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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings

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Spurs head out west for the first of three games on the road.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Following their 96-89 home win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, San Antonio makes the season’s second trip to California for their initial matchup against the much-improved Sacramento Kings on Monday night. The 7-6 Kings, who lost at home to the Lakers on Saturday night 101-86, have a winning record for the first time since October 29, 2016 when they were 2-1.

San Antonio Spurs (7-4) @ Sacramento Kings (7-6)

November 12, 2018| 9:00 PM CT

Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI

Spurs injuries: Dejounte Murray (knee), Lonnie Walker IV (knee), Jakob Poeltl (ankle), Pau Gasol (foot), Rudy Gay (heel)

Kings injuries: None

THE KINGS

More like Princes

Led by its dynamic backcourt of De’Aaron Fox (18.7 ppg) and Buddy Hield (19.1 ppg), the Kings may finally be on track to end a run of twelve consecutive lottery appearances. Along with Willie Cauley-Stein and rookie Marvin Bagley III, the Kings roster includes twelve players with three or less years of NBA experience. To do so and retain at least their current position of 8th in the Western Conference, they’ll need to eliminate the deficit created by allowing 116.8 points per game against scoring 115.3.

Royalty

The Kings roster reads like a list of college basketball’s blue bloods. Four players hail from Kentucky, two each from Duke, Kansas, and Indiana and one from North Carolina.

Not so Kingly

Since the 2006-07 season, the Kings have not been above .500 beyond December 8th except for the 2011-2012 season which began in December due to the strike.

THE SPURS

The Road

The Kings game begins the first of three road games for the Spurs, who so far have played only four of eleven away from the AT&T Center, winning two.

Coincidence?

The Spurs scored only 96 and 88 points in their last two games, a win over the Rockets and defeat in Miami. DeMar DeRozan, averaging 25.2 points per game, scored 18 and 13 respectively on 5 of 12 and 6 of 15 shooting.

The Lineup

Against Houston, Derrick White started his second game since returning from a plantar fascia injury and matched his career high with 14 points, He also contributed four rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Without Gay, Gasol and Poeltl, White was part of a three guard starting lineup along with DeRozan, Bryn Forbes. Dante Cunningham started with LaMarcus Aldridge. While Gay and Poeltl could return for the Kings game, Gasol is expected to be out until at least November 18th.

PACE ISN’T JUST A SALSA

The camouflage uniforms worn on Saturday night by the Spurs to honor Veterans is an appropriate metaphor for the chameleon-like nature of this year’s team. San Antonio appears to adjust its pace to that of its opponent, playing fast against the likes of the Lakers and Phoenix but slow against teams such as Miami and surprisingly, Houston. Normally, good teams want to dictate the pace; and once all the players return and gel, that might become the case. For now, the ability of a team in transition to play either fast or slow will be an advantage with an additional benefit of helping younger players learn the game.


Vegas prediction: Spurs by 3

Game prediction: Spurs by 9

For a Kings fan’s perspective, visit Sac Town Royalty

PtR’s Gamethread will be up this afternoon for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.