After a thorough drubbing at the hands of the Celtics on Tuesday, the Kings got a couple days off to lick their wounds and regroup. Now the Phoenix Suns are in town, with the fate of the Pacific Division potentially on the line. Can the Kings even the season series and avoid losing three games in a row for the first time in November?
Let's talk Kings basketball!
When: Friday, March 24th, 2023 7:00 PM PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
The P-Word: Yep, it's almost about time that Kings fans can safely talk about the "P-Word". It seems inevitable at this point that it will happen, but given the last 16 years, no Kings fan truly feels comfortable even with a lead.
With 10 games remaining the Kings have a 5 game lead on the 4th seed Phoenix Suns and are just 2 games back of the 2nd seed Memphis Grizzlies. Perhaps no game is more important for potential seeding purposes this season than tonight's against Phoenix. Beating the Suns would tie the season series at 2 apiece, and the Kings would also likely hold the next couple of tiebreakers as well, making it very unlikely that the Suns would be able to catch up.
In other scoreboard watching tonight, the Grizzlies host the Houston Rockets once more, the Mavericks host the Hornets, the Warriors host the 76ers and the Lakers host the Thunder in what is a very important game for both of those teams.
Afflictions and Ailments: The Suns come into town at far less than 100% as they will be missing not only Kevin Durant but also starting center Deandre Ayton, who has given the Kings fits in each of their matchups this year. Ayton averaged 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 71.4% from the field in the prior three games against Sacramento. In his absence, the Suns will likely rely much more heavily on the veteran big Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo is a much better rim protector than Ayton but is far inferior in almost every single other category. This should hopefully be a matchup that Domantas Sabonis can exploit with regularity tonight.
For the Kings, they should hopefully be back at full strength. Starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter has missed the last few games with a knee injury but told reporters at practice today that he hopes to make his return to action today.
Huerter had been playing some of the best basketball of his career prior to the injury, averaging 17.3 points with a blistering 56.6% from three for the month of March. Hopefully he can get right back on track tonight.
Book it: Regardless of who Phoenix is missing, Devin Booker is always incredibly dangerous. Booker has routinely killed the Kings in his career, and this season has been no different as he's averaged 34.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists a game on 61.2% from the field this season against the Kings. In their last matchup earlier this month in Phoenix, the Kings didn't exactly stop Booker as he still had 28 points, but he was far less comfortable than in previous games, mainly due to the effort of Kessler Edwards. I expect that Edwards will continue to see plenty of time matched up against Booker tonight.
Kevin Huerter gets right back on track as the Kings get out to an early lead against the undermanned Suns and manage to maintain it throughout despite a couple of big runs by Phoenix and an annoyingly good performance from Torrey Craig.
Kings 125, Suns 114
The Suns come here still in pursuit;
A Kings win makes their chase all but moot.
Without Kevin Durant,
Let’s hope that they can’t
Keep up as we give them the boot!
Huerter hits eight three-pointers, despite not playing so he can have more time to heal.
I’m not even worried about the 2 seed at this point. Win tonight virtually guarantees the 3. Mem has the easier schedule. My hopes for this post-season are at least a first round series win. Anything beyond that is very delicious gravy.
When is it considered a clinch? Do they have to clinch the six seed? What’s the magic number for that?
I believe that the magic number for 6th seed is 3. Magic number for home court in 1st round is 4, I think.
I think the magic number for the 3 seed is either 5 or 6 depending on the tiebreaker with Phoenix.
Not gonna lie, I’m expecting a Kings Suns 1st rd playoff series and the Kings to lose in 7. Seems fated, if Durant plays, which sucks. And that’s only because I don’t think the Kings can stop/slow down enough both Booker and Durant 4 times in a series. But they are talented enough to scare the shit out of the Suns in the process. I also don’t think Phx wants to face LAC or GSW as much due to those matchups. They want a Sacramento/Memphis/Denver bracket if they can get it. IMO, of course.
GSW & LAC don’t scare me whatsoever and I’ll even go so far to say that mystique of the Dubs is gone. That was illustrated when Curry dropped 50 on the Clipps and lost by double digits. In the Crypt, I know, but that never happened before. I don’t know what round the Dubs lose, but I think the champs are either Milwaukee or Boston. I’m choosing Milwaukee.
Either way, a fun season and hopefully a fun playoff run. Final win total? 48, 49, 50 or 51? (I’m thinking 50.)
I disagree. Three main reasons –
1 – They are The Champs. The regular season is nothing more than an annoying waiting room/warm up drill.
2 – Wiggins. When he is in the line up with Steph, Klay and Dray (and Looney) they are much better.
3 – Home court, which is a bit thin at Golden1, will be a nonfactor/anti-factor filled with Bay Area buffoons wearing #30 jerseys.
I see the Kings going 5-5 (48 wins).
After they clinch the #3 spot, I expect/hope that they rest De’Aaron, Domas and HB, and likely Red Velvet and give a lot of playing time love to the bench to help tune them up for the post season.
You a Dubs fan?
Wiggins is a big if as they are unable to say if he will be even back this season. That said, if he does come back and with GP set to return, they could definitely be a tough out. Both of those guys were key parts of their run last year, and both help address their biggest problem this year which has been defense on road games. Suns with a healthy Durant is still scarier tho.
I believe Kings will get the #3 slot. If beat Suns tonight – and the chances are better for that than later when KD returns, then #3 is almost certain.
3 plays 6. I do not want to play the duds.
Clypers or Suns need to free fall for duds to get 4 or 5. or duds fall and get passed by Mavs (doubtful) or Puppies or OKC.
My dream sceanrio9 besides beating the duds in 4 straight- but that is too big of a risk for me) is that duds fall to 7 and Fakers to 11
But I will be delighted with duds at 5 and Kings at 3.
I have waited too long to get to playoffs and lose to the most obnoxious team in the universe.
3 more wins for us to clinch a playoff spot, and I think 5 wins to clinch 3rd seed if we beat Phoenix (6 wins if we don’t beat Phoenix). But the Suns would basically have to go 10-0 to catch us, which more than likely isn’t happening.
Not too worried. Even if we lose, you know how many games the Suns are behind us?
Sink the Bismack!
Interesting discussion about the Suns FT disparity.
What’s funny is that Durant will re-join the team soon and the free throw discrepancy will be greatly reduced / eliminated. Booker gets to the line over 6 times again, but there is no one else on that roster other than KD that really draws fouls.
nobody worth fouling either.
Praying that this team magically decides to consistently play defense for the first time in almost two decades.
Playoffs are essentially locked up. The best offense in the game. Likely going to be embarrassed in the playoffs because they refuse to stop anyone.
Maybe they get out of the first round before real basketball hits them?
Hot damn, I really want to win this one. I don’t want to get nervous with a three game loosing streak heading into the final few weeks of the season.