The Sacramento Kings head to the desert with an eight-game losing streak in hand to face the league’s second-best side, the Phoenix Suns. This is the third meeting of the season between these two sides but the first since December 28. Each team grabbed a game in an early-season back-to-back in Sacramento.
The Kings took the first game of the back-to-back behind 24 points from De’Aaron Fox and double-doubles from Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes.
Mikal Bridges led a balanced effort on the second night for Phoenix as one of three players with 20+ points. DeAndre Ayton added 15 rebounds, and Chris Paul contributed with 12 assists.
Let’s dive into the season’s rubber match to find the best bet of the night.
It just hasn’t been easy for the Kings this year or any of the last 15 years. The team has not been to the playoffs since 2006, and that trend will likely continue despite the two added play-in spots.
With losses in eight straight, the team sits five games back of the tenth position. It looked as if Sacramento had turned a corner in late March with wins in five straight and seven out of eight. They rose to just three games under .500, but now Luke Walton’s job appears to be on the thinnest block of ice in the league.
Fox continues to be the shining light in a dark season. The fourth-year guard has 30+ points in four of the last five games. He is averaging a monster 28.9 points per game since the All-Star Break with two 40-point performances to his name.
The Suns have been shining bright in Phoenix this year. Their 39 wins (with 18 games left) is already the most since collecting the same number of wins in 82 games in 2014-15. Their .722 win percentage is on track to be the franchise’s highest since the Nash, Stoudemire, D’Antoni days of 2006-07.
They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010, but that will change this year. The team enters the night just a game-and-a-half back of Utah for the top seed in the West. Devin Booker is an All-Star, and Paul, Ayton, and their bench mob have been an outstanding supporting cast.
The biggest remaining question will be if Phoenix can keep up their torrid pace (13 wins in their last 15 games) down the stretch. The rest of their regular season schedule is quite difficult, with 15 of their 18 games against teams, one game under .500 or better.
What to Wager
The Suns are rightly inserted as ten-point favorites, while the total is set at 230. This is a game that Phoenix will simply want to put away early if they want to continue vying for the top seed.
230 may seem like an awfully high number considering the Suns are fifth-best in the NBA in points allowed per game. The flip side is that only the Wizards allow more points per game than Sacramento.
The Kings will have to win a game eventually, but I don’t see it happening here. In the second game of a back-to-back, expect tired legs and a motivated Phoenix to finish the job early.
The Pick: Suns -10 (-110)
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