When: 8:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -1, O/U 237.5, Suns Moneyline -115
The Phoenix Suns face the Sacramento Kings in the first meeting between the teams this season at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. The Suns are ranked No. 1 in the Western Conference while Sacramento, their pacific division rivals, are ranked No. 6.
The Suns are three games off their pace from last season, when they started 16-3 and were in the midst of an 18-game winning streak. Starting point guard Chris Paul has missed the last nine contests due to heel soreness and usual starting forward Cam Johnson has been out for the last 11 games plus more due to a right meniscus tear, but Phoenix is still the best in the West.
Sacramento is above .500 through its first 18 games, which ties its best start since the 2018-19 season. The Kings lost their first four games but then won eight of 10 contests, including a seven-game winning streak.
Sacramento has since fallen to the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics on the road. They are No. 12 in NBA.com’s Power Rankings and have a chance to snap their 16-year playoff drought, which is the longest in NBA history.
Sacramento is led statistically by sixth-year guard De’Aaron Fox, who is averaging 25.1 points, 6.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 17 games played.
The Kings have five other players who average double figures in scoring: starting power forward Domantas Sabonis, who the Suns were rumored to be interested in during last year’s trade deadline (16.9 points per game); starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter (15.9 points per game); backup guard Malik Monk (13.4 points per game); starting small forward Harrison Barnes (13.1 points per game); and forward Keegan Murray (10.4 points per game).
Here are some of the notable statistics for each team provided by TeamRankings.
- Points per game: Phoenix (No. 10, 114.6), Sacramento (No. 2, 119.1)
- Assists per game: Phoenix (No. 8, 27.3), Sacramento (No. 5, 27.7)
- Rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 14, 52.3), Sacramento (No. 25, 49.9)
- Average scoring margin: Phoenix (No. 2, +6.9), Sacramento (No. 7 (+2.0)
- Offensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 3), Sacramento (No. 2)
- Team shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 12, 47.2), Sacramento (No. 3, 49.1)
- Effective field goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 13, 54.0), Sacramento (No. 3, 57.1)
- 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 9, 37.4), Sacramento (No. 12, 36.6)
- 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 22, 52.7), Sacramento (No. 1, 58.8)
- Blocks per game: Phoenix (No. 6, 5.9), Sacramento (No. 30, 3.0)
- Turnovers per game: Phoenix (No. 5, 13.2), Sacramento (No. 16, 15.1)
- Opponent points per game: Phoenix (No. 7, 107.7), Sacramento (No. 27, 117.1)
- Opponent shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 6, 45.5), Sacramento (No. 29, 49.5)
- Opponent effective field-goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 5, 52.3), Sacramento (No. 29, 56.2)
- Opponent 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 27, 37.6), Sacramento (No. 29, 38.6)
- Opponent 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 4, 50.0), Sacramento (No. 21, 55.3)
- Opponent total rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 9, 50.3), Sacramento (No. 1, 48.1)
Likely Starting Lineups
G Cameron Payne
G Devin Booker
F Mikal Bridges
F Torrey Craig
C Deandre Ayton
G De’Aaron Fox
G Kevin Huerter
F Harrison Barnes
F Keegan Murray
F Domantas Sabonis
Same injury report for the Suns. No Chris Paul, Jae Crowder or Cam Johnson against the Kings tomorrow night in Sacramento.— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) November 28, 2022
- Cam Johnson (right knee) is OUT
- Chris Paul (heel soreness) is OUT
- Jae Crowder (making burner accounts) is NOT WITH TEAM
- None listed, per ESPN.
Courtesy of lockervision.nba.com
What to Watch For
The Suns are facing one of the hottest offensive teams with Sacramento, which has not scored fewer than 104 points this season. The Kings had back-to-back games with at least 130 points when they defeated the Brooklyn Nets 153-121 Nov. 15 and then the San Antonio Spurs, 130-112, Nov. 17.
Sacramento has a deep team, with every player who plays at least 12.2 minutes per game averaging at least 5.4 points. The Kings are not big — evident in their rebounding numbers and with Sabonis at center — but pass the ball very well under coach Mike Brown, who most recently served as the associate head coach for the Golden State Warriors from 2016 to 2022.
Brown previously coached the Cleveland Cavaliers during now-Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James’ initial years with the team from 2005-06 to 2009-10. Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2009.
Sacramento is expected to be fully healthy for Sunday’s game, so the Suns will have a big task defensively. The Kings have a capable guard and big who can take over a game, which makes them very hard to stop. Huerter plays off of those two well and shoots 47.3 percent from 3-point range.
This is a divisional game, so the Suns and Kings will face three more times in the regular season.
The Suns and the Pistons have played 241 times in their history dating back to the 1968-69 season. Phoenix leads the all-time series 141-100 and the teams have split their last four meetings.
Keys to a Suns Win
This will be the Suns’ biggest defensive challenge of the season. Fox is a physical guard who can get downhill and is a good 3-point shooter (38.9 percent). He leads the Kings’ offense and has meshed well with Sabonis, who is known for his post-up and passing ability. He ranks first on Sacramento’s team with 6.2 assists per game.
The Suns’ help defense will have to be alert Monday night. Sacramento has several ways to score, including through drive-and-kick opportunities, passes from the high post to cutters and Fox’s ability to score on his own.
However, Sacramento is not a great defensive team, and the Suns have an ability to find Ayton for several opportunities with his back against the basket if they choose. Phoenix should have an advantage in points in the paint and rebounds if this game, which should limit the Kings from scoring assuming it can guard them for the full length of the shot clock.
Divisional games are typically competitive, and Phoenix and Sacramento will have better knowledge of each other’s personnel as a result of it. The Suns and Kings have had challenging games in recent history and Monday’s should be no different.
Sacramento has big threats offensively but the Suns have been better defensively over their current four-game winning streak, holding teams to an average of 103.5 points per game. Given that Phoenix had five of its last six games at home, it found a groove and may continue it against the Kings.
However, divisional games are challenging and Sacramento has been a surprise team this year with its previous win streak. Phoenix recently played a competitive game against the Utah Jazz, so responding to face Sacramento on the road will be a challenge.
The Suns may very well win this game but it’s hard to pull out all of them. The Kings will win a very close contest.
Kings 111, Suns 105
When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube.