The Sacramento Kings will try to halt a four-game losing streak Monday night when they visit US Airways Center to face the Phoenix Suns.
This is a battle of the cellar-dwellers in the Pacific Division and Sacramento has been bad lately.
After a three-game winning streak gave cause for optimism, the Kings have dropped four in a row, including a 122-97 drubbing Sunday night at home against the Denver Nuggets.
During this slide, the Kings are allowing 111.0 ppg. The offense hasn't been too spectacular either, with an average of 95.2 ppg. Basically, nothing is working right now for Sacramento.
"Get on a plane, get ready for our next ball game, that's all you can do," Kings coach Keith Smart said after Sunday's loss. "This game is over. It's behind us. It's unfortunate we played this way in front of our fans. You have to get ready for the next ball game."
Isiah Thomas is back in the rotation and contributing. He led the Kings with 20 points against the Nuggets and DeMarcus Cousins had 19 and 11 boards. Jason Thompson also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyreke Evans left the game in the first half with a sore left knee. His availability for Monday is unknown.
The Suns are on a bit of a roll. After a horrendous seven-game slide, the Suns have won their last two, both home games and both against playoff-caliber opponents.
Phoenix bettered the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, then came back with a 99-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday. For a team that has dug themselves substantial holes all season, the Suns jumped out to a 34-point first quarter and never looked back.
"It's just so much easier when you are playing downhill rather than uphill," said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. "I thought it was our best first quarter by far. I thought we did a great job of moving the basketball, and I was really happy because at half we had 22 baskets and they assisted on 16 of those. That tells me that we are moving the basketball and doing the right thing."
Jared Dudley set the pace for the Suns with 22 points. Goran Dragic had 17 and Marcin Gortat posted a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Phoenix shot 46.2 percent from the 3-point line against the Jazz.
Defense has not been the calling card for the Suns. They rank 27th in opponents' scoring and dead last in the NBA in opponents' field-goal percentage. But, in these two wins, the Suns have averaged 82.0 ppg against and held both Memphis and Utah under the 47 percent shooting the Suns normally allow.
The Kings, who are 1-9 on the road this season, have lost the last three to the Suns and are 2-12 in their last 14 in Phoenix.