Kings

Gameday: Streaking Kings host Spurs, welcome back old friend

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Gameday: Streaking Kings host Spurs, welcome back old friend

Home for the holidays. After a successful 2-2 road trip, the Sacramento Kings return to Golden 1 Center for a pre-Christmas matchup against familiar face Rudy Gay and the San Antonio Spurs.

Zach Randolph has been a monster for Sacramento, leading the team in both points and rebounds on the season. Against the Nets on Wednesday, the 17-year NBA veteran grabbed his 10,000 rebound, making him just the 20th player in NBA history to score 18,000 or more points to go with 10,000-plus rebounds.

Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox is out for the next two weeks at a minimum due to a slight tear in the right quadricep muscle. Fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic will likely start in his place.

San Antonio continues to be the model NBA franchise. They’ve made the playoffs 20 straight times and an astounding 37 of 41 times playoff appearances since joining the NBA for 1976-77 season. Gregg Popovich has a solid veteran team and he’s looking for his 19th straight season with 50 or more victories.

BETTING LINE:
Spurs by 7.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kings vs. Spurs Size -- It’s no secret that the Sacramento Kings lack size at the small forward position. Saturday against the Spurs, they’ll not only face All-Star Kawhi Leonard, but also Gay. Garrett Temple will likely get the start, but expect Dave Joerger to turn to Vince Carter, Justin Jackson and Malachi Richardson to slow San Antonio’s wings.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 11-20, fourth place in Pacific

Spurs: 22-11, second place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (slight right quad tear) out a minimum of two weeks, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January at the earliest.

Spurs: C Pau Gasol (groin) questionable, SG Danny Green (groin) questionable.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Guard the Mid-Range -- With the NBA trend moving towards ridiculous numbers of 3-point attempts, San Antonio has chosen their own path. They shoot more mid-range jumpers than any team in the league, but they do so with precision. Sacramento needs to stay alert defensively and play as a team if they hope to upset the Spurs.

Experience vs. Youth -- The Kings’ lack of experience has been an issue all season. With 10 players on rookie deals, it’s a work in progress for head coach Dave Joerger. San Antonio on the other hand has five players with 11 years of NBA experience of more, including Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker who have spent the last 16 seasons together with the Spurs.

Keep it Close at Home -- Sacramento has played 19 games on the road to just 12 at Golden 1 Center. They are 5-7 at home and 6-13 on the road so far. They are playing an aging Spurs lineup that is at the end of a three game road trip over a four night stretch. If they can stay close heading to the fourth quarter, the home crowd might be able to carry them home.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Spurs swept the Kings 4-0 last season and are currently riding a 10 game win streak over the Kings. San Antonio holds an 88-39 lead during the Sacramento-era and a 116-55 advantage all-time.

QUOTE:
“Love the city of Sacramento and my former teammates like brothers. As far as it being another game, it is. I’m not petty or have any hate in my heart. Just trying to focus on my craft.” -Rudy Gay via Twitter

Source: Kings' Marvin Bagley (thumb) out vs. Luka Doncic, Mavericks

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USATI

Source: Kings' Marvin Bagley (thumb) out vs. Luka Doncic, Mavericks

The Marvin Bagley-Luka Doncic matchup is going to have to wait until Jan. 15 at the earliest. Bagley (broken right thumb) will not play Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks at the Amerian Airlines Center, a league source told NBC Sports California.

Bagley came into Sunday questionable as he attempts to return from the injury that has cost him the last 20 games.

The second-year pro is a huge unknown for the Kings at this point. Bagley's approaching the seven-week mark in his rehab. He was cleared Thursday to resume full-contact basketball activities, but getting practice in is difficult during the busy NBA schedule.

In his second season, Doncic, who was selected third overall behind Bagley, has developed into an NBA superstar and MVP candidate. Sacramento passed on the talented Slovenian guard during the 2018 NBA Draft, choosing Bagley with the No. 2 overall selection.

Doncic is averaging an incredible 30.1 points, 10 rebounds and 9.2 assists in 33.4 minutes per game for coach Rick Carlisle.  The 20-year-old has also led the Mavericks to a 16-6 record, which was second in the Western Conference entering Sunday. 

In addition to Bagley, the Kings continue to play without De’Aaron Fox, who suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain and a bone bruise back on Nov. 11. The Kings’ starting point guard is expected to be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks, but is ahead of schedule.

[RELATED: NBA admits missed call at end of Kings' loss to Spurs]

Cory Joseph, who has started the last 12 games for Sacramento, was a game-time decision but is in the Kings' starting lineup again Sunday.

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

Again?

For the third time in a month, the NBA admitted the Kings were victims of an incorrect call late in a loss. This time, it came in Sacramento's 105-104 overtime defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. 

With 1:10 remaining in overtime and the Kings and Spurs tied 102-102, San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan started to drive into the lane. According to the NBA's Last Two Minute Report, which was released Saturday, DeRozen should have been called for a travel when he came to a stop.

Upon further review, it appears DeRozen's feet slide when he lands after a jump-stop. No call was made and 13 seconds later, Patty Mills was fouled on a missed 3-point attempt.

"DeRozan (SAS) gathers the ball and comes to a stop on two feet, and then slides both feet forward prior to releasing the pass," the league wrote.

Mills only made one of three free throws, but in reality, he never should have gotten three free throws. The Kings should have been granted possession with the game tied and 70 seconds left on the clock.

Instead, San Antonio took a one-point lead and went on to win.

On Nov. 26, the NBA announced that refs missed a traveling call on Boston's Marcus Smart, who would hit the game-winning shot.

Just 10 days before that, the NBA admitted that refs missed a foul call on LeBron James late in the Kings' 99-97 loss to the Lakers.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable]

At a certain point, the NBA needs to hold its refs accountable, right? How many calls do they have to blow before someone is disciplined?

But if the refs are going to continue to miss calls, maybe one or two can go the Kings' way.

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