The Phoenix Suns will look to add to their franchise-record win total on Sunday when they go for No. 65 in the regular-season finale at home against the Sacramento Kings.
The Suns (64-17), who have clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, will be playing for the last time before hosting the eighth seed following the play-in tournament.
Meanwhile, the Kings (29-52) will be wrapping up their season on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. They dropped a 117-98 decision to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
Phoenix enters the finale having already won two more games than any previous team in franchise history. The 1992-93 and 2004-05 Suns shared the old mark with 62-20 seasons.
With the exception of backup guard Cameron Payne (knee), the Suns enter the finale in great health, which Chris Paul said is crucial going forward.
“We have one of those teams everybody plays a part,” Paul said. “We don’t have to ask anybody to drop 40 or 50 every night or we don’t have to take hero shots to win. We just execute. If the guy is open, make the play, make the pass. We live with it.”
The Suns’ first-round playoff opponent will be either the Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans or San Antonio Spurs. That won’t be decided until next Friday.
The Suns went 4-0 against the Spurs, 3-0 versus the Timberwolves, 3-1 against the Pelicans and 2-2 versus the Clippers.
The Suns need a win Sunday to claim the season series over the Kings, who recorded one of the season’s shockers when they posted a 110-107 victory at Phoenix on Oct. 27.
Buddy Hield sank seven 3-pointers that night, but he’s no longer with the club. He was part of a trade-deadline deal with the Indiana Pacers in which the Kings brought in Domantas Sabonis and two others for Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Tristan Thompson.
Sacramento is closing out the season without Sabonis (bruised left knee) and co-star De’Aaron Fox (sore right hand). They lost a third straight game on Saturday in Los Angeles despite getting 22 points and seven assists from Davion Mitchell.
A sub-30-win season would be nothing new to the Kings’ organization. They finished 27-55 as recently as 2017-18, and have seven other seasons during a 16-year playoff drought with fewer than 30 wins.
Sunday’s contest could be the last for interim coach Alvin Gentry, who was hired 17 games into the season after the Kings opened 6-11 and dismissed Luke Walton. The team has gone 23-41 under Gentry, a .359 winning percentage that is only slightly better than Walton’s .353.
Gentry, who was an assistant or head coach for the Suns from 2004-13, indicated following a loss to the Pelicans in the Kings’ home finale on Tuesday that he wants to be a part of the franchise’s turnaround.
“Our goal has to be to find a way to put a winning product on the floor, because these fans deserve it more than anything,” he insisted. “For the support they give this team and how they back this team, we have to find a way to make sure we reward them guys.”
–Field Level Media