[Game] Kings vs. Suns, 12/27/20 6PM PST, 9PM EST

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The Game Thread Dude
Less than 24 hours later and it's time to do it all again. Full disclosure: I'm sleepy so this is gonna be a short post.

Awards Time!

Tony Delk Memorial Award - It is a testament to the Kings defense that it is almost impossible for me to find a Suns player who had an out-of-nowhere outburst like the great man after whom this prestigious award is named. If I had to choose, I suppose it would have to be Jae Crowder as he was the only non-Booker/Paul Suns player to reach double digit scoring.

Jason Hart-Andres Nocioni Memorial Trust - Cory Joseph. I knew Denver would be too good to be true. Sure enough, the next game, Cory Joseph returned to true form, missing a bevy of wide open shots in the first half and generally getting in the way of exiciting, younger guys who we want to see play.

Luke Walton Vacuum Cleaner Award - Luke Walton. The award is named after him (in his past life as a Lakers benchwarmer) and his rotations, while they somehow worked tonight almost cost the Kings the game again.

Rafer Alston And-1 - Chris Paul. Buzzer beating threes are cool. Buzzer beating threes are not cool when they come after the buzzer and three times in a game.

WTF Moment of the Game - Luke goes with a Hassan/Bjeli/GRIII/CoJo/Haliburton lineup in the third quarter. Against all odds, it works.

Starting fives:
Editor's note: I'm really gonna have to figure out how to handle these back-to-back series games that are happening this season. Either way, these match-up write ups are the same as last nights because one night doesn't really change much.

Ayton vs. Holmes: Ayton has become a solid defender compared to when he first came into the league. On offense, with two ball dominators like CP3 and Booker around, he has yet to become “David Robinson but with a jumper” as predicted by some draft “experts”. Meanwhile Holmes can‘t seem to stop fouling enough to show us exactly how he fits into the Kings plans this year. Advantage: Ayton, but I wouldn’t expect us to see much of this matchup tonight.

Crowder vs. Bagley: Crowder is a super solid glue guy and it’s clear that the Grizzlies still miss him. Meanwhile, MBIII remains the Kings’ major wildcard. If Marvin gives the general defensive effort/hustle he gave against the Nuggets every night in addition to his inside scoring, he is an entire useful starting big. If he continues to build on it, thanking might not be a viable option this season. That said, defending Crowder, while still a challenge, is going to require a different skill set than trying to guard Jokic in the post. Advantage: Bagley

Bridges vs. Barnes: This may be the most interesting matchup of the night in that both guys are surprisingly similar in what they offer to their teams as 4th options who play solid defense and generally aren’t gonna complain about how things are going. If Barnes had to play Bridges one on one, Barnes has the clear size advantange so I guess he’d win but who knows. Advantage: Barnes, but by a slim margin.

Booker vs. Buddy: Whatever the over/under is on points scored between the two, I’d take the over. Buddy has played better defense this year but asking him to defend a playmaker of Booker’s caliber full time is probably a bit too much while on the other end, Booker’s probably not going to affect Buddy’s ability to hit threes on the move that much. Advantage: Book. I like Buddy but he’s not Booker.

Paul vs. Fox: This should be fun. When CP3 was young, he was the best defensive point guard in the league. Now that he’s old though, he might have significant issues keeping Fox in front of him on that end of the floor. On the other end, guarding CP3 for 30 minutes (if CP3 plays that much) is going to be a good test to see how De’Aaron has grown as a defender within Rex’s system and individually. Advantage: Wash. I think CP3 has gotten a little worse while De’Aaron has gotten better. Don’t hate.

Suns Bench vs. Kings Bench: This is one matchup that I think goes the Kings‘ way. Hassan is a useful third big who will force the Suns out to the perimeter (Which is probably where they’re at their best anyways). Bjeli is going to heat up eventually. CoJo isn’t useless and will probably play tight minutes in a close game as our best guards body defender. AND Tyrese is a stud who is probably immediately better than anyone the Suns have on their bench (sorry Cam Johnson). Cam Payne has looked nice after being out of the league for a bit but I’m not so sure he’s very good. Despite getting picked 10th by the Suns, Jalen Smith doesn’t look better than the guy they drafted him over.

Final Prediction: Suns 119, Kings 107
Catching a team by surprise to start the season is one thing but I have a feeling the Suns are going to be more prepared off the bat on this one than they were last night. I['ll be more than happy to be wrong though.
Crowder was a bit of a surprise last night. I tend to agree with your prediction although maybe we'll keep it under double digits. Hope I'm wrong.
This back to back against the same team will be interesting this season. I figure it will result in a lot of splitting.

This is a tough one to predict. We probably won’t out rebound them by 15 again. Both teams will probably shoot better from 3. Bagley could end up being a difference maker in this one. He is due for a break out performance and will have fresh legs since he only played 21 minutes last night.


Hall of Famer
Seems deep bench guys may get some run with the back to back and fast pace by both teams. Does CP3 have enough in his tank to be effective at his age? Does Kyle Guy, Justin James, or Woodard get a short stint?

I think the Kings are in good shape In the middle with the 3 headed monster taking turns wearing down Ayton who was underwhelming last game.
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