're back at it Monday night in Denver. Let's go Kings!