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Kings vs. Suns Preview: The Quest for Five

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The Kings are 4-1 but start a tough four game road trip tonight in Phoenix. The Kings know full well the capabilities of the Suns, as former Sacramento King Point Guard, Tony Delk, once scored 52 points on them.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings are 4-1 guys!  Of course, now they just face an even stiffer challenge as they head to Phoenix for the start of a four game road trip that has them playing some of the West's best teams (albeit one, Oklahoma City, has been ravaged by injuries).  The Suns were last year's Cinderella team, just missing out on the playoffs.  Right now, the Kings are well on their way to being this year's surprise team, but it will take more quality wins against teams like the Suns for that to be the case. Tonight's action tips off at 6:00 pm tonight on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. The Suns are a good team but are coming off a big loss against the Memphis Grizzlies.  Memphis was able to slow down their guard play as well as their bench.  The Suns thrive in the fast break, so valuing the ball will be a key against this teams so as to avoid giving them free points.  Plus, the Kings will have to deal with a player on a vendetta; Still salty at the perceived disrespect the Kings showed by not signing him, Zoran Dragic is sure to play with a chip on his shoulder (if he enters the game).

2. Phoenix likes to play small, which creates matchup problems for teams.  The Kings can create their own matchup problems by playing big, with DeMarcus Cousins potentially being a problem that the Suns can't solve.  The Suns have just two centers on their roster in Miles Plumlee and Alex Len.  If Cousins can get them in foul trouble early, that'll be a big time difference maker, and there's no reason to expect that he shouldn't; Cousins and the Kings are the league leaders in Free Throw attempt rate and it's not even close.  It's been a big part of their early season success, as Cousins, Gay and Collison all have made a living at the line.

3. The Pizza Guy.  That's right.  You thought we'd go the whole article without talking about him, didn't you?  Well why not talk about Ben McLemore.  He got off to a great start on Monday against the Nuggets by being aggressive towards the basket and confident in his shot.  It was his best game of the young season, and arguably his only good offensive one.  He'll have a tough defensive challenge tonight against Phoenix's guards, but I'd still like to see the same aggressiveness on offense.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Jason Thompson vs. Markieff Morris

So far this season, Jason Thompson has proven to be a valuable defender.  However, he's mostly done his defensive damage against more traditional big men who like to attack the paint.  Markieff Morris is not averse to attacking the paint, but he's also very comfortable utilizing his mid-range and long-range jumper.  Thompson will have to play a little bit differently to limit Morris, because if he can't, he probably won't see that much playing time as the Kings opt to play a little smaller, perhaps with Omri Casspi, Rudy Gay or Derrick Williams at the 4.

PREGAME LIMERICK

The Kings are on the road,
decked like Braveheart all in woad.
The Suns are up first,
they're not the worst,
but there's no stopping Boogie in Beast Mode.

PREDICTION

Kings 109, Suns 100 as DeMarcus Cousins decides 30 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes was too slow and opts for 40 and 20 in 15 minutes as a follow up.