News » Suns-Kings Preview 2009-03-29

Suns-Kings Preview 2009-03-29

Suns-Kings Preview 2009-03-29
Consecutive road losses have dealt a serious blow to the Phoenix Suns' chances of reaching the postseason. A date with the lowly Sacramento Kings might help them get back on track.

On Sunday night, the Suns look to avoid being swept on their three-game road trip while trying for a seventh consecutive victory over the Kings.

Two nights after being routed 129-109 at Portland, Phoenix (40-33) fell 104-99 in overtime at Utah on Saturday. The latest setback dropped the Suns 3 1/2 games behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot with nine games remaining.

"Anything is possible," Suns center Shaquille O'Neal said of the team's chances of reaching the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

After this contest, Phoenix returns home for two games before playing four of its final six on the road, where it is 16-20.

The Suns, who have lost seven of their last eight away from home, still might not have too much trouble as they seek a fourth consecutive victory at Arco Arena.

The Kings (15-56) lost 113-95 at home to Memphis on Friday for their second straight defeat and seventh in their last eight games. Sacramento owns the NBA's worst record.

"They are rebuilding the team," Memphis guard Mike Conley said of the Kings. "It's been a weird season with a lot of hardships."

Sacramento has lost 11 of the last 12 games in the series with Phoenix, though it did push the Suns to overtime before falling 97-95 at home on Nov. 14.

O'Neal had 29 points with 13 rebounds in that contest for the Suns, who cruised 129-81 at home on Feb. 2 in the teams' most recent meeting.

O'Neal scored 16 with 10 rebounds and Steve Nash had 20 points Saturday for the Suns, who had won a season-high six in a row prior to the swing.

Phoenix shot 37.1 percent - its second-lowest total this season - but forced 23 turnovers and rallied from a 21-point third quarter deficit against the Jazz.

"You've got to fight and find a way to stick around and we did that," Nash said. "But we just didn't make the plays down the stretch when we really needed them."

The Suns continue to struggle defensively by allowing an average of 106.9 points, and 117.8 in their last 11 road contests.

Grant Hill, who scored 19 points Saturday for the Suns, is averaging 18.5 in his last four games.

Kevin Martin had 31 points in the Kings' loss to Memphis. Another rough start doomed Sacramento, which trailed by 10 after one quarter and 22 at halftime.

"We were ready, but we kept slacking in the first half," forward Francisco Garcia said.

The lone bright spot on a dismal season, Martin is averaging a career-high 24.3 points, but just 13.5 in 14 games against Phoenix.

Sacramento, which appears headed for its worst season in franchise history, has lost four in a row at home where it is 10-25.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 29, 2009


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