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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

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The Spurs will be a little short-handed as they kick off a two-game West Coast trip tonight in Sacramento.

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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings

Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Date: 11/16/16, Time: 9:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

It's been a weird early-season schedule for the Spurs, who will have played four teams twice within their first 12 games after taking on the Kings tonight in Sac Town. But given these haven't been the strongest of opponents and that the Spurs are still looking to build some continuity and consistency (see: Monday's win over Miami), maybe that's not a bad thing.

The team's sitting at 8-3, which is maybe a little better than they really are at this point. The talent is there, but we're still not sure what to expect game to game, or even quarter to quarter. There are times when the offense hums nicely, with the ball moving and the team feasting on open looks. Then you have stretches where nothing clicks, in which Kawhi moves a half-step faster or slower than the four guys around him, and the offense is unable to muster anything out of the pick and roll.

In the first meeting between the Spurs and Kings, it was Kawhi's singular talents that made the difference. He poured in 12 points in the opening quarter, making up for an attack that looked lost until the reserves stepped on the floor. Things remained pretty even through most of the first three quarters, and then Leonard went and quite literally took matters into his own hands.

The team rode his strong performance that night, which included 30 points, five assists and five steals, to get out of Sacramento with the 102-94 win, but a more balanced attack would probably be better this time around.

More maladies

It took just a few games at full strength for the injury bug to creep up on the Spurs again. It was nice to get a win against the Heat, but the game's physical nature wasn't without its casualties. Danny Green took a knee to the ginobilis when contesting a shot at the rim, and Dewayne Dedmon hurt his leg while trying to set a screen on Justise Winslow.

Losing Dedmon hurts. He came up big in the teams' last meeting, putting up 12 points, 7 boards and 4 blocks in 21 minutes, and his injury will make it all the more difficult to slow down DeMarcus Cousins. He's not big enough to stand up to Cousins for a long stretch of time, but you can say that about almost every player. His length, footspeed and ability to get a hand on shots at the rim will be missed.

Expect another big game from Boogie

Dedmon's absence also means the Spurs will probably have to roll the dice with Pau again for most of tonight against the Kings big man, who went off for 37 points and 16 rebounds last game. The Spaniard was unsurprisingly bullied by Cousins, but a number of those came off tough shots that he'd make against most defenders. We'll see if he fares any better tonight.

Shoutout to Pau, though

There weren't a lot of great things about the end to the Heat game, with the Spurs giving up a double-digit lead amid a hail of Dion Waiters buckets. But I keep going back to Pau Gasol's spitting fury in the final minutes. There's a notable void in on-court leadership in San Antonio, Year One A.D., and I'm all for Gasol filling it with hard screens and screams at the rim. Especially when it's in games like Monday's, where the Spurs found themselves getting knocked around a bit and saw their lead slipping away.

DeMarcus Cousins is a little bigger than Dion Waiters, though.

vs

San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 8-3)

Sacramento Kings

(Record: 4-7)

November 16, 2016

Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

9:30 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Ty Lawson

Danny Green*

SG

Arron Afflalo

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Rudy Gay

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Willie Cauley-Stein

Pau Gasol

C

DeMarcus Cousins

Vegas line: Spurs by 5.5.

Game prediction: Spurs by 3.

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.