Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings

"Hey Mr. Coach, I wasn't sent the principal's office today!" - USA TODAY Sports

It's been a tough stretch for the injury-riddled Spurs. They head home looking to grab a much-needed win against the much-maligned Kings and hopefully secure a top 2 seed in the West.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
April 12, 2013, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW- RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs fans, the end of the preseason regular season is nigh. With just four games left, the Spurs likely need to wrap up the season with just one more win in order to claim a spot on either bookend of the Western Conference playoff bracket. Tonight, the Aloof Maloofs bring their team to the AT&T Center, and despite the fact that the Spurs are practically fielding a D-League team, this game shouldn't provide too much trouble.

The Kings are led by DeMarcus Cousins, who averages 17.0 pts and 9.8 rebounds per game. Actually, I'm not sure that "led" is the correct term here. It implies that Cousins exhibits the some level of respect from and authority over his teammates. The Big Boogie much more resembles an irascible infant who wont share his toys than a venerable commander-in-chief. Earlier this season Cousins verbally confronted Sean Elliot following a Spurs-Kings game after Elliot provided a less-than-favorable on-air assessment of his maturity level. It was a brilliant bit of poetic justice to hear Cousins cluelessly affirm Sean's sound reasoning.

To no one's surprise, the Spurs own floor chieftain, Tim Duncan, has consistently owned the emotionally diminutive Cousins. In their three matchups this season, Duncan has shot 60.7% from the field, collected 36 total rebounds, and stymied 12 King's field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Cousins has shot 35.5% from the floor, collected 7 rebounds per game, and managed to block only 2 shots in his time against the Spurs this season. Duncan has, and always will have, Cousin's number. And Boogie knows it.

The Kings have other weapons in Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, who have all provided some degree of offensive value this season. Unfortunately for the Kings, they are just downright miserable on defense, surrendering 112 points per 100 possessions, second worst only to the Charlotte Bobcats. They allow their opponents to shoot 51.5% from the floor, fourth worst in the league, and they consistently fail to close out on shooters, allowing the second highest opponent assist rate in the league.

If Duncan can assert his authority over Cousins early, and Green can hit his first few triples, this game should fall quickly out of hand in the Spurs' favor. So long as the bench can maintain whatever lead I expect the starters to generate, this should be a no-brainer for the Spurs, who have beaten the Kings by an average margin of 15 points per game this season. If all goes according to plan, the Spurs can all but lock down a top seed in the West while getting all of their players one day healthier.

Lineups

Starters
PG: Nando De Colo
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Gary Neal
DeJuan Blair
Matt Bonner

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Key Bench Players
Marcus Thornton
Jimmer Fredette
Chuck Hayes

Head Coach

Keith Smart

Kings perspective can be found here: Sactown Royalty

Game Prediction: The Kings play awful defense, and the Spurs pull away at the beginning of the third. The Spurs score over 100 for the first time in 6 games. Spurs by 12.

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.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

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