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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

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With Kawhi Leonard questionable to suit up once again, the Spurs will look to improve to 5-1 on the Rodeo Road Trip as they return to California and take on the gonzo Sacramento Kings.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings

Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
February 24, 2016, 9:30 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: ESPN Radio: 1200 AM WOAI

You meet some interesting characters on the road, and there might not be a weirder bunch than the Sacramento Kings.

They're the wild-card hitcher you picked up in the hopes of a little idle conversation to get you through the night; what you get instead are pointed harangues about 4-on-5 defense, challenges to games of Connect Four and earfuls of disjointed logic.

There was a time when the eighth seed seemed ripe for the Kings' picking, as the Jazz battled injuries, the Rockets battled themselves and the Blazers still seemed unproven. Most of that has changed now, and Sacramento appears to be trending towards another visit to the lottery and reset this summer.

Despite reports they were targeting various players, the Kings stood pat at the trade deadline --something that most people who've criticized the franchise's volatility were happy with. Of course, they still managed to fire an assistant coach over the past week -- an apparent power play by a front office that wouldn't seem out of place in Westeros -- as opinions continue to differ between ownership and coach George Karl.

Some criticism is certainly warranted. The Kings' league-leading pace has resulted in big numbers for DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, but the team hasn't been capable of stringing together four quarters of defensive effort, giving up the most points per game in the NBA. It's also not clear whether an up-and-down style of play suits the plodding Cousins or Rondo, who's incredibly one of the worst point guards in the open floor.

Rondo remains incapable of locking in, an off-ball defender with selective effort and minimal attention capacity. Wing players on the whole don't rotate well, which leads to open lanes and some of the league's worst perimeter defense. San Antonio should be able to take advantage.

The Spurs haven't strung together the best performances during Kawhi's three-game absence, and the Kings are coming off a sweep of a home-and-home against the Denver Nuggets. Beyond some positive flashes from Danny Green, David West and a couple of other guys, the post All-Star games have left something to be desired.

That doesn't mean that San Antonio shouldn't pull off the victory tonight -- even if it won't be as convincing of one as some fans might want. A road trip, after all, is a good reminder that the final destination is sometimes what matters most.

Matchup to watch: The defense by committee against Cousins will be key, but more important might be keeping Boogie's supporting cast in check. If Kawhi Leonard isn't good to go, Kyle Anderson will have a tough assignment containing Rudy Gay.

@

San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 47-9)

Sacramento Kings

(Record: 24-31)

February 24, 2016

Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

9:30 PM CDT

TV: ESPN

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Rajon Rondo

Danny Green

SG

Ben McLemore

Kyle Anderson*

SF

Rudy Gay

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Quincy Acy

Tim Duncan

C

DeMarcus Cousins

Game prediction: Spurs by 5.

For the Kings fans' perspective, visit Sac Town Royalty.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.