After falling to the Washington Wizards by double dights on Wednesday, the Sacramento Kings have now lost eight straight, and will try to snap their long, deflating losing streak against perhaps the best team in basketball at the moment in the Suns. On top of that, they’ll have to do it in Phoenix, where the Suns have been lights out. Can the Kings keep things competitive, or will this be another steamrolling by the Suns? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns
Thursday, April 14, 2021 – 10:00 PM ET at Talking Stick Resort Arena
It’s fair to wonder whether Luke Walton, the man who once led the Warriors to a near-immaculate start in place of Steve Kerr years ago, will survive this. The Kings rank dead last in defensive efficiency this season by almost two whole points, and they have lost eight games in a row. To make matters worse, only one of those games was even close. That was a one-point loss to a Milwaukee team devastated by injury, and it was the only time Sacramento has covered the spread in the last eight games.
All told, the Kings have gone just 23-32 against the spread this season, which is a testament to the way they’ve been failing to compete in close games. On the road this season, things have been bad as well to the tune of a 13-13 record ATS. The worst situation to bet the Kings in, though? That’s got to be after a loss, where they’re an unsightly 9-23 ATS. Sacramento has had a knack for compounding its bad play this year.
Over the last eight games, there are some bright spots. Believe it or not, the Kings are not the worst team in the NBA according to the efficiency ratings. The Kings are 25th in defense, and third-to-last in net rating. The problem? They suddenly can’t score. All season long, some great shooting and fastbreak offense has been masking the problems of the defense, and the Kings even went on a pretty fun winning streak behind that scoring prowess. Of late, however, the Kings have ranked second-to-last in offensive efficiency over the last eight games.
Against the league’s best defense at the moment, the Kings are going to have to find their scoring touch again. It’s the only hope they have of competing down the stretch.
Everything we just said about the Kings, we can say the opposite about the Suns. Over the last eight games, Phoenix sits atop the NBA in offensive efficiency, scoring 120.8 points per 100 possessions (wow!). Defensively, things have slipped a bit —but not by much. The Suns rank ninth in defensive efficiency, and aren’t too far off their season-long pace.
It’s been domination on both sides of the ball, and that’s led to an impressive 13 wins in 15 games. The Suns have gone 9-6 against the spread over the run, and now sit at 39-15 ATS, which is the best mark in the NBA. As the home favorite, as they are on Thursday, they’ve been almost unstoppable, going 18-8 against the spread.
There’s really not a whole lot more to say here about the Suns, they have done pretty much everything well. If there’s one thing to not like, it’s probably their rebounding rate, which ranks a pedestrian 14th this season. Against the Kings, who are near the bottom of the league in that metric, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
With that, I’m inclined to lay the points here for my NBA picks even if the Suns aren’t exactly going pedal to the metal trying to get a playoff spot. The Kings don’t necessarily care either, if anything they probably want to keep tanking to help their draft chances, even if tanking isn’t what it once was. My particular worry with the Kings is their offense — with all their struggles you could at least they had the ability to get buckets every trip down the floor. Now, that’s not the case, and they have to face an elite defense.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.