Following a solid performance against the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs will travel to Sacramento to face the Kings on Monday. Sacramento’s early-season success has been one of the surprising stories of the season thus far.
The San Antonio Spurs put the clamps on the Houston Rockets on Sunday, holding Houston to just 89 points. The Spurs will need another strong defensive performance on Monday if they want to shut down the fast-paced Sacramento Kings.
The gameplan for Sacramento is simple and straightforward. They want to push the pace as much as possible and get easy buckets in transition.
Head coach Dave Joerger has taken the reins off of De’Aaron Fox and the rest of the young Kings and the results speak for themselves. Fox is one of the fastest players in the league, and he’s shown what he can do with his speed this year.
Sacramento is 7-6 so far, good enough for 8th in the Western Conference, largely due to the breakneck speed at which they play.
The Kings average an absurd 106 possessions per 48 minutes. In contrast, San Antonio averages roughly 98. Slowing the game down and playing at their pace will go a long way towards helping San Antonio leave Sacramento with a W.
Fox, along with Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjeilca, has helped transform Sacramento’s offense and brought it into the modern age. The lineup of Fox, Hield, Bjeilca, Yogi Ferrell, and Willie Cauley-Stein is actually one of the most efficient in the NBA. The group is a +7 when they share the court.
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Bjeilca’s lights out shooting has given the Kings another three-point presence they desperately needed and opened up the floor for Fox and Cauley-Stein to get to the rim.
He’s connecting on almost 50% of his three-pointers so far this season. It’s an unsustainable rate and the Spurs will have to do their part in lowering that percentage if they want to win.
Derrick White played well for the Spurs in his home debut on Sunday. He put up 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists.
San Antonio will need a repeat of that performance in Sacramento.
White can’t keep up with Fox in transition, but he can use his size advantage to bump Fox off of his desired path and make him finish through contact. White has three inches and 20 pounds on Fox and he will have to use that size advantage, play physical, and make Fox work for every bucket.
The matchup of the night will be between LaMarcus Aldridge and the Kings’ trio of young big men.
Of the three, Cauley-Stein is the only one who can hang with Aldridge defensively. But it’s still a matchup that favors the Spurs.
San Antonio will have to feed Aldridge early and often. This will allow the Spurs to slow down the pace while pushing to get Cauley-Stein into foul trouble at the same time.
If Cauley-Stein gets forced to the bench early, Aldridge should have no trouble scoring on Bagley and Giles.
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These are not the Kings of years past. This team is the real deal. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm CT at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.