Posted by: Kingsguru21 | December 5, 2009

Game 18: Kings at Phoenix Suns

Hmmm, an interesting one tonight. Phoenix and Sacramento. Listen to the haunting sounds of Glen Campbell as you peruse (hopefully) my short preview.

In case you haven’t noticed, the “haunting” is a theme for me. Phoenix is not a place the Kings have won at much recently. Last season alone the Kings lost by 48 points, and then by 28 points again later in the season. (I was not surprised by either result honestly.) In the 2007-08 season, the Kings also lost by 16 & 28 points. In the 2006-07 season, the Kings lost by 25 & 18 points respectively. I won’t keep going back further, but Phoenix has beat the Kings (at Phoenix) of an average of TWENTY-SEVEN points the last 3 seasons. The Kings have to play Phoenix twice every year at Phoenix because they are in the same division. You can’t complain about losses to the Suns when you get the shit kicked out of you every time you step into the desert.

So that’s step 1. Keep the margin within single digits, and you might be able to beat the Suns tonight. But, you can’t beat them if you’re down by 25 points all game.

Key Matchup: Amare Stoudemire vs Jason Thompson

Yes, JT won’t stop Amare offensively. But, what JT has to do offensively is take it at Stoudemire on the offensive end as well. Channing Frye and Stoudemire don’t block many shots, and that’s a bonus for JT. If Spencer can’t take Frye on the interior, I will wonder what’s wrong with Spence. He absolutely needs to make Frye’s lack of bulk pay on the interior.

On the perimeter I expect to see Donte Greene start again because he will be able to at least run around with Jason Richardson on the court. I would love to see Donte post up J-Rich at times because he has the height advantage (at least) and is skilled enough to take Richardson in the post. Tyreke Evans, as good as he is, will match up with Steve Nash, and that will get the biggest billing of the night. Simply put, this matchup could go in any direction.

Paul Westphal will talk about returning to Phoenix, but really, who cares? PW was fired in 1996. That’s a lifetime ago in the NBA. Mario Elie was still playing for the Rockets then!

(Phoenix is also un-defeated at home. This is not soothing either. Watch the PW video and look stunned thinking about Ahmad Rashad (aka Bobby Moore)

Listen to Andres Nocioni, Spencer Hawes and Tyreke Evans talk about the game tonight:

(As Tyreke Evans mentions, he’ll show up on NBATV on Wednesday.)

Either way, you’re looking at a young team take on an experienced veteran squad that is currently 14-5. The Suns are 5th in Pace, 1st in Offensive Rating, and 24th in Defensive Rating. The Kings are 8th in pace, 7th in 0-Rating and 22nd in D-Rating. Basically, the Suns are just a better version of the Kings right now with Amare Stoudemire instead of JT, and Steve Nash instead of Tyreke Evans.

As I say, I like this match up, and I particularly like the Kings have the talent to exploit the Suns inside with Evans, Greene and Hawes. While I think JT’s post moves have improved, I still think his best bet to attack the Suns defensively is with his mid-range J.

I think this game will be decided by the benches of both teams, and by the play of the young starters. If the Kings can hang around early, and the bench plays well early, I can see a tight game down the stretch of the 4th qtr. If the Baby Royals can’t stick around early, this will be yet another blowout. Since the Kings haven’t won in Phoenix since the Rick Adelman era, I’m not going to complain if the Kings lose tonight. But, being competitive against the Suns is far more difficult than being competitive against the Pacers.

It’s also the 1st game of a 4 in 5 for Tyreke Evans, and I’m looking forward to see how he responds to that challenge.

So, that’s it. If you want a different perspective, Bright Side of the Sun, Valley of the Suns and Suns Stuff’t should do you just fine.

Game is at 6pm PST, TV is CSNCA and Radio is 1140. Enjoy!

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