SACRAMENTO, CA - The playoff-hopeful Phoenix Suns will open up a key three- game road trip against Pacific Division rival Sacramento on Tuesday.
The Suns, who are 10-15 as the visitor on the year, will also meet Utah and Denver on its trek as they try to climb from the 10th spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
Phoenix is currently two games behind Houston for the final playoff spot and one game back of ninth-place Jazz after bouncing back from consecutive losses with a 92-75 win over New Orleans on Sunday.
Jared Dudley recorded a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds in that one. Channing Frye added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Shannon Brown contributed 16 points and Steve Nash dished out 14 assists for the Suns, who were playing their first game since veteran forward Grant Hill had possible season-ending surgery on his right knee.
Phoenix center Marcin Gortat had 13 points to snap his career-tying streak of four straight games with 20-plus points.
"I thought we got off to a good start and we did a good job. It was a game that we really needed to win," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We played with a sense of purpose and a lot of energy."
The 39-year-old Hill, who was averaging 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists, believe he can make it back before the end of the regular season but that's a long shot.
"At the end of the day someone is going to have to step in and pick up where he left off," Gentry said on playing without Hill.
The Kings continued to play spoiler on Monday handing Minnesota a 116-108 setback in California's capital. Tyreke Evans came close to a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lift Sacramento in that one.
DeMarcus Cousins added 20 points and nine rebounds, Isaiah Thomas posted 17 points and Terrence Williams added 12 points and 12 boards for the Kings, who have won two of three overall.
"We were able to go out there and play well from the beginning," said Kings guard Jimmer Fredette. "They're fighting for [a playoff spot] and we knew they were going to play as hard as they possibly can so we had to break their will a couple of times."
Phoenix has already topped Sacramento twice this season, including a 98-84 win in Sac-Town on Feb. 11.
The Sports Network