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Kings vs. Suns Preview: Reign on the Ashes

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The Kings have a second shot at a first impression - they’re taking on an upstart Suns team that bushwhacked them on opening night.

Kimani Okearah

The Kings are coming off a big win on Sunday afternoon against the hottest team in the league, which happened only after losing at the horn a few nights before against the league’s second hottest team (by record only. The last good looking Laker was George Mikan). It’s only fair now that to complete the trilogy we’ll now slide into some magical realism and watch the Kings fight a few Suns for good measure. The Suns, if you don’t recall, were the very reason for the beginnings of our season of discontent: conjuring up some way to flip flop our fanbases’ expectations with one another in a single 48 minute span. Since Sacramento’s embarrassing loss on opening night, the Suns have continued to defy expectations: posting a record of 7-5 in a top heavy Western Conference. The Kings? Well, the Kings have defied everything - including certain laws of nature.

Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Tuesday, November 19th, 7:00 PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Melted Wings: Tuesday’s contest is a funky one, with expectations for this game far higher than one would think with Sacramento’s two stars out with injuries. There’s been a good bit of discussion from the fanbase about straight up beating this Phoenix team and moving ahead to future games and, well, that makes me nervous. Phoenix has been losers in three of their last five contests, including last night against the Celtics. Yes, you read that right. Phoenix is on the second night of a back to back and for the first time since Marvin Bagley III tried to hitchhike out of that abysmal 4th quarter in Phoenix, the Kings caught a break. Another thing to consider is that starting point guard Ricky Rubio may be out tonight with back spasms. He rested in last night’s game against the Celtics but is still listed as day to day.

Let’s talk about the Phoenix Suns for a moment here. I don’t have to speak on Devin Booker. 25 points a game, tiny little face for the head he’s got. You know that man. Specifically I’d like to speak on the most dangerous player on the Suns right now for the Kings: Aron Baynes. Don’t laugh. It should be a death knell to your season’s hopes and dreams when you have to put a player of DeAndre Ayton on the shelf for having Crystal Geyser in the tubes at the Arrowhead facility but alas, Aron Baynes has decided he doesn’t care what the hell anyone thinks. The journeyman center is suddenly and inexplicably averaging 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 44.2% from deep on over 4 attempts per game and doing it in just 24 minutes per game. For a little better clarity here, he’s averaging slightly better numbers than Harrison Barnes and playing less time than Nemanja Bjelica. The man is eating teams up and has been a great story to start the year.

Now to the implications: Omer mentioned this yesterday but if we’re going to start getting hopeful again about the Kings playoff chances, this Suns game could be one we look back on at the end of the year as sneaky important. This is match-up features a direct rival for a playoff spot and the league uses divisional record as tiebreakers come post-season. If the Kings continue to play as they’ve done (a much bigger if than I’ve pressed in this preview) they could steal a win from Phoenix with Fox and Bagley sidelined and even the divisional record between the two teams after the disaster that was opening night.

Prediction

The Kings steal a win from Phoenix with Fox and Bagley sidelined and even the divisional record between the two teams after the disaster that was opening night.

Kings: 105, Phoenix: 101