Finished TV: FSN | NBCSCA | NBATV Golden 1 Center Sacramento
The Sacramento Kings are taking advantage of their longest homestand of the season to surge back toward the top eight in the Western Conference. They will attempt to finish the six-game stay at Golden 1 Center with another victory when they host the sliding Phoenix Suns, losers of 13 straight, in a Sunday matinee.
Sacramento won the first three games of the stay before running into James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and falling 127-101, but it rallied late Friday night to top the Miami Heat 102-96 and move within a half-game of the eighth-place Los Angeles Clippers entering Saturday. "I don't think maybe anybody thought we were going to be in this position at this point of the year," coach Dave Joerger told reporters. "But things have happened in the Western Conference and we've got an opportunity, so now the little stuff matters. The silly quick shot, the silly turnover, not getting back on my guy fast enough. It really matters. Everything is amplified this time of year." While the Kings are eyeing an end to their 13-year playoff drought, the Suns are nowhere near respectability. They started fast by taking an early 17-point lead against the mighty Golden State Warriors on Friday before fading late and dropping a 117-107 decision.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FS Arizona (Phoenix), NBCS California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE SUNS (11-46): Phoenix still led the defending champs by six points with just over eight minutes remaining despite playing without leading scorer Devin Booker, who sat with a hamstring injury. Kelly Oubre Jr. carried the load with 25 points and a career-high 12 rebounds while rookie center Deandre Ayton notched his 30th double-double with 23 and 12, and the big man has not lost confidence amid the constant losing. "We can compete," Ayton told reporters. "We're maturing even though we're young. We can challenge any team. Don't mind our record, there's a lot of guys with a lot of great potential and we could actually make a dynasty team."
ABOUT THE KINGS (29-26): Buddy Hield scored 23 points against Miami and showed his leadership with a pep talk that helped ignite the team's fourth-quarter rally. "I was like, 'We've been here before, we've done it before,'" Hield told reporters of his message to the team. "It comes down to confidence, wanting to be in that position and wanting to succeed and excel. As a young team, they don't expect us to excel but for us we have to put pressure on ourselves to do good in those situations so coach can trust us." Hield is averaging 23.8 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor in four games this month.
1. Oubre Jr. tied a career-high with 26 points to lead the Suns to a 115-111 win over the Kings at home last month.
2. Sacramento PF Marvin Bagley III is 5-for-18 from the floor over the last two games and 1-for-18 from 3-point range over a 10-game stretch.
3. The Kings are 9-0 when holding opponents under 100 points.
PREDICTION: Kings 119, Suns 107 Bet Now
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