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Preview: Suns look to clinch top-7 seed with win over Kings

© Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns (47-33, 7th in Western Conference) travel to play the Sacramento Kings (45-35, 8th in Western Conference) in their penultimate game of the season tonight.

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With a win, the Suns would clinch a top-seven seed in the Western Conference. They can get as high as the No. 6 seed if they finish with a better record in the last two games than the New Orleans Pelicans (48-32), who they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over.

The Suns can currently only fall to the No. 8 seed no matter if they lose this game and their final one Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, so they will be playing in the first round of the play-in or be out of the play-in completely no matter what.

The Kings are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors with the same record entering tonight, all two games back of the Suns, so it will be a dogfight for the No. 8-10 seeds. 

“It goes without saying this is a must win for both teams,” ABC10 Sacramento reporter Kevin John said. “A loss by either team can be the difference of being a play-in team or a playoff team.”

Phoenix is completely healthy outside of Damion Lee (right meniscus surgery), who has missed the entire season. Sacramento will remain without two key players due to injury tonight in Malik Monk (right knee sprain) and Kevin Huerter (right shoulder surgery).

The Kings have greatly missed these two players, as they have dropped four of their last five games. Tonight will be the second night of a back-to-back for Sacramento after it fell 135-123 last night to the Pelicans.

The Suns, meanwhile, have also been struggling, but did snap a two-game losing streak by defeating a severely depleted Clippers team 124-108 on Wednesday. Devin Booker notched 37 points in this game, as the win came one game after Phoenix trailed this same Clippers team 35-4 in an eventual 13-point loss the night before.

Phoenix has won two straight over Sacramento, the first of which was a memorable 22-point fourth quarter comeback in a 119-117 win on Jan. 16. The last time these two teams met was on Feb. 13 in Phoenix, a 130-125 Suns victory highlighted by 44 bench points by the Suns.

“The Kings have been great defensively as of late, but can they contain the three-headed monster of Beal, Durant, and Booker?” John said. “In all 4 games these teams play against each other this season, every game has been decided by single digits except for one. Expect a playoff like atmosphere when these teams meet on Friday. Grab your popcorn!”

Local Game Information

Start Time: 7:30 p.m. MST

Location: Golden 1 Center

TV Channel: AZ Family/3TV

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, La Mejor 106.5 FM

Stream: Suns Live (click for more info)

Betting Odds

Line: PHX -2.5

O/U: 224.5

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns: Damion Lee (right meniscus surgery) OUT

Sacramento Kings: Malik Monk (right knee sprain) OUT | Kevin Huerter (right shoulder surgery) OUT

Starters (Projected)

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Keon Ellis, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis

Five Keys to Game for Suns

  1. Limiting turnovers
  2. Rebounding
  3. Ball movement
  4. Transition buckets
  5. Containing De’Aaron Fox


Suns 123 – Kings 118

Tonight should be a really exciting contest. The Suns have found something against the Kings the last two times they played, especially with their small-ball lineup. However, Phoenix is probably the most inconsistent team in the league so there is no telling what they could do, especially with how bad they have performed against teams missing good players. The Suns need this win very badly, so we will see which version of the team shows up.

Last Meeting (Feb. 13, 2024)

Suns Outlast Kings 130-125 in Nail-Biting Battle

Team Matchup Notes

Everything to know about the Suns and Kings before their fifth and final meeting this season (via Suns):

Each team’s stats (via Suns):

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau


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