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Kings vs. Suns Preview: Time to play the spoiler

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings don't have much to play for anymore aside from pride, but if there's one thing they can do, it's ruin other team's chances of getting to the playoffs.  As DeMarcus Cousins said: "If we aren't making the playoffs, they aren't either. That should be our mindset".  The Suns are playing for their postseason lives and Sacramento's in the way.  We'll see who comes out on top. Tonight's game tips off at 7:00 pm Pacific on CSN California and KHTK Sports 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1.  This is not the same Phoenix Suns team the Kings have faced three times earlier this year.  The Suns made some drastic changes at the trade deadline, sending away Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic and getting back Brandon Knight and Marcus Thornton in return.  Both Knight and Thornton have been injured as of late but could make their returns tonight.  If they do that's a big boon to Phoenix's bench and shooting.

2. With Miles Plumlee gone, that only leaves Alex Len and Earl Barron to be Phoenix's Cousins' stoppers.  I presume we'll see a similar strategy as the one employed by Philadelphia in which Cousins is swarmed whenever he touches the ball.  DeMarcus will need to recognize that and find the open man instead of forcing tough shots.

3.  The Suns are playing some very good basketball as of late, with their own four game win streak over the likes of the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.  The Suns don't want to be left out of the postseason with a winning record for the second straight year, but with OKC widening the gap, each game is a must-win for them.  They're going to come out with a lot of intensity and energy and it's up to Sacramento to match that, which will be difficult on the second night of a back-to-back.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Markieff Morris vs. Rudy Gay

The Kings will likely continue to use their small starting lineup and that means Rudy Gay will have the unenviable task of matching up with the talented Markieff Morris.  Morris has the ability to beat you both inside and out.  However Morris isn't nearly as feared on the defensive end of the court where Gay should be able to punish him.  Rudy's a more experienced and developed player and should be able to win this matchup.

PREGAME LIMERICK

The Phoenix Suns are on the ropes,
OKC is dashing their playoff hopes.
They're gasping for air,
living on a prayer,
and now the Kings have them in their scopes.

PREDICTION

Kings 21, Suns 19 after DeMarcus Cousins successfully challenges Jeff Hornacek to a game of 21 for all the marbles.