Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings – Game #44

The San Antonio Spurs (23-20) will look to continue their winning way tonight when they take on the Sacramento Kings (21-25) in the AT&T Center. After a four-game losing streak, the Spurs were able to get a victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. San Antonio dominated much of the game before hitting a dry spell in the second. Although their 36-point lead was cut to only nine points, the Spurs were able to hold on for a 120-104 victory.

Following a slow start to the season, the Kings have really turned it around as of late. They are riding a four-game winning streak. In their last seven games, Sacramento has six victories.

The Spurs moved back up to the seventh seed in the Western Conference, a half-game above the eighth seeded Dallas Mavericks. The Kings are the 11th seed, one game behind the 10th seeded Golden State Warriors.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs will once again be without Lonnie Walker IV and Keita Bates-Diop. Walker is dealing with a wrist injury but he’s expected to return within a week or so. Bates-Diop has a hamstring injury, however a timeline for his return has not been given.

Devin Vassell left the Bulls loss after twisting his ankle. The good news is that he’s listed as probable for tonight’s contest.

Gorgui Dieng, who the Spurs signed after he got bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies, officially inked his contract with San Antonio today but won’t play in the game against the Kings.

First Look at Tyrese Haliburton

During the 2020 NBA Draft, the Spurs had to have considered drafting Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State. San Antonio had the 11th pick in the draft and when it was their turn to make their selection, Haliburton was the biggest name still available. Ultimately, the Spurs decided to pick Devin Vassell instead. With the 12th pick, the Kings drafted Haliburton.

Thus far, Haliburton has been very productive for Sacramento. He’s now in their starting lineup and he’s averaging 13.1 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds, while shooting 48.8% from the floor, 43.1% from three-point range and 86.8% at the free throw line.

While Vassell hasn’t played as many minutes as Haliburton, the Spurs have to be happy with what they’ve seen so far out of the swingman from Florida State. He’s averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game, while shooting 41.6% from the floor, 41.5% on three-pointers and 86.7% at the line. Additionally, Vassell has been a very good defender from his first minutes in the NBA.