San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento KingsAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
December 29, 2013, 6:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
After splitting an in-state back-to-back with Dallas and Houston, the San Antonio Spurs return home for a four-game home-stand that begins tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The Spurs have faced a pretty grueling stretch in December, and the defensive prowess the Spurs are known for has dipped this month. Through 14 games in December, San Antonio has allowed less than 100 points to an opponent just three times. Those performances came in wins over Milwaukee, Utah and Toronto.
The Kings are just 9-19 on the season, but Sacramento is coming off of an overtime-victory over Miami and it averages right at 100 points a game, providing a great litmus test for a San Antonio defense that should be at full-strength and well-rested after two days off following the win over Dallas.
The story for Sacramento this year has been roster turnover. Nine players on the Sacramento roster started the season in other uniforms. The one constant, however, has been DeMarcus Cousins, who is becoming a double-double threat in every game. He is averaging a team-high 22.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and one block per game this year. He was a man against Miami the last time out, scoring 27 and collecting 17 rebounds to pace the Kings in that win.
Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay are the only other two Sacramento players that average in double figures, but each hovers around 20 points. The issue for the Kings is creating scoring options outside of those three players. Jason Thompson and Ben McLemore aren't true scoring threats and Sacramento lacks quick, offensive scoring-power off of the bench. Derrick Williams, Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy are scrappy, serviceable role players, but not guys you can draw up offense for to spark an offense. Jimmer Fredette hasn't grown into the player, either.
The Kings played five guys off of the bench (all for at least 12 minutes) against Miami and only managed to score a total of 21 out of its 108 points from the bench in a game that required overtime. The trio of Cousins, Gay and Thomas scored 75 points. The lack of balance is what hurts the Kings against top defensive teams in this league and San Antonio is capable of being that when healthy and rested.
San Antonio shouldn't have a problem scoring against a Kings team that allows the 29th most points in the league. Opponents have averaged 103.6 points per game against Sacramento and the Kings rank in the bottom third in rebounding and assists, giving San Antonio an advantage pretty much everywhere on the court.
This has a Spurs blowout written all over it, but the Kings proved it can sneak up and beat a solid team when it took down Miami on Friday. A motivated Spurs team should roll.
Matchup to watch: Stopping the Kings has become synonymous with stopping Cousins. San Antonio has struggled a bit against bigs, especially if Thiago Splitter isn't on the floor. If the Spurs can keep Cousins from controlling the boards on offense and getting easy buckets, San Antonio should win this game.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 10
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and 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.
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