Suns-Kings updates: Starting lineup includes Gordon, Okogie, Bates-Diop

Mark Faller
Arizona Republic
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The Phoenix Suns host the Sacramento Kings Friday night at 7 p.m., in Footprint Center, for a game that wasn't on the original NBA season schedule.

The Suns and Kings both were eliminated from the NBA In-Season Tournament in quarterfinal games this week — Phoenix falling to the Lakers and Sacramento to the Pelicans. As a result, the two now will meet in a non-tournament game that fills out their 82-game regular season schedules. It's the first meeting of the season for the teams.

The Kings (11-8) currently are sixth in the Western Conference standings, followed by the Suns (12-9) at seventh.

Sacramento is led by point guard De'Aaron Fox who is averaging 30.3 points a game, and forward Domantas Sabonis, who's averaging 19 points and nearly 12 rebounds a game.

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) controls the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of the In-Season Tournament quarterfinal at Arena in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2023.

The Suns' next game is Tuesday at home against Golden State.

Check back here throughout Friday night's game for live updates.

Starting lineups for Suns-Kings game

This is Frank Vogel's Suns lineup tonight: Guards Devin Booker and Eric Gordon, forwards Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop, and center Jusuf Nurkic.

The Kings' starting lineup: guards De'Aaron Fox and Kevin Huerter, forwards Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray, and center Domantas Sabonis.

Suns coach Frank Vogel's pre-game take

Here's what Suns coach Frank Vogel had to say heading into Friday's game:

On slowing down the Kings, perhaps starting with De’Aaron Fox: “It’s not just De’Aaron (Fox), obviously it starts with De’Aaron, he’s one of the fastest guys in the league and he’s a load to try and slow down with his shiftiness. You got to bring multiple defenders to him, so it starts with him, but their ability to run and shoot threes, their ability to have (Domantas) Sabonis rebound and push himself with four shooters running with him, all are great concerns in slowing them down in transition.”

On challenges Devin Booker might face without Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant: “Yeah, he’s going to see a lot of double-teams. With Devin, he’s done a phenomenal job shifting to a new position in playing point guard and everybody has to understand that there’s going to be some nights or some stretches where there’s a little bit higher turnovers than we are comfortable with and that just comes with this type of transition. He’s done a really good job throughout most of the year with ball security and I expect him to do the same tonight.”

On the difficulties of evaluating a starting lineup and team with multiple injuries: “It’s difficult to evaluate five-man lineups with your key guys, but it’s been easier to evaluate our depth because guys have gotten extended runs because of the injuries. If we had full health, we would not really know what we had from a roster standpoint and there’s still some guys we need to take a look at, but the guys that have been in there have had a pretty solid body of work of showing us what they can and can’t do, which gives us an idea on how we want to use them. But what positions that I want to put them in to be successful and I think all that stuff will be a silver-lining when we do finally get healthy.”

Kings coach Mike Brown said he thought the Suns always represent a challenge regardless who might be out.

“They are a good team. There is no easy game in this business, no matter who is in or who is out. Frank Vogel and his staff do a great job with these guys. We are going to end up playing these guys five times this year; three times here. It is an opportunity for us to go out and see how we measure up.”

Still no Big 3 for Suns against Kings

The Suns on Thursday ruled Durant and Grayson Allen out for Friday's game with the Kings, The Republic's Duane Rankin reported.

Durant is out with a left ankle sprain that occurred in Tuesday's game against the Lakers in which he played until the end. Allen, who also played Tuesday, is out with a groin strain. In addition, Beal, who has been out with a low-back strain, has been working out but is not expected to play Friday, though Vogel said he is closer to returning.

The Suns have yet to play a regular season game with all three of their big-name All-Stars — Durant, Beal and Booker — in the lineup at the same time. All had missed some time with injuries prior to Friday's game.

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