Game 55 Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

 DeMarcus Cousins grins while standing alongside Tim Duncan. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Spurs perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate 48 Minutes of Hell.

The book on the Spurs: The Spurs continue to defy all odds and remain the best regular season team in the NBA.  Winners of 14 of their last 15, San Antonio is still built around veterans Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and they are a still a machine.  The Spurs are this generation’s Utah Jazz led by Karl Malone and John Stockton.  A six-point lead for this team is like a 12-point advantage for any other squad.

Did you know?  At age 36, Duncan just made his 14th All-Star appearance and is averaging 17.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in a little under 30 minutes per game.  A first ballot Hall of Famer, “The Big Fundamental” continues to quietly dominate the NBA as he approaches his 37th birthday.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (19-35)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

San Antonio Spurs Probable Starters (42-12)

PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tiago Splitter
C: Tim Duncan

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 96.8
  • Offensive Rating: 103.9
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 103.8
  • Defensive Rating: 111.3
  • Pace: 92.5

San Antonio

  • Points Per Game: 104.2
  • Offensive Rating: 109.7
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 95.8
  • Defensive Rating: 100.8
  • Pace: 94.1

Three questions to ponder

1.  What impact will a trip to All-Star weekend have on Isaiah Thomas?

The 24-year-old Thomas was the lone King to get an invite to the All-Star festivities.  Most players see a spike in their performance after an event like this and Thomas should be no different.  He draws Parker in his first game back, who is having one of his finest seasons in an incredible career.  Thomas’ teammates need to see the point guard that dropped a season-high 10 dimes for Team Chuck in the futures game.

2.  Can the Kings avoid a collapse in quarter No. 2?

The Spurs are a team that will punish you if they get a lead.  The Kings are a team that struggle to compete for 48 straight minutes.  If coach Smart doesn’t get a solid performance out of his second unit in the first half, this game could be over before the break.

3.  After a short break to get some perspective, does Keith Smart finally settle on a rotation in the second half of the season?

The fans are starting to turn on Smart and not because his team is 19-35.  The constant dabbling with the rotation and the insistence on matching up to the opponent has worn thin.  Fans should never dictate your coaching strategy, but what if they are correct?

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

 

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.