The Phoenix Suns are back for another Friday night home game against the Sacramento Kings (3-4). The Kings have the same record as the Suns, but it's worth noting that they've also had the easiest schedule of any NBA team, according ESPN's Strength of Schedule statistic while the Suns have had the second most difficult. The Kings' three wins have come over Cleveland, Toronto and Minnesota. The Suns have beaten Utah, Memphis and Atlanta.
The Kings, coached by former Suns great Paul Westphal, are still adjusting to their young lineup, led by second-year guard Tyreke Evans. There was a time when Evans was playing point for the Kings, but it seems that they've given up on that experiment this season. Beno Udrih has started every game this season for Sacramento and actually leads the team in minutes per game (36.1). Udrih's play doesn't seem to have impacted Tyreke, however, as the young stud is just a tad shy of averaging 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game.
While Westphal seems to be happy with his backcourt rotation of Udrih and Evans, supplemented by 6-3 guard Luther Head (15.8 pmg); the frontcourt is a bit more chaotic.
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 21.4 minutes per game (11 points, six rebounds), while Jason Thompson has seen his minutes cut back to just 15 per game, half of what he was playing last season. Carl Landry has been starting alongside Samuel Dalembert, but Landry only played 20 minutes in the team's most recent game, a loss to Minnesota, while Dalembert played 36 minutes in that game.
For the Suns, the frontcourt matchups will be difficult regardless of who plays for the Kings. With Robin Lopez not back to 100 percent physical condition, either Cousins or Dalembert will be a challenge. At the power forward position, Phoenix will be overmatched again, which is always going to be the case with Hedo Turkoglu and the undersized Hakim Warrick.
Once again, the game plan will call for Channing Frye to stretch the floor offensively and try to be active and aggressive on the glass. Warrick should be able to use his length to finish over Landry and Thompson isn't known as a good defensive player. Make up for what you lack defensively on the other end of the floor -- Phoenix Suns ball.
The Suns' real advantage, however, will come at the small forward position. The Kings' small forwards, Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia, have given up big nights to opposing threes, according to Tom Ziller at Sactown Royalty. Coming off several days rest, this should be a game for Grant Hill to put up some points. The Suns will also once again have an advantage off the bench. The Suns are getting 40 points per game from their reserves compared to 32 per game for the Kings.
In the midst of a tough November schedule, this is a game the Suns should win. The Kings are talented, but haven't yet figured out how to play basketball as a team. The Suns should be able to put up big numbers and win comfortably if they can stay close on the glass and keep the turnovers to a reasonable number.
For another look at this game, visit Bright Side of the Sun.