SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings started their six game homestand with a bang Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ll get an opportunity to make it two in a row Friday evening when the Phoenix Suns roll into Golden 1 Center.
Vince Carter was the man of the evening against the Cavs, scoring a season-high 24 points off the bench for Sacramento. Willie Cauley-Stein and Bogdan Bogdanovic put up big numbers with the second unit as well, helping to the Kings’ bench mob to score 68 of the team’s 109 points.
The Suns have four of their last six games, including a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Phoenix averages 105.6 points per game, which is good enough for 13th best in the league. But they are the league’s worst defensive team, yielding 112.4 points a night.
Kings by 2.5
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 12-22 fourth in Pacific
Suns: 13-23 third in Pacific
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Frank Mason III vs. Tyler Ulis -- Mason started the first game of his career versus the Cavs on Wednesday night. He might get a second start against Ulis on Friday as Dave Joerger mixes and matches his lineups. Mason has struggled with his shot as of late, but it could just be a case of hitting the rookie wall. Ulis has started the last 23 games for the Suns after starting the season as a reserve. Eric Bledsoe is gone, as is Mike James. For now, it’s Ulis’ show in Phoenix.
Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (thigh tear) out, PF Harry Giles (bi-lateral knee rehab) is out until January at the earliest.
Suns: PG Brandon Knight (ACL tear) out for the season, G Davon Reed (knee) out, PF Alan Williams (knee) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Bogi the Point -- The Suns tried to get Bogdanovic to come over from Europe multiple times before dealing him to the Kings on draft night 2016. The Serbian rookie is finding his game and playing a lot of point guard for the Kings with Fox on the shelf with a thigh injury. He posted 16 points and eight assists against Cleveland. He creates open looks for his teammates and has an incredible basketball IQ.
Free Buddy -- Buddy Hield has found a niche with the Kings, but he’s struggled to get to the free throw line. Hield has failed to shoot a single free throw in eight of his last 10 contests. He hasn’t gotten to the line in 17-of-32 games this season. If he wants to be an elite scorer, he has to figure out how to draw contact and get to the stripe.
Time for Skal? -- Skal Labissiere has been the forgotten man over the last three games, drawing the dreaded DNP-CD (did not play - coach’s decision). The 21-year-old big hasn’t crested the 15 minute plateau since late November, but he’s played well against the Suns in the past. Will Joerger give him a shot or keep the second-year power forward on the bench?
After a 99-92 Kings win at Golden 1 Center on Dec. 12, these two teams are all knotted at 1-1 in the season series. Phoenix leads the all-time series 132-91 and they hold an 85-52 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
“I feel great. I prepare myself for it.” -Vince Carter after playing 30 minutes Wednesday against the Cavs