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Preview: Suns battle Kings on Bright Side Night

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4,248 kids will see their first NBA game tonight, thanks to you. It’s Booker vs. Fox, Suns vs. Kings.

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns host the Sacramento Kings

When: 7:00 p.m. AZ

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena

Watch: Fox Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM


Probable Starters:

Suns - Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes

Kings - De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes


Kings

OffRtg = 106.8 (21st), DefRtg = 109.2 (18th), NetRtg = minus-2.4 (20th)

Sacramento is starting to find their footing lately, thanks to De’Aaron Fox’s return to the starting lineup a few weeks ago. Outside of the three-point shooting not being as consistent for Fox this season compared to last, he’s still putting up impressive numbers for a young point guard. Averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 steals in 29.9 minutes per game, Fox looks poised to set Sacramento up for a late season run if they can handle their business between now and then.

However, outside of Fox, the only consistency seen in Sacramento lately revolves around Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes. Hield’s shooting effectiveness hasn’t been there like it usually is, Suns fans know all too well whenever the former Oklahoma Sooner heats up. If that happens, it could be a long night for Phoenix.

And speaking of Holmes, he continues to blossom within a starting role for Sacramento surrounded by shooters. Holmes’ true shooting percentage is an incredible 69.2 percent so far this season, and it’s happening in a lower usage role.

Right now, Holmes is setting himself up for a big payday in the summer of 2020. Whether it’s from the Kings or some other team who’s in need of a rim-running energetic big man, Holmes has proven time and time again he’s ready for an 82-game rigor in the starting unit.

Suns

OffRtg = 110.3 (9th), DefRtg = 111.1 (19th), NetRtg = minus-0.7 (14th)

The Deandre Ayton + Aron Baynes duo in the Suns’ starting lineup has been a hot topic of discussion lately, and for good reason. There’s positives and negatives to this experiment from Suns head coach Monty Williams.

The good is that the Ayton/Baynes combo is plus-5.5 points per 100 possessions better than the opposition on a small sample size (37 minutes). The bad is that when Baynes isn’t hitting threes, the spacing isn’t the best and faster teams can run them off the floor. We saw the bad side of it on Sunday versus the Grizzlies.

From all indications, Williams will continue rolling with this starting lineup in the near future while players like Dario Saric and Cameron Johnson fall way back to barely playing. Both changes involving Saric and Johnson don’t make much sense, especially when we’ve barely seen Saric function alongside Ayton. Also, missing Johnson’s spacing and limiting it to 15 minutes per game isn’t the right way to go about it, in my opinion.

Even though this mid-season change is certainly impacting rhythm within the rotation, nothing seems to bother Devin Booker at all right now. Over the last six games, Booker is averaging 34.8 points on 54.4 percent shooting. Booker is putting up bonkers scoring numbers while being super efficient, too. What’s incredible is how Booker is putting the roundball in the hoop right now. Shooting only 5-of-23 on three-pointers during this stretch, Booker is countering that low figure with a jaw-dropping 61.1 percent mark on two-pointers.

Booker is well on his way to securing his first career All-Star game appearance with his latest hot stretch. And if the Suns are able to find more wins during this easy January stretch, then it will go a long way towards Booker finally gaining more consistent national notoriety.

Prediction

This is a must-win game for the Suns, especially after an awful outing losing positioning in the Western Conference standings to Memphis. So, it’s time to rebound and create slightly more separation from Sacramento.

Thanks to another big scoring binge from Booker, along with outstanding two-way games from Oubre and Bridges, Phoenix pulls away late in this one. On Bright Side Night 2020, I’m expecting the Phoenix Suns to walk out as winners.

Suns 112, Kings 105