78 down, four more to go. The Sacramento Kings travel to Phoenix to face off with the Suns Tuesday evening for one of the final road games of the season.
Sacramento is coming off a road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The trio of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox came up big down the stretch to propel the Kings to their 25th win of the season.
Phoenix has chosen the path of least resistance. They’ve sat most of their regulars and that has equated to plenty of losses. They’ve dropped 15 straight and 25 of their previous 26 games to fall to the bottom of the NBA standings.
WHERE THEY STAND
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Justin Jackson vs. Josh Jackson -- The Kings have given Justin Jackson a long look at the small forward position and he’s struggled to find a groove. Tuesday’s game is another opportunity to get on the right track for the rookie small forward. Josh Jackson is coming into his own in the second half of the season, averaging 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game since the All-Star break.
Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (sprained left ankle) out, SG/SF Garrett Temple (sprained left ankle) out, SF Iman Shumpert (knee rehab and plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bi-lateral knee rehab) is out until January at the earliest.
Suns: SG Devin Booker (hand) day-to-day, SF Jared Dudley (ankle) day-to-day, C Alex Len (ankle) day-to-day, T.J. Warren (knee) day-to-day, C Tyson Chandler (neck) day-to-day, PG Elfrid Payton (knee) day-to-day, PG Brandon Knight (ACL tear) out for the season.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Day-to-Day-- As the old saying goes, “We’re all day-to-day.” The Suns have taken this philosophy to a new level, listing most of their roster on the injury report as day-to-day. If the last few games are any indication, “day-to-day” is a clever word for tanking.
Forget About Wins and Losses -- There are a lot of Kings fans looking for losses down the stretch. With lottery positioning at stake, Sacramento continues to compete and sometimes they come away with a win. It’s the ugly side of the game that needs fixing at the league level, but the Kings are learning valuable lessons in close games. The basketball gods will hopefully take care of the rest.
Nigel Hayes and Bruno Caboclo -- With nothing left to play for but pride, the Kings are giving some young guys a look. Hayes and Caboclo are both combo forwards trying to fight their way into the league. These are important opportunities that these young guys need to take advantage of.
The Suns lead the season series 2-1, including a win at Golden 1 Center on Dec. 29. Phoenix leads the all-time series 133-91 and they hold an 86-52 advantage during the Sacramento-era.