Game Preview: Sacramento Kings at San Antonio Spurs

Oct 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Spurs won the game 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Spurs won the game 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Antonio Spurs will play their first game of a back-to-back tonight at the AT&T center against the Sacramento Kings.

The Spurs enter this game on an eight game win streak, their second longest streak of the season. The Spurs had a nine game winning streak from November 11th to November 26th. With a win tonight, the Spurs will tie that mark.

The Spurs are a 15-point favorite tonight vs the Kings.

SAC is 1-5 Post All-Star break with a Net Rating of -4.8 PP/100.

— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) March 8, 2017

According to Vegas, the Spurs are 15-point favorites tonight, so tying the longest winning streak of the season seems incredibly likely.

The Spurs are coming off one of the most impressive victories of the season, a game where Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points, including a go-ahead basket and a chase down block to beat the Houston Rockets.

If you’re a Spurs fan and haven’t seen the play, shame on you. Luckily, here it is.

Relive Kawhi's crazy sequence, in all the angles: pic.twitter.com/ezMbeko3Nx

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 7, 2017

On the other hand, the Sacramento Kings come into this game with a record of 25-38, currently 12th place in the Western Conference.

Since the Kings parted ways with DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are 1-5. To make things worse, the Kings lost arguably their second-best player, Rudy Gay, for the remainder of the NBA season.

The Kings are in the midst of a serious rebuild, while the Spurs are making serious strides to take over the number one seed in the Western Conference.

Previous Matchups

The Spurs and the Kings have played twice already this season, both of which came in Sacramento when Cousins was in the lineup.

The first game came early in the season on October 27th, where the Spurs won, 102-94.

More from San Antonio Spurs News

Leonard led the Spurs with 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, along with five assists, three rebounds, and five steals. LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points of his own, along with five rebounds. Cousins had a game-high 37 points and 16 rebounds, including 14-of-16 from the free throw line.

Leonard and Aldridge both played over 30 minutes, while no one else on the Spurs roster had more than 26.

The second matchup came on November 16th, where the Spurs won a tighter game, 110-105. Leonard, Aldridge and Pau Gasol all had more than 20 points on at least 50% shooting. Cousins had himself another monster double-double with 26 points on and 17 rebounds, but didn’t find enough help to muster up a victory.

Current Matchup

The Kings and the Spurs will play their third game of the season, the first of which coming at the AT&T Center, without the assistance of Cousins or Gay.

Basically, this is a game the Spurs should win by the third quarter.

More from San Antonio Spurs News

On the offensive end, the Spurs are averaging 106.6 points per game, 11th in the NBA. The Kings are putting up 102.6 per game, currently 22nd in the NBA.

On the defensive end, the Spurs continue to be one of the best teams in the NBA. They are allowing 98.4 points per game, second in the NBA behind the Utah Jazz. The Kings are middle-of-the-pack, allowing 105.6 per game, 15th in the NBA.

However, we must take into account a lot of those statistics were with Cousins and Gay in the Kings lineup. Without them, their statistics aren’t as pretty. Plus, they are catching the Spurs at a time where they are arguably playing their best basketball of the season.

Ultimately, it doesn’t look good for the Kings.

Prediction

While this game may seem insignificant, the Spurs are playing for two things.

First, they are playing for the first seed in the West. The Spurs are currently 49-13, 2.5 games back of the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs will host the Kings, and the Warriors will host the Boston Celtics, the second best team in the East.

Obviously, the Spurs cannot control the outcome of the Warriors game, but they can handle business and beat the Kings, pulling within 2.0 games. If the Warriors lose, the lead will be cut to 1.5 games. If the Warriors win, the lead remains at 2.5.

Spurs go for their 50th win tomorrow. It would mark the 18th straight season SA had won at least 50. Previous mark was 12 (Magic era Lakers)

— Bill Schoening (@SpursRadio) March 8, 2017

Secondly, the Spurs are chasing 50 wins. With a win tonight, the Spurs would make it 18 consecutive seasons with 50 wins. These stats are remarkable, but with Gregg Popovich as head coach, these stats are commonly overlooked because it’s almost “expected.”

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  • Although there hasn’t been any word from Popovich himself, one has to assume that he will look to limit the minutes of his starters.

    One of the biggest issues for the Spurs this season has been starting off games. Recently, they’ve been starting off slow, digging themselves a hole, spending the entire game climbing out of it.

    Tonight, the focus must be starting strong, hopefully building enough of a lead where the starters can take a much needed rest, and focus on traveling to Oklahoma City for tomorrow’s game against the Thunder.

    Ideally, you don’t want Leonard to surpass the 30 minute mark tonight, as his usage rate will be much higher against the Thunder tomorrow night, and against the Warriors on Saturday night.

    Luckily, Popovich has been incredible at managing minutes in the ladder stages of the season, since he’s clinched a playoff spot for the last 20 NBA seasons.

    This would also be a great game to run the offense through Aldridge, who has been struggling with his jump-shot as of late. Get him extra touches, and hope he can break out of his slump.

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    The Spurs have been getting by (clearly) without Aldridge, but to make a deep playoff run, they are going to need an elite Aldridge. Hopefully, it starts tonight.

    Aldridge bounces back, has a solid shooting performance.

    Spurs win easy, 108-94.

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