Game 43 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns

Thomas Robinson makes a move against the Suns' defense. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where: Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Suns perspective, visit TrueHoop Network Affiliate Valley of the Suns.

The book on the Suns: The Suns are in the midst of transition.  They parted ways with Alvin Gentry last week and have tabbed former NBA journeyman Lindsey Hunter to replace him.  Hunter makes his coaching debut tonight in Sacramento.  Gentry’s departure hasn’t sat well with some in Phoenix.  Dan Majerle, one of Gentry’s top assistants, exited the franchise and former Kings assistant Elston Turner looks like he’ll follow suit.

Did you know?  The Phoenix Suns hadn’t lost a home game to the Milwaukee Bucks in 26 years until last Thursday.  The Bucks snapped a 24-game road losing streak in the valley of the sun.

Status Updates: None to report.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (16-26)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Phoenix suns Probable Starters (13-28)

PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Jared Dudley
SF: P.J. Tucker
PF: Luis Scola

C: Marcin Gortat

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 97.1
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 102.1
  • Defensive Rating: 108.4
  • Pace: 94.55

Suns

  • Points Per Game: 95.4
  • Offensive Rating: 99.6
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 99
  • Defensive Rating: 104.9
  • Pace: 94.70

Three questions to ponder

1.  Will the fans be a factor in tonight’s match-up?

Once again, all eyes will be on the Sleep Train Arena crowd following the news of an agreement to sell the Kings to Seattle-based owners.  The fans have dealt with adversity before.  When rumors first started to swirl about a Kings move north, 14,011 out of a possible 17,317 fans attended a Thursday match-up against the Dallas Mavericks.  Just like two weeks ago, tonight’s game does not feature a powerhouse opponent.  Much like the Kings, the Suns are in the midst of turmoil themselves.

2.  Can the Kings avoid another sluggish start?

Granted, news of an agreement to sell the Kings to a Seattle-based ownership group presented a bit of distraction Monday morning.  But slow starts, for the most part, have been a high indicator of failure for the Kings this season.  The Kings were outscored 30-18 in the first period of the MLK Day loss to the Hornets.  Sacramento went on to score only 39 points and shoot a meager 34.1 percent from the field in the first half.  For comparison’s sake, the Kings are 13-3 in games where they lead at halftime.

3.  Will Jimmer Fredette earn his third-consecutive DNP – Coach’s Decision?

Brushed under the rug of Kings headlines has been the diminishing playing time of Jimmer Fredette.  A fluctuation in minutes was expected, considering the returns of Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans from injury two weeks ago.  But despite proving to be one of the Kings’ most consistent players this year, Fredette has gone from seeing significant floor time to not playing at all.  In Sacramento’s last two games, Keith Smart decided to keep Fredette glued to the bench, earning the guard his first two DNP-CDs since December.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.