Deandre Ayton and Buddy Hield. (AP)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
The third regular-season match-up between Buddy Hield’s Sacramento Kings and Deandre Ayton’s Phoenix Suns went to the Kings’ advantage as the teams continue to trend in opposite directions.
Hield finished with 18 points, six rebounds and made three three-pointers in the Kings 117-104 win over the Suns last night at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Ayton finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and shot 8-10 from the field.
With the win, the Kings (30-26) now lead the season series between the two teams 2-1, and finished 5-1 on the current homestand.
They remain in the midst of a tight playoff race in the Western Conference, currently 0.5 games behind the LA Clippers for the final playoff spot.
The Suns (11-47) have the third worst record in the NBA and the worst record in the Western Conference.
Phoenix has now lost 14 consecutive games and their last win was nearly a month ago, a 102-93 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Suns’ losing streak is one shy of its franchise record of 15 set last season.
On December 4, the much anticipated first NBA regular season game featuring two Bahamian born players quickly turned into a lopsided win for Hield and the Kings.
Hield scored 20 points in just 18 minutes, while Deandre Ayton had 10 points and nine rebounds in the Kings’ 122-105 win over the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. In game two on January 8, the Suns exacted revenge with a 115-111 win, also at Talking Stick.
Ayton finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Hield had 16 points, four rebounds and made 3-5 three pointers.
The final regular season matchup between the two teams takes place March 23 at the Golden 1 Center.
Both teams will be back in action on the road Wednesday night. The Suns will travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers while the Kings will take on the Denver Nuggets.
Hield is averaging a team leading 20.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Hield is also shooting efficiently at 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from three.
Ayton has posted 30 doubles doubles on the season. He leads all rookies with 10.6 rebounds per game and shooting 58 percent from the field. He also ranks second in scoring at 16.5 points per game. His field goal percentage is the third-highest in NBA history by a rookie qualified for the league leaderboard and the highest by a rookie who is averaging a double-double.
Both Ayton and Hield will participate at the league’s All-Star Weekend festivities, February 15-17 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ayton was selected as a member of the World Team for the 2019 Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars, hosted Friday, February 15, while Hield was named as a participant in the 3-Poin Contest, hosted on State Farm All-Star on Saturday night. Hield also previously participated in the Risings Stars Challenge in both 2017 and 2018.