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Kings vs. Suns Preview: Sacramento looks to knock out Phoenix on Boxing Day

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Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas makes his first return to Sacramento since being signed-and-traded this summer.  The Kings have been off since Monday so hopefully they're rested and ready to defend home court.  Today's action tips off at 7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. The Suns have a lot of scoring options.  Their top five scorers (Dragic, Bledsoe, Thomas, Morris and Green) all average between 14.2 and 16.3 points.  That's about 75 points a game from just five players.  They've also got some excellent roleplayers like Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee as well as up and coming big man Alex Len.  This is a dangerous and difficult to guard team.

2.  Like Houston, Phoenix is a team that loves shooting the three ball.  They're second in both attempts and makes on the season and also 9th in terms of percentage.  They have shooters at every position except for Center.  Their shooting also helps space the floors for drives from their guards.  The Kings' defense has not been good for a while now, and they barely snuck out a win the first time these two teams played, back when this Kings team was on a roll.

3. If Phoenix has a weakness, it's on the interior.  They give up a lot of rebounds to their opponent, and they also foul a lot, which means a lot of opportunities to get to the line.  In fact, in Sacramento's first meeting this year, the biggest difference was the free throw discrepancy; Sacramento made 33 of 39 attempts while the Suns were just 18 of 25.  Sacramento won by just two points in double overtime, so those free throws were really important.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Goran Dragic vs. Darren Collison

The Suns have a lot of threats but Goran Dragic might be the biggest one.  Dragic is a constant triple-threat, able to shoot, drive or pass either while already on the move or when catching the ball.  He's also big for a Point Guard, and has given Darren Collison some problems in the past.  Collison will have to make him work on both ends of the court and try to keep him from getting into the paint and settle for jump shots instead; Almost 40% of Dragic's FGA come right at the rim, and 30 from three.  Forcing him to shoot for somewhere in between is a win for the Kings defense.

PREGAME LIMERICK

Isaiah Thomas will seethe over any slight,
from his name to his rather short height.
Loved him as a King,
but defeat would sting,
so let's beat the Suns on StR night!

PREDICTION

Kings 114, Suns 112 after Isaiah Thomas' game-winning three attempt comes up just short.