April 3, 2018, 4:10 pm
After a gritty win Sunday night in Los Angeles, the Kings will look to build a winning streak Tuesday night in Phoenix against the Suns.
The Suns (19-59) have not done well in most of their season series’ this season, but they do have a 2-1 advantage over the Kings entering Tuesday night’s game. The two teams have yet to match up in 2018, and the Kings were a decidedly worse team at the beginning of the season when those three games took place.
With plenty of improvements over the last few months and Phoenix’s 15-game losing streak, there should be enough factors going in the Kings favor to make them the favorites to win, but injuries will also be a factor for the Suns. Devin Booker (hand), Elfrid Payton (knee) and TJ Warren (knee) are all out, and are arguably the three best players on the roster.
While the loss of those three should hurt the Suns’ chances, there are still talented players on the roster. One of the biggest differences that Kings fans can expect this time around will be the improved play of Josh Jackson. Jackson took a few months to adjust to playing in the NBA, but his production in recent weeks has been a nice boost for the Suns, and he can be a dangerous player when locked in. Justin Jackson will likely be asked to guard him to start the game, and should have the mobility to contain him, but the Kings will need to be sure to help when necessary.
The other concern for Sacramento will be Tyler Ulis. His lack of size gives him trouble around the rim and makes him a liability defensively, but his ability to shoot and run the offense makes him tough to take out of a game. De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason should have the speed needed to keep up with Ulis, but he’s going to be tough to stay in front of for a full game. Either way, this should be a good test for the Kings’ young guards.
The Kings have found a way to stay competitive despite a tough schedule over the last month, so a game against the Suns looks like a good opportunity to get an easy win. With that said, there are still a few players that the Kings will need to contain to make that happen.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Bogdan Bogdanovic
SF – Justin Jackson
PF – Skal Labissiere
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Garrett Temple (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE
Zach Randolph (personal) – QUESTIONABLE
Iman Shumpert (foot) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
Where: NBCS California
When: 7:00 p.m. PST (10:00 p.m. ET)