The Sacramento Kings (27-42) are definitely out of playoff contention as they sit six wins behind the Denver Nuggets. Sacramento have only won two out of their last 10 games and lost last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 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. Arron Afflalo missed their last game due to personal reasons and it is unknown whether he will feature here. Ben McLemore is in the same situation, 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 wins out of their last 10 but suffered consecutive losses against the Blazers, and last night to the Memphis Grizzlies on the road, 94-106. Kawhi Leonard took charge for San Antonio with 22 points and seven rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and nine boards, while Jonathon Simmons scored 14 points. Tony Parker returned to the starting lineup against the Grizzlies after missing four straight.
Hield and Darren Collison are the players to watch for the Kings tonight, but the team lack a leader figure. Sacramento don’t have a talisman on the team and practically anyone can emerge as a top scorer in this game. Leonard and Aldridge are the key players 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.
Keys to the Game
The Kings will find it really hard to hurt the Spurs from the inside, so their only chance of winning tonight is to destroy them from the perimeter, which is looking highly unlikely. Sacramento lacks quality and depth and 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 his 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. They’ll need an all-around team effort if the team are to stand any chance tonight. Don’t count on the Kings to make too much noise though as San Antonio fine tune their lineup for the upcoming playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Parker / SG – Green / SF – Leonard / PF – Aldridge / C – Dedmon
Leonard and Aldridge have been hot of late and should have no problem putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, 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 San Antonio to win with ease tonight.
Tip-off is at 7 pm ET – AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX.
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