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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

The Spurs look to build on their auspicious season-opener in Oakland as they head into Sacramento to take on the Kings.

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings

Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Date: 10/27/16, Time: 9:30 PM Spurs Time

It shouldn't have really shocked former Kings head coach George Karl when he met Rudy Gay for the first time and was allegedly told "welcome to basketball hell."

Part of that is because the veteran forward was covered in warpaint at the time, his neck festooned with dog tags and the bones of discarded first-round picks, and he kept mumbling "the horrors" out at the pale Sacramento moon. (You can read about it all yourself in Karl's actual, upcoming book Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection.) But, mostly, it's because the team has long vexed fans with its proclivity for instability and controversy.

Since we last checked in with the Kings, they've maintained a white-knuckled grip on the handle of NBA's Weirdest Franchise. Karl's gone after one year in town, replaced by former Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger, and Gay appears destined to be moved at some point this season. The front office gorged on as many frontcourt players as it could over the summer, prompting mercurial franchise player DeMarcus Cousins to subtweet to God, and starting point guard Darren Collison was suspended for the season's first eight games because of a domestic violence incident in May.

The Kings did start their season strong with a blowout win in Phoenix last night, but that may also be more because the Suns will be terrible this year. Still, it shows that they have the star power up top and the depth to compete most nights.

The Spurs come in hot off their dominating Tuesday-night performance against Golden State, having flexed some offensive muscle against a Warriors team that simply gave too much up in the paint and with their depth. Tonight should have a fairly different feel to it, with the Kings as deep as any team in the frontcourt, but lacking dynamism around the perimeter. Arron Afflalo gives them a better shooting guard than they've had in years, and Matt Barnes and Omri Casspi will stretch the floor when they come in, but this is an offense that may really struggle if Boogie and Gay are both off the floor.

With the Kings sporting a more conventional two-big stating lineup, new Spur Pau Gasol should have a chance to showcase his talents, after a quiet two-point debut in Oakland where he looked out of sync offensively and was constantly targeted by Steph Curry at the other end. People are perhaps more down on Gasol than they should be, but the Warriors were always going to be his worst matchup and he should be contributing significantly to wins soon.

A win is what we should've expected heading into tonight, even before the Spurs' 29-point thumping of the presumptive 2017 champs and even though the Kings looked OK in their own season opener. Of course, I predicted an eight-point loss for that game, so what do I know.


San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 1-0)

Sacramento Kings

(Record: 1-0)

October 27, 2016

Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

9:30 PM CDT



Tony Parker


Ty Lawson

Kyle Anderson


Arron Afflalo

Kawhi Leonard


Rudy Gay

LaMarcus Aldridge


Willie Cauley-Stein

Pau Gasol


DeMarcus Cousins

Vegas line: Spurs by 9.

Game prediction: Spurs by 10.

For the Kings fans' perspective, visit Sactown Royalty.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.