Kings

Kings vs. Spurs watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

kingswgusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Kings vs. Spurs watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SACRAMENTO -- Keep it rolling.

The Sacramento Kings have strung together six straight victories on their home court, but they'll draw a tough test Monday evening at Golden 1 Center. They'll host a veteran San Antonio Spurs team that is right in the thick of the playoff chase, where they've been for the better part of four decades. 

Sacramento shocked the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday evening, beating one of the beasts of the east by a final of 115-108. Buddy Hield scored 34 points on 7-of-13 shooting from behind the arc and Willie Cauley-Stein stepped up against All-Star Joel Embiid.

The victory pushed the Kings two games over the .500 mark at 27-25, which matched their win total from last season. 

San Antonio is still cruising. They've made it to the playoffs 22 straight seasons under head coach Gregg Popovich, and a shocking 38 out of 42 seasons since joining the NBA for the 1976-77 season. They rely heavily on a group of 30-somethings to deliver night in and night out, including former Kings, Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:00. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Sacramento continues their six-game homestand Wednesday with a battle with the Houston Rockets. Miami, and Phoenix will follow, before the Kings finish their pre-All-Star break schedule with a stop in Denver.

Line

Spurs by 2

Projected Lineups

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Spurs
PG Bryn Forbes
SG DeMar DeRozan
SF Dante Cunningham
PF Rudy Gay
C LaMarcus Aldridge

Injury Report

Kings 
No injuries to report.

Spurs
PG Derrick White (heel) and PG DeJounte Murray (knee) are out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Dave Joerger's crew is fresh off a quality win over the Sixers. They survived Philly's big three of Embiid, Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons, who combined to score 80 points, grab 29 rebounds and dish out 13 assists.

Hield continues to shine in a scoring role for Sacramento. The third-year guard set a new career-high for 3-point makes in a season with 180. He is on pace to set an NBA record for most 3-point makes in the first three years of a player's career, which is currently held by the Blazers' Damian Lillard (599 makes).

Despite a 29-point, 17-rebound outburst from Embiid, Cauley-Stein played one of his better all-around games of the season. With the game on the line heading to the fourth quarter, the 7-footer held Embiid to just two points and three rebounds in the final frame to help the Kings come away with the win.

Spurs

Popovich is one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen. He's amassed 1,229 regular season wins and has five championship rings in his 23 seasons leading the Spurs.

San Antonio ranks in the middle of the NBA in both points per game (112.6) and points allowed (110.1). They play at the league's 23rd-fastest pace and lead the NBA in 3-point percentage at 40.8 percent, although they are 29th in attempts per game.

Aldridge and DeRozan combine to score over 42 points per game for the Spurs, but it's a deep squad with plenty of players that can hurt you.

Kings in position to redeem themselves after playoff stumble last year

Kings in position to redeem themselves after playoff stumble last year

SACRAMENTO -- Is it too early to scoreboard watch? Not if you’ve missed the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons like the Sacramento Kings.

After an emotional road trip that included a brutal overtime loss followed by two incredible wins in the final seconds of games in Dallas and Houston, the Kings looked tired Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

And then they looked like someone reminded them what a win would do for the team in the standings.

Behind a lively crowd, the Kings stormed back against the Oklahoma City Thunder and pulled off a come-from-behind 94-93 victory to move to 11-13 on the season.

With the Phoenix Suns losing on Wednesday, the Kings caught them in the standings. After an 0-5 start to the season, Luke Walton’s squad is now locked in a three-way for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings with the Suns and the Thunder.

“It was hard, the first five games, especially after the Charlotte game at home,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 17.3 seconds remaining. “It was really, really hard and we should never forget that feeling, especially right now when we feel good.”

Sacramento fans booed the Kings off the court following the team’s 118-111 loss to the Hornets on Oct. 30. There was confusion and anguish in the locker room, but the players accepted responsibility and came back out two days later and beat the Utah Jazz.

“We should use that as an experience, as an advantage and motivation,” Bogdanovic said of the dark times the team has already gone through this season.

The Kings aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch. They learned that lesson the hard way last year when they faded down the stretch in a season filled with promise.

After moving into the seventh and eighth positions on multiple occasions throughout the 82-game schedule, they dropped seven of their final 10 contests and finished nine games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

“Now we know how hard it is and how every game is important and we have to be locked in,” Bogdanovic insisted. “First game after a road trip was sloppy, like this one and we have to be locked in to play a much better game against New York.”

[RELATED: Fox feeling better, believes he's close to Kings return]

This is an important stretch of games for the Kings. They have climbed within two games of the .500 mark with games against the Knicks and Warriors on the docket. New York and Golden State have a combined 10-41 record on the season, but Sacramento is not in a position to look past anyone.

It’s really early to scoreboard watch. It was also really early when the Kings went winless to start the season.

Sacramento is motivated by the chase for the postseason. The Kings have a little taste of it now and a soft spot in the schedule. Let’s see how they react to the opportunity this time around.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 94-93 last-minute win over Thunder

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 94-93 last-minute win over Thunder

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- After two stunning road victories over the Mavs and Rockets, the Kings looked tired and disinterested for the better part of three quarters against the Thunder on Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center. 

And then they woke up.

In another barnburner, Bogdan Bogdanovic knocked down a 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining to give the Kings the 94-93 lead.

Oklahoma City isolated Chris Paul on Richaun Holmes on the final play and the Kings’ center locked down the future Hall of Fame guard as Sacramento escaped with its third straight win in dramatic fashion.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings shook off the rough start to stun the Thunder late to move to 11-13 on the season.  

Keep shooting

Hield has been streaky all season long and it was no different against the Thunder. The Kings’ leading scorer missed his first six shots before finally knocking down a triple to get things started.

He was spotty throughout the game until late when he kept Sacramento in it with one big shot after another.

Hield finished the night with 23 points, six assists and six rebounds. He shot just 9-for-24 from the field and 5-of-14 from long range, but the Kings needed a scoring punch and Hield kept firing until he found it.

A shot and a stop

Bogdanovic watched his fellow countryman Nemanja Bjelica drop in a 33-footer for the win Monday in Houston. He had a little magic of his own against a veteran OKC team. 

With the shot clock winding down, Bogi got his defender in the air, took a dribble and knocked down a huge shot from the left wing to give his team a one-point lead.

Moments later, it was the defense by Holmes that sealed the victory for Sacramento. Holmes finished the night with 10 points and seven rebounds, but he made his money with the stop to win it. 

[RELATED: Fox feeling better, believes he's close to Kings return]

Bagley back

After a 22-game absence with a broken thumb, power forward Marvin Bagley returned to action and played with energy. 

It wasn’t the performance the second-year big was looking for, but he managed to score 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action. 

One of the highlights for the former No. 2 overall pick was a play in the second quarter where he took the inbounds pass on one end, went coast-to-coast and scored over Steven Adams for the And-1. 

The Kings need Bagley to quickly integrate into the system and find his game after the extended layoff.