Game Preview: Kings (9-6) at Spurs (10-4)


That Houston Rockets game on Wednesday was a mess, wasn’t it? I have no desire to relive it, but if you happened to miss our post game coverage you can find it here. Let’s just move on.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Kings fans!

Its black Friday and the Kings are in San Antonio to face the Spurs, a team that hasn’t lost since the Kings beat then in Sacramento on November 15th.

Last time out, the Kings were able to wear out the undermanned and undersized Spurs inside. DeMarcus Cousins went for 25 points, including a few really nice post moves over Tim Duncan in crunch time. In that game, the Spurs were without their starting center, Tiago Splitter, which forced some combination of Jeff Ayres and Aron Baynes on Cousins. They can’t cover Cousins.

Splitter is still injured, so Cousins should have a similar post advantage tonight. The Spurs are the smartest and best coached team in the league, however, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they found other ways to limit Cousins. If he goes off like he did on November 15th, the Kings will be in good shape.

Rudy Gay and Darren Collison are listed as questionable for tonight’s game. If you watched the Rockets game on Wednesday, you know how much the Kings need Collison back. Gay is an important part of this team as well, but Omri Casspi has done a marvelous job filling in that gap. Ramon Sessions has been struggling all season, and he was horrendous again in Houston. Without Collison running the show, the Kings are going to be in trouble.

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  • I don’t think we’re too far away from Ray McCallum jumping Ramon Sessions in the rotation. I can see it happening as early as tonight, because as poor as Sessions has been on offense, he hasn’t shown the ability to defend his position, either. The Kings will see Tony Parker tonight, and I’d feel a lot better about the Kings chances defensively with McCallum out there.

    The Spurs are going to be without their head coach, Gregg Popovich, who is resting after a minor medical procedure. Get well soon, Pop.

    Who knows what kind of advantage the Kings will gain out of Pop’s absence. It could be something, it could be nothing, but it’s worth noting.

    The Spurs started Boris Diaw in their game against the Pacers Wednesday night. Against the Kings two weeks ago, they started Aron Baynes. The Spurs are not afraid to mix up their starting lineup, so the Kings need to be ready for anything. If they start Diaw again tonight, Michael Malone may have to make a few adjustments.

    As great as Jason Thompson has been defensively, you want him near the basket, not chasing Diaw around the perimeter. It will be interesting to see how the Kings will play it, because they’ve struggled against stretch four’s all year. Need I remind you how poor the Kings defended Ryan Anderson?

    The Kings have a lot going against them tonight. They are on the road. They may or may not be without Gay and Collison (I’m leaning towards both of them sitting this one out). And the Spurs are going to really want this one considering the Kings already beat them once this season.

    This is a loss on paper, but they play the games for a reason. A win tonight in San Antonio would be huge.

    Check back in to A Royal Pain after the game for our recap.