The San Antonio Spurs extended their losing streak with a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night, reverting to bad habits on both ends as the game got out of hand in the second half. Gregg Popovich and company will now try to bounce back as they host the Sacramento Kings in the penultimate matchup of their homestand.
These Western Conference competitors run motion offenses that operate under similar guiding principles. But the talent discrepancy between them has yielded differing results. The Silver and Black are lottery-bound at 14-37. Meanwhile, Mike Brown has led his team to third place in the Western Conference with a stunning 28-21 record.
San Antonio Spurs (14-37) vs. Sacramento Kings (28-21)
February 1, 2022 | 7:00 PM CST
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs: Dominick Barlow (Out — Two-Way), Charles Bassey (Out — Two-Way), Devin Vassell (Out — Knee), Romeo Langford (Questionable — Adductor), Josh Richardson (Probable — Knee)
Kings: Keon Ellis (Out — Two-Way), Neemias Queta (Out — Two-Way)
What To Watch For
- Keldon Johnson was one of the consistent positive notes in an otherwise bleak January that witnessed the Spurs indefinitely lose Devin Vassell to an arthroscopic knee procedure while posting a 2-13 record. The fourth-year forward punctuated the month with several promising performances, averaging 24.5 points on 54.1% shooting over his last six games. Although he has struggled in his maiden voyage as San Antonio’s unmistakable first scoring option, Keldon made noticeable developmental strides. During the previously mentioned stretch, the 23-year-old has finished 76.1% of his 46 shots at the rim while compiling 15 assists to just five turnovers. Seeing as Johnson was inconsistent at the tin and failed to strike a balance between attacking and passing at the beginning of the season, this breakthrough is a welcomed sight for fans. Another round with Sacramento’s horrendous defense should have Keldon salivating.
- San Antonio has undergone a plentitude of roster turnover across the last three seasons, with familiar names like Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, and Rudy Gay no longer part of the organization. With so many players departing the 2-1-0, it has become easy for an individual like Trey Lyles to get lost in the mix. But the 27-year-old forward has done everything in his capacity to ensure Spurs fans remember him by being a thorn in their side this season, scoring in double-digits in both matchups with his former ball club. Lyles has been exceptionally productive for the Kings, averaging 11.0 points and 4.4 boards per game off the bench on .554/.474/.842 shooting splits since January 7th (12 games). Gregg Popovich and Trey will exchange pleasantries before tipoff, but the latter probably has this date circled on his calendar.
- De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been the engines behind one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA this season, concocting compelling individual All-Star cases as the Kings vie for their first playoff appearance in 17 years. The tandem has built upon the budding chemistry they forged before injuries derailed a last-minute play-in push in 2022, averaging 42.6 points, 16.7 rebounds, and 13.2 assists per game. Sacramento took heaps of harsh criticism from several pundits for the trade that brought Sabonis and Fox together, but it appears they might have the last laugh. The Kings are in third place in the Western Conference, and their fan base seems to love every minute of their fast-paced brand of basketball. And how can you not be excited when your team shines a blinding purple beam into the night sky after every victory?
For the Kings fans’ perspective, please visit Sactown Royalty.
The Game Thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action on PtR’s Twitter feed.