The Sacramento Kings (27-42) are definitely out of playoff contention as they are six wins behind the Denver Nuggets. Sacramento have only won two out of their last ten games and lost their most recent one to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, 94-110. Georgios Papagiannis led the Kings with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, Skal Labissiere scored 13, while Buddy Hield added 11 points. Hield and Darren Collison are the players to watch for the visitors tonight, but the thing with the Kings is that they don’t have a clear leader on the team and practically anyone can emerge as a top scorer in this duel.
Arron Afflalo missed their previous match due to personal reasons and it is unknown whether he will feature here. It’s the same situation with Ben McLemore, while Tyreke Evans is doubtful with an ankle injury.
The San Antonio Spurs (52-16) are still in second place in the West three wins behind leaders Golden State. The Spurs have recorded seven victories out of their last ten matches but suffered consecutive losses against the Blazers, and last night to the Memphis Grizzlies on the road, 94-106. Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 22 points and seven rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and nine boards, while Jonathon Simmons scored 14 points. Leonard and Aldridge are the obvious players to watch for the Spurs as they face one of the weakest defenses in the league and I expect their domination in this one and at least 50 points combined. Tony Parker returned to the starting lineup against the Grizzlies after missing four matches.
Keys to the Game
The Kings will find it really hard to hurt the Spurs from the inside, so the only chance of winning tonight is to destroy them from the perimeter, which is looking highly unlikely. Sacramento lacks quality and depth and they should consider themselves lucky if they don’t suffer a disaster here. I don’t see them stopping Leonard and Aldridge, and even if they manage to control them, San Antonio has plenty of players who can terrorize the Kings.
San Antonio Spurs
One of the best defensive teams in the league is facing a rather impotent offense, and I believe the Spurs’ team D will play a crucial role in tonight’s clash. Additionally, Leonard and Aldridge will likely combine for 50-plus points, which should be more than enough to secure a victory. This match has the potential to be a blowout, so Gregg Popovich could even rest some of the starters in the second half.
Sacramento Kings Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Collison / SG – Hield / SF – Temple / PF – Cauley-Stein / C- Koufos
Collison, Hield, and Cauley-Stein should lead the Kings on the scoreboard, but the bench players such as Papagiannis and Labissiere could help them on offense.
San Antonio Spurs Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Parker / SG – Green / SF – Leonard / PF – Aldridge / C – Dedmon
Leonard and Aldridge will probably lead the starters in points, while Gasol, Parker, and Ginobili could contribute with some vital baskets. Look for the Spurs to spread the floor and wear down the Kings on defense.
It would be a massive surprise if the Kings beat the Spurs and I honestly don’t believe in miracles, so I am backing the hosts to win with ease tonight.
Tip-off is at 7 pm ET – AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX.