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Kings vs. Suns Preview: Wary of the Wayward Suns

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In the penultimate game of 2017, Sacramento must defend their home court against and up-and-coming Phoenix squad.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday! With 2018 just right around the corner, the Kings have a couple of games left to take care of before they can post on Twitter how crazy New Year’s Eve is going to be before popping open a room temperature bottle of Martinelli’s alone in their room and throwing The Muppet Movie on for the fourth year in a - oh, no that’s ... a friend... of mine... who does that. THE KINGS PLAY BASKETBALL TODAY! The Suns are in town and with the season match-up currently standing dead even at 1-1 between the two teams, a competitive game isn’t out of the question! Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Friday, December 29th; 7:00 pm PST

Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Sole Guard Flare: The Suns are in the midst of rebuilding much in the same way as the Kings, and in that mold, they’ve spent the better part of the redo drafting players with attitude problems and hiring then firing coaches that have very little business in the lead chair. Unlike the Kings of the last decade, Phoenix has seemed to have snatched a legitimate star player from the draft in Devin Booker. The guy is in his third season and averaging 24.6 points on 49% from inside the arc and 38% from outside it while also grabbing 4+ boards and tossing 4+ assists. The issue for Phoenix now is surrounding him with complimentary talent, especially a backcourt mate. Eric Bledsoe famously used Twitter to get himself on the Bucks earlier this season. Brandon Knight will miss the entirety of the season with a torn ACL. Mike James, a guard pulled from the depths of Europe this season, put up some great scoring numbers in his time as a starter, but didn’t offer much else and was recently released. Tyler Ulis, a player who showed great flashes last season has struggled in his 20+ starts this seasons and Isaiah Canaan is only six games into his tenure with the Suns. Possibly the biggest hole, from a talent standing, on the Phoenix Suns roster is at that point guard position. Still, as a Kings fan it’s hard to take pity on the Suns and their rebuild efforts. You’re having guard problems, I don’t feel bad for you Suns; we’ve got 99 guards but Devin Book ain’t one.

Sundown Rundown: Tonight’s game against the Phoenix Sun’s is going to be a bit more difficult than the last time around; namely that Devin Booker will be available for the game. In December 12th’s win the Kings didn’t have to face the Suns best player after a groin injury hampered him, and while both Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic have slowly upped their offensive games in recent weeks, it’ll take a defensive effort between the two of them to slow the young shooter down. The Suns are a team that plays with their foot press firmly on the gas; they’re third in the NBA in pace. This however has also contributed to them giving up more points in the NBA than any other team, with teams averaging 112.4 points per game. The Kings have scored that many points just three times this season and one of those times was in a loss to this very same team back in October. But with a team that is one of the worst in the league in stopping two point attempts and makes, the Kings allergy to shoot from deep, the Kings can still put points up on the board. This fast pace has also led Phoenix to be the second worst team in the league in turnovers, and probably contributes a bit to them being the second most foul happy team in the NBA.

That being said, Phoenix is a fantastic rebounding team, second in the league in total rebounds and top four in both offensive and defensive boards. They’re also a team that can take as much as they give in terms of fouls. They’re first in the NBA in made free throws, and second in attempts and this is with being only the 18th best free throw shooting team in the NBA. For the Kings to win this game, they’ll have to limit their fouls, find a way to convert what Phoenix gives them from inside the arc and try to keep those rebounding margins as close as they can to even.

Prediction: Z-Bo goes and one ups Vince Carter’s vinsane night against the Cavs and goes for 45 against Phoenix. This time no fans are happy about it, the joy of basketball is determined to be lost forever and the Kings franchise will be reabsorbed into the league. Golden 1 Center becomes the greatest ice rink in world history and a lone banner will hang in the rafters that says “The Day Basketball Died” and under it the final score:

Kings: 115, Phoenix: 106