|Bagley's star rising as Kings face Suns|
The Sacramento Kings are on the verge of missing the NBA playoffs for the 13th straight season.
But the franchise is seeing the initial signs that rookie forward Marvin Bagley III might be able to help change its losing culture.
Bagley will be looking to continue a stellar run and aims to record his fourth straight 20-point outing when the Kings host the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.
The No. 2 overall pick from Duke is averaging 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds during the stretch. He has knocked down 29 of 45 field-goal attempts, including 5 of 9 from behind the arc.
Bagley outplayed probable NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic -- the No. 3 overall pick the Kings passed on to select Bagley -- when the two were on the same floor for the first time in Sacramento's 116-100 victory on Thursday.
Bagley contributed 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in 28 minutes for his 14th double-double of the season, while Doncic had 13 points and 10 rebounds and suffered through a 4-of-19 shooting performance.
The recent run is the type of showing Bagley said he expects to provide on a regular basis.
"I feel I've had it. It was just a matter of time before I was able to show it and go out and just play," Bagley told reporters after the win. "Just go out without thinking and just play basketball.
"I'm able to play free and not worried about mistakes and not worried about what happens. Just having fun."
Bagley is averaging 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds but has only played in 52 of the team's 71 games.
He suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in December that led to an 11-game absence. Bagley sprained the same knee in late February and sat out the team's first five games of March.
The victory over Dallas was just the fifth in the past 15 games for the Kings.
Phoenix has lost five of its last seven games as it enters a two-game road swing to Sacramento and Utah.
The Suns struggled during a two-game home set against the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons as they lost by an average of 17.5 points.
Star shooting guard Devin Booker scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half of Thursday's 118-98 loss to the Pistons. But he was visibly frustrated in the second half as the Suns were outscored 60-38 in the second half.
"He cares about the team, he cares about winning," Phoenix coach Igor Kokoskov told reporters afterward. "He's trying to win and you know, contain your composure, be positive."
Center Deandre Ayton, the player picked No. 1 ahead of Bagley, had 20 points and eight rebounds. Ayton is averaging 22.5 points on 21-of-29 shooting over the past two games after failing to reach double digits in two of the previous three games.
Suns forward Josh Jackson sprained his right ankle after landing awkwardly while attempt to block a shot in the third quarter and departed the game. His availability may not be known until Saturday.
Small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. is done for the season and will undergo surgery on his left thumb. He averaged 23.5 points over his past four games.
Guard Tyler Johnson (knee) will miss his fifth straight game, and Phoenix signed guard Jimmer Fredette on Friday to help with backcourt depth.
Meanwhile, Sacramento shooting guard Buddy Hield has made 238 3-pointers, two shy of the franchise mark set by Peja Stojakovic (2003-04). Stojakovic is the club's assistant general manager.
The Kings are 2-1 against the Suns this season.
--Field Level Media