Game #65 Preview: Kings @ Spurs

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Two teams that are realIy (sports cliche alert!) headed in opposite directions. I can probably spare you some of the details, but I would like to remind you Spurs fans just how good we have had it this season. The contrast of these two teams could hardly be greater, as the Spurs have, by some mathematical calculation, already sewn up a playoff spot, while Sactown has already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

I'd also like to draw attention to the plight of Sacramento Kings fans, who may be on the cusp of losing their franchise.

To hoops fans everywhere: beware the ides of March and make sure not to take anything for granted.

Who wins this competition of roundball wizardry? Hop in with us to see what's in store after the jump...

First of all, we have the Kings. There are reports that they could move to "greener" pastures (cha-ching!) and settle in Anaheim, essentially giving the league three Los Angeles area teams. An empassioned Kings fan , Mad D, has gone as far as joining PTR and writing a post asking that Spurs fans hold signs and/or start chants pleading that the Sactown ballers stay in the capital of the Governator's state. I suppose this has been done on other teams' sites as well. I, for one, am all for this and I have no problem with the idea of getting fans from other teams to be vocal about not relocating the Kings or other teams. I actually grew up in a state that had its NBA team plucked from home and moved to another part of the country. We are talking about a team with four-plus decades of history, including an NBA championship (before I was born, but still).

While the Kings have not had the same history as the SuperSonics, I will say that their fans are just as passionate about their team. Not only that, but Sacto's success really isn't all too far in the rearview mirror. Less than a decade ago, they were thisclose to winning a championship (yes I am going out on a limb and assuming they would have beaten the Nets in the Finals had they advanced past LAL). They also made the playoffs every year for eight straight seasons (1999-2006).

That's not to say that winning, losing and money should be the only matters considered here. The fans are a big part of any team. Apologies if this doesn't seem apt for a game preview, but with the opponent on hand and the post I linked to above, I felt it was appropriate right now.

Moving on to the Silver & Black. I think it's time that we enjoy the ride we have been on with the Spurs. I know most of us have been enjoying this season immensely, but maybe we are 1) a bit spoiled by the success and 2) too caught up in worrying about the future (read: will we or won't we be the champs?) instead of (sports cliche alert!) taking it one game at a time.

Don't get me wrong; I think it is perfectly fine for us to critique the team's strengths and weaknesses and keep our eyes on the prize. But sometimes you've got to stop and smell the roses.

Here are some numbers for a little more perspective.

  • Team record: 52-12 (first in NBA)
  • Home record: 30-3 (best in the NBA)
  • Road record: 22-9 (trailing only Dallas' 23-9 road record)
  • Scoring Differential: +6.8 per game (leads the NBA ... barely)
  • Record in FIGABABAs: 8-3
  • Record in SEGABABAs: 7-4

I suppose if I had predicted the Spurs record in each of the above categories before the season started, I probably would have underestimated them across the board. The FIGABABAs maybe would be the closest one to being predictable, but how about that SEGABABA record for a bunch of old fogeys, eh?

Ptr_ambigram_white_on_black_medium
San Antonio Spurs vs SACRAMENTO KINGS
AT&T Center
March 11 @ 7:30 p.m. Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: FOX SW


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By the Numbers

Data sources:
hoopdata.com | basketball-reference.com | John Hollinger's team stats

Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 109.2(2nd) 101.3(7th)
Rebound %
25.3(20th) 74.2(14th)
Field Goal % .474(4th) .449(9th)
3-Point % .401(1st) .371(24th)
Free Throw %
.769(13th) .755(9th)
Turnover %
12.96(9th) 12.66(25th)
Assist %
60.09(9th) 53.74(4th)
Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 100.1 (27th) 106.3 (20th)
Rebound %
30.1(2nd) 73.6(17th)
Field Goal % .446(22nd) .477(27th)
3-Point % .336(27th) .356(15th)
Free Throw %
.730(28th) .767.(17th)
Turnover %
14.33(26th) 13.71(12th)
Assist %
52.13(29th) 53.72(3rd)
Record Wins Losses
Overall 52 12
Conference 31 7
Division 8 4
Home 30 3
Away 22 9
Position Conference Division
Record 1st 1st
Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: DeJuan Blair
C: Tim Duncan

Key Bench Players
George Hill
Gary Neal
Matt Bonner
Antonio McDyess
Tiago Splitter

Record Wins Losses
Overall 15 47
Conference 9 29
Division 4 8
Home 8 25
Away 7 22
Position Conference Division
Record 14th 5th
Lineups

Starters
PG: Beno Udrih
SG: Marcus Thornton
SF: Francisco Garcia
PF: DeMarcus Cousins
C: Samuel Dalembert

Key Bench Players
Jason Thompson
Omri Casspi
Luther Head
Donte Greene

Matchup Analysis

Point Guard
Shooting Guard
Small Forward
Power Forward
Center
Bench
Coach
Intangibles
Mojo
Winner

Starters

PG: Parker needs to dominate Fisher. And this particular "Fisher" used to play with the Spurs. That is all.

SG: You may have noticed the absence of one Tyreke Evans from the rosters above. I am going on the assumption that 'Reke is still out with plantar fasciitis as he has missed the past 11 games. Either way, Manu gets to put a spur on his boots.

SF: Interesting matchup. While these are not the biggest stars on their respective teams, they may be the proverbial X-factors, and are certainly on the higher end of what we may call a "role player."

PF: I almost gave the spur to both players, but in the end I went with the size of Cousins.

C: Timmy and Sammy sure seem like a couple of fun islanders, don't they?

Bench

Having Jason Thompson off the bench is quite a luxury, but the Spurs depth beats that of the Kings.

Coach

Paul Westphal coached the 1993 Suns to the NBA Finals. That said, the less time I spend explaining why Pop wins this one, the better.

Intangibles

We have more intangibles than MC Hammer.

Mojo

"Mojo? I'm too old to drink that stuff anymore."

--my impersonation of @FakeCoachPop impersonating Gregg Popovich

Prediction

Spurs, 106-95

Key(s) to the Game

Key 1: Focus - you're not guaranteed anything in this league, no matter who you are or who you're playing.

Key 2: Crash the glass - the Kings are second in the league in offensive rebounding rate.

Key 3: 3-pointers. San Antonio leads the league in 3-pt % and the Kings are near the bottom in defending the three. Caution: our shooters may be flammable tonight.

Other Reading

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell - Spurs TrueHoop affiliate

Spurs Planet - Our old friend Wayne Vore is back.

Project Spurs

Spurs Nation - SAEN represent!

OPPONENT

Sactown Royalty - SB Nation
Cowbell Kingdom - Kings TrueHoop affiliate

Following Along

TV

TV LISTING

Radio

WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]

Online

As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com(IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.


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