Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Preview
The Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings will face off in Sacramento on Tuesday night. The Suns are looking to bounce back after a disappointing blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night while the Kings come into this matchup after a thrilling win on Sunday against the same Celtics team.
The Kings (5-7) are trying their hardest to salvage a season that was at one point brimming with potential. For a team that won 39 games last year, the early returns have been less than stellar. Injuries to key players like Marvin Bagley (thumb) and De’Aaron Fox (ankle) have thrown a wrench in Sacramento’s plans for an improvement over their 2018-19 season. So far it looks like there’s a very real chance the playoff drought continues for the Kings.
The Suns (7-5) are trying to get back on track after having their no. 5 offense stifled by the Celtics. Phoneix has had one of the more difficult schedules in the league, especially as of late with games against the Heat, Lakers and Celtics, but he Kings are a great matchup to help turn things back around.
Time: 9 PM ET
Arena: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Channel: NBCSCA, FSA
Suns: Ty Jerome (O), Ricky Rubio (Q)
Kings: Marvin Bagley (O), De’Aaron Fox (O), Caleb Swanigan (O)
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
The Suns lost 99-85 to the Celtics but the final score doesn’t tell the whole story and makes the game seem like it was closer than it actually was. The Suns were down by as many as 21 in the contest and just couldn’t erase the deficit after being outscored 31-20 in the second quarter.
Phoenix was outrebounded 52-45 and shot a putrid 27.8 percent from the 3-point line. Ricky Rubio, the Sun’s starting point guard missed the game due to back spasms and it showed on the offensive end of the court. The way the ball moves from side-to-side when Rubio is in the game was nowhere to be found against Boston. Devin Booker, who found himself the recipient of a lot of double and triple-teams any time he came off of a screen, only scored 20 points on 13 shots. The amount of shots is telling, he made seven of those shots, but Boston’s defense made it almost impossible for Booker to get a shot up.
The Sun’s have done the best they can considering their tough schedule and the loss of Deandre Ayton. They still have one of the best offenses in the league even though the loss to the Celtics is going to negatively impact that offensive rating. If Rubio can’t go against the Kings I hope Monty Williams makes a decision to turn to point-Booker. The Suns run the sixth-fewest pick-and-rolls in the league, per NBA.com advanced stats. They haven’t been very efficient when they do run the screen-and-rolls so far, but putting the ball in Booker’s hands with Baynes screening for him against the King’s poor defense could be just what the team needs to survive a game without their lead guard.
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
The King’s are riding high after pulling out a 100-99 victory against the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics. Buddy Hield had 35 points on 14-for-24 shooting from the field. Harrison Barnes was the second-leading scorer with 13 points. Richaun Holmes scored nine points–two of which came in the final seconds to give Sacramento their 100-99 lead before Marcus Smart missed his game-winning attempt.
Neither team shot the ball well from the field, but the King’s made 14 3-pointers and made them at a 40 percent rate. Hield’s 35 points were two points shy of his career-high.
Coach Luke Walton was happy with Hield’s offense in the game but really zeroed in on how well he played on the defensive end of the court.
“Buddy obviously was spectacular,” Walton said. “We all know he can score, and he’s going to have nights like this. But I thought he was committed to the team winning. The way he was defending, just his all-around game.”
The King’s were on so many preseason lists as one of the teams most likely to make the leap. They went under the radar last year and caught a lot of teams by surprise. With Fox’s elite speed pushing the tempo on a make or miss the King’s were able to outgun a fair share of their opponents. But they were still a bottom 10 team in defense and were one of the least efficient teams scoring the ball in the halfcourt. They’re having the same issues this season and their franchise point guard, Fox, has a bad ankle sprain that will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Hield is going to have another herculean performance and one of the worst defenses in the league is going to have to miraculously be good in order for the Kings to pull this one out.
Key Player Matchups
Devin Booker vs. Buddy Hield
This is the highlight matchup for this game and it’s not even close. Two sharpshooting guards who each have to potential to heat up and light the nets on fire on their way to 40 points. Booker is playing on a team that finally complements him and his skillset. In 34.5 minutes of game action, the 6-foot-5 guard is shooting a career-high 53.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. He’s also pouring in 25 points and 5.8 assists per game. Booker’s silky smooth jumper is as silky as ever and his added defensive effort has been essential for the Suns. Buddy Hield got the contract he so openly asked for and unfortunately, he and the Kings as a whole have underwhelmed. His numbers are down across the board: scoring, rebounding, assists and shooting splits. He still has the ability to catch fire as he did against the Celtics so I’ll see if he continues the hot shooting.
Kelly Oubre Jr. vs. Bogdan Bogdanovic
Kelly Oubre has an unpredictable game, for better or worse. He’s a high energy guy who has an inconsistent jumper but plays with a lot of effort on the defensive end. Even if he’s sometimes overmatched on that end of the court. The fortunate thing for him is he’s lining up across a guy in Bogdanovic, who isn’t physically imposing. Despite his lack of physicality, Bogdanovic is a skilled player who doubles as a play initiator for the Kings. With both teams dealing with injuries to their lead guards this looks like the second-best matchup tonight.
For tonight’s matchup, Devin Booker leads the way in terms of value ($8.8k on FanDuel). He’s also projected to post 36.5 fantasy points on the night. Booker was held in check by the Celtics last night, but the Kings don’t have a defender that can stick with Booker so expect a bounceback effort from him. For the Kings, Buddy Hield is the top fantasy option. He’s taking more shots with De’Aaron Fox out with injury, and nothing will change for tonight’s game. Hield is available for $7.9k and projected to post 37.2 fantasy points.
The Suns have a legit stretch big in Aron Baynes, and his newfound freedom in Phoenix has made him an excellent fantasy player. Baynes is going for $6.2k on FanDuel and projected to post 27.2 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic is also seeing an uptick in usage after the Fox injury and that has been great for his fantasy value. He’s going for $6.9k with projected points set at 32.4.
Bet on Matchup
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