Game 16 Preview: Kings at Spurs


The Kings bench, particularly Francisco Garcia and Isaiah Thomas, played big in Wednesday night’s home win against the Indiana Pacers.  The Kings, on the road again, may look to them and the rest of their bench as they try to upset the 10-5 San Antonio Spurs.

Gametime: 5:30  pm PST
Broadcast Information: Click here.
For Spurs perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network blog 48 Minutes of Hell.

Kings Probable Starters (5-10)

Tyreke Evans Marcus Thornton John Salmons Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins

History is not on the Kings side in this match-up.  They lost all three meetings to the Spurs last year and have lost 12 straight overall.  Their last win over San Antonio, a 112-99 victory at ARCO Arena, came five years ago in 2007.

Spurs Probable Starters (10-5)

Tony Parker
Kawhi Leonard
Richard Jefferson Tim Duncan
DeJuan Blair

San Antonio split its recent two-game Florida trip, losing to the Miami Heat on Tuesday and narrowly defeating the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.  They’re happy to be back home at the AT&T Center, where they’re currently undefeated at 9-0 this season.

3-on-3 Roundtable

You may be familiar with’s 5-on-5 roundtables, which feature Game 16 Preview: Kings at Spursopinion and analysis from ESPN writers and TrueHoop Network contributors on pressing NBA topics. Along with other THN blogs, Cowbell Kingdom has brought that format to the local level in the form of our own 3-on-3 roundtable.

Andrew McNeill and Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell join me to preview today’s Kings/Spurs game.

1. Match-up to watch?

Andrew McNeill:  Whoever guards Tyreke Evans. I’m guessing Kawhi Leonard will start on Evans, as Leonard has gotten most of the tough perimeter assignments since joining the starting lineup. Limiting Evans will go a long way towards a win.

Timothy Varner: Kawhi Leonard against Tyreke Evans is the most important match up. With Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter taking turns controlling DeMarcus Cousins, Evans is the King who could most hurt the Spurs.

Jonathan Santiago: How about Tim Duncan versus DeMarcus Cousins?  Ranked first in offensive rebounding percentage, Cousins pulled down a career high 12 offensive rebounds en route to 19 boards overall against the Pacers.  I think the only way Duncan keeps Cousins from abusing him on the boards is if he gets the Kings big man in foul trouble – a completely logical scenario.

2. Stat that decides the game…

Andrew McNeill:  I’m channeling my inner Pop here, but field goal percentage. If the Spurs can keep the Kings’ field goal percentage low, they’re going to win. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. I think.

Timothy Varner: Turnovers. It’s not rocket science, but San Antonio has had stretches of sloppy play this season that are accentuated by lazy passes and a general lack of discipline. They’re sharp when they protect their possessions.

Jonathan Santiago: I like the Kings chances if they keep the Spurs under 100 points tonight.  San Anantonio has averaged 103 points per game in their nine undefeated victories at home this season.  At 39 percent, Sacramento is the worst shooting team in the league right now.  If they can keep the game low scoring and ugly, like they did in the fourth quarter against the Pacers, this contest could be competitive.

3. True or False: The Kings made the right decision drafting Jimmer Fredette instead of Kawhi Leonard.

Andrew McNeill:  I say false.  Jimmer is primarily a shooter. In the NBA, you can find shooters at plenty of positions. Leonard, on the other hand, brings great potential for defense and strong rebounding from the small forward position. Both those skills are tougher to get.

Timothy Varner: False.  I’ve always felt that Jimmer would flop as a pro and nothing I’ve seen so far dissuades me. Leonard, on the other hand, will have a long career in the NBA. Leonard’s a better player.

Jonathan Santiago: Too early to make an assessment.  Jimmer has struggled, but it’s because he hasn’t played Jimmer ball yet.  We saw glimpses of that Wednesday night, unfortunately he was unable to connect on any of his four shot attempts.  Leonard, meanwhile, has been fantastic lately for the Spurs, but he too struggled to start as well.

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