Kings vs. Suns: Western Conference play-in scenarios, tiebreakers and scouting reports

The Kings will face the Phoenix Suns on the second night of a back-to-back Friday night at Golden 1 Center after sealing their fate as a play-in team with a 135-123 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.

The Kings are locked into the play-in tournament with a range of possibilities from No. 7 to No. 10. The Suns still have a chance to overtake the Pelicans for the No. 6 seed to secure an automatic playoff berth.

The Suns (47-33) are seventh in the Western Conference, one game behind the Pelicans for No. 6. The Suns beat the Pelicans 2-1 in the season series, so they will win the tiebreaker if they finish with identical records.

The Kings (45-35) are now tied with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 spot in the West, trailing the Pelicans by 2 ½ games with two games remaining. None of them can catch the Pelicans for sixth in the West, but all four play-in spots are up for grabs.

The teams that finish seventh and eighth will have two chances to win one game to secure either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the playoffs. The teams that finish ninth and 10th will have to win two games in a row while facing a single-elimination scenario.

The Kings would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Lakers by virtue of their 4-0 record in the season series. The Kings split the season series with the Warriors 2-2, but they would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with a better division record.

In the event of a three-way tie with the Lakers and Warriors, the Kings would win the tiebreaker because they have the best winning percentage in games among the three teams. The Kings went 6-2 against the Lakers and Warriors. The Warriors went 5-3 against the Kings and Lakers. The Lakers went 1-7 against the Kings and Warriors.

“If we can finish fifth or sixth, that’s what I’m taking first,” Kings coach Mikee Brown said. “Obviously, now that we can’t, the next best opportunity for us is the seventh spot because it assures us of a home play-in game and an opportunity to take two swings at it, so there’s no question that’s what we all would prefer and what we’re trying to get to, but we’ve got to go get it done on the court. It’s as simple as that. We’ve got to go win games, and the next one is the one we’ve got to win because it’s in front of us.”

Scouting Sacramento

The Kings have lost four of their last five games and six of nine to seal their fate as a play-in team. They have shown significant improvement defensively while struggling offensively since losing Malik Monk (MCL sprain) and Kevin Huerter (torn labrum).

De’Aaron Fox is not listed on the injury report for Friday’s game after rolling his ankle Thursday. Fox played through some obvious discomfort but later said the injury did not feel like the ankle sprain that caused him to miss five games earlier this season.

“I’m OK,” Fox said following the loss to New Orleans. “It’s not like the one earlier, so I’ll be fine.”

Fox is averaging 26.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals. Domantas Sabonis averages 19.4 points, 13.7 rebounds and 8.2 assists while leading the league in rebounding, double-doubles (75) and triple-doubles (26).

Murray is averaging 15.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in his second season out of Iowa. Harrison Barnes averages 12.1 points. Trey Lyles averages 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds. Davion Mitchell has averaged 10.5 points while making 17 of 35 (.486) from 3-point range over the past 10 games.

Scouting Phoenix

The Suns are coming off a 124-108 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. They are seventh in the Western Conference, one game behind the Pelicans for the No. 6 seed with two games remaining.

Kevin Durant is averaging 27.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Devin Booker averages 27.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Bradley Beal averages 17.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Suns at Kings

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Golden 1 Center

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Odds: Suns -5.5

Over/under: 225.5

Injury report

Suns: OUT — Damion Lee (meniscus).

Kings: OUT — Kevin Huerter (shoulder); Malik Monk (knee).

Upcoming schedule

April 12 vs. Phoenix Suns

April 14 vs. Portland Trail Blazers