Early in the season these two teams met and it would be the first of many games the Suns would let slip away at home. The double overtime defeat was an unacceptable loss in which the Suns led by 11 at the end of the third quarter and the Kings didn't have a lead in the game until there was 1:37 left in the fourth quarter. The Suns would also jump out to a 7-point lead in the first overtime and a 4-point lead in the second overtime. It was a horrible loss and you've got to think (and hope) that the Suns remember it.
The Sacramento Kings have had a bizarre season. The superstar two-way play of DeMarcus Cousins combined with the resurgence of players like Darren Collison and Ben McLemore had the Kings at a very respectable 11-13 record in the middle of December. With a record like that on the league's second toughest schedule and missing their superstar center for nine games the Kings should have been absolutely fine with that mark. It apparently was not fine with the higher ups in Sacramento as they went on to fire head coach Mike Malone. A move like this with a previously unstable centerpiece that was happy seems strange and everyone is struggling to see the reasoning.
Regardless of that hysteria, the Kings still have to move on. They are 1-3 since Malone was fired and they got Cousins back for the last three games. If you were wondering about Cousins being healthy, he's averaged 26 points and 11 rebounds in those games so I think he's fine. McLemore is finally shooting the way he was supposed to out of the draft (40% from deep this year) and Collison is putting up career highs across the board (except for his FG%). They've gotten some great work off the bench from Omri Casspi and will bring some real strength and size to the power forward position with Jason Thompson and Carl Landry.
Besides the Dallas Mavericks game from earlier this year, this two game stretch has been the best basketball we've seen from the Suns this season. Following some unsettling quotes from Isaiah Thomas, head coach Jeff Hornacek has gone with the three point guard lineup more than ever and while it's a small sample size, the numbers have been fantastic. Both games featured six Suns getting into double digits. Any Suns fan who has seen games from both last season and this season know how much of a night and day type switch it is with this team. This could be the start of something.
The Kings are (rightfully so) not the same team without Mike Malone and despite having a great big, something Suns fans fear, I think the Suns picked the right time to travel to Sacramento.
Score: Phoenix Suns 114, Sacramento Kings 97