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.
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
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.
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.
“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