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Kings vs. Suns Preview: Battle for the Pacific

The Kings head to the Valley of the Sun for their final game before the All-Star break.
By | 13 Comments | Feb 14, 2023

The Sacramento Kings are back tonight for their final game before the All-Star break and it’s against the new-look Phoenix Suns. The Suns just made one of the biggest trades in modern NBA history by trading for Kevin Durant, but he won’t be suiting up just yet.  Nevertheless, the Suns will still be a formidable opponent with Devin Booker, perhaps the most notorious Kings killer in the business right now, at the helm.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: 6:00 PM PT
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

For Your Consideration

Pacific Division Arms Race: No Division in basketball saw as much (potential) improvement at the trade deadline than the Pacific Division.  The Kings were the only team that didn’t make a significant move, but the Kings were also the team that least needed to make a huge move given how far they’ve exceeded expectations this season.

The Suns made the biggest move of all, trading much of their depth and a ton of future first round picks to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant, another superstar to pair with Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and an aging Chris Paul.  This Suns teams has Championship aspirations, and they’ve just pushed their chips all-in.

The Kings have three games remaining against the Suns, and perhaps no better opportunity to get a win against them than tonight in Phoenix when they’ll be shorthanded as Durant recovers from his MCL sprain.  The Suns will also be without Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne, while the Kings will only be without Malik Monk who is still dealing with his sprained ankle.  This is an ideal chance for the Kings to steal one on the road and solidify their hold on the 3rd seed.

But even without Durant or Bridges or any of the other players that will be out for Phoenix, their most important one remains: Devin Booker. The Kings had no answer for Booker in their only matchup so far this season as he torched the Kings for 44 points back on November 28th.  Booker is one of the best scorers in the league, and it will be tough for the Kings to keep him in check.

Thankfully, it should be easier for the Kings to score themselves. Mikal Bridges was one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire league, and played a big part in holding De’Aaron Fox to just 11 points in the first matchup.  Without Bridges, Fox should have a lot more freedom to roam and attack the basket.

This is a big game for the Kings. With a win, they’ll be 9 games over .500 with 11 days off to rest and recuperate before a tough final stretch of 25 games against mostly teams in the playoff hunt.  As the season winds down, each game becomes more and more important so every little bit of separation is helpful.

Prediction

De’Aaron Fox outduels Devin Booker in the desert and the Beam shines brighter than the Sun.

Kings 126, Suns 119

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Jman1949
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February 14, 2023 10:54 am

KD won’t play any time soon;
His absence tonight is a boon.
Our roster is stable—
Get wins while we’re able.
Keep lighting that beam to the moon!

Kosta
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February 14, 2023 11:18 am

Hopefully no dagger three from the bad guys in Arizona

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Want2win
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February 14, 2023 11:37 am

The USS Resurgence under the Command of Admiral Sabonis with Air Attack by Genral DeAaron Fox will hopefully sink the Rising Emperor of the Sun and their Kamikaze dives to the hoop!

sorry I went to WW2 when I saw Battle Of Pacific

Last edited 1 year ago by Want2win
andy_sims
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February 14, 2023 12:03 pm

Put Edwards on Booker, and watch the 4/23 happen.

murraytant
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February 14, 2023 12:50 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Edwards appears tall- I saw him next to DS and he was close in height.

murraytant
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February 14, 2023 12:50 pm

another important game- they now are all important.
This is a good opportunity for Kings to beat under-manned Suns but I said that prior to NOP game. oopps.

I believe in magical thinking- that if I root for a team, they will win. There will be 3 teams in the 4-6 slots but who? later this week, Suns play LAC- I want both to lose. One has to win- who is the biggest threat to overcome Kings (Suns) but maybe concede to the Suns and root of LAC to end up at 5-6 slots?
this game- no problem – root for Kings.
and since I want both LAL and duds to miss play-in, I will root for LAC against the duds. in a couple of days

I do think game hinges on stopping Booker.

Kingsguru21
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February 14, 2023 1:00 pm

I think the key to winning tonight will be Murray and Barnes. Or at least F production if not those 2. They have to br better than Torrey Craig and Josh Okogie regardless. Especially without Cam Payne available.

Also, Booker will be there with Chris Paul which wasn’t the case before.

I’ll be interested to see how Fox attacks his defender(s). That might be key for Barnes and Murray having big games.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 14, 2023 3:15 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I would like to see Davion have some time against CP3, I think that could be an important difference maker.

I also agree – Keegan and HB should have an opportunity to shine brightly against these Suns. It would be nice to see TD in and see if he can have a stretch of games where he can perform consistently.

Kingsguru21
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February 14, 2023 3:49 pm

I’m interested to see who starts on Book and CP3. Book scored 13 in the 1st qtr and 15 in the 3rd qtr the last go around, and that still wasn’t enough to knock the Kings out. (Monk and Huerter were pretty spectacular that night.)

Really, if it hadn’t been for Damion Lee hitting tough contested 3s late, the Kings win that game.

The Suns beat the Kings that night. But that was with a different team. And that was with Booker rolling. He might again. But I think the Kings will be okay.

Fox will be better tonight I suspect. He’s on one himself RN and I think he, Barnes and Sabonis have big games tonight. Ive said it a bunch already, but the Suns are going to miss Mikal Bridges alot. He played 40 minutes that night, as did Book, and the Suns needed all of it. It’s hard to get those type of performances every night.

I think the Kings find a way honestly. But, that’s why they play the games!

murraytant
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February 14, 2023 5:11 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Booker had a spectacular game- hard to reproduce that.
Bridges always gives Fox fits and he won’t be there. CP3 on Fox ?? good for us.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 14, 2023 2:47 pm

If the King can keep Booker from scoring 30+ I think they win. FWIW, Fox and Barnes had terrible outings last time they faced off in November. Barnes was just 1-4 for 6 points and Fox was just 4-12 with 11 points. If Fox brings his All-Star level game the Kings have a very good shot at winning.

Jman1949
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February 14, 2023 3:31 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I think it was KG21 who pointed out that Mikal Bridges was the defender who shut Fox down that night. We’ll see whether the Suns have another defender (maybe Okogie?) who can do anywhere near as effective a job.

satdawg
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February 14, 2023 4:00 pm

Time to play the Super Team Suns after their big splash. Boy are they gonna be a tough team to stop when KD comes back.

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