Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings – Game #45

The San Antonio Spurs (23-21) will look to recover from a poor performance two nights ago against the Sacramento Kings (22-25). The Kings outplayed the Spurs for the vast majority of the game on their way to a convincing 132-115 victory.

The Spurs are 1-4 on their nine-game homestand and they are now just 11-14 at home on the season. That’s a surprisingly bad record considering San Antonio is 12-7 on the road, the third best mark in the entire NBA.

The Kings have now won five straight and seven of their last eight games. On Monday, they had seven players score at least 13 points, including their entire starting lineup. They also hit 18-of-36 three-pointers and turned the ball over just six times.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

There was hope that Lonnie Walker IV was going to be able to play tonight but that hope is now gone. He entered the day listed as probable but he has been downgraded to out.

Joining Walker on the sidelines with be Trey Lyles and Keita Bates-Diop. Lyles reportedly hurt his ankle during practice, while Bates-Diop has missed more than two weeks since pulling his hamstring earlier in the month against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The good news is that Gorgui Dieng will be available tonight and should make his Spurs debut. Dieng signed with the team after getting bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies. The expectation is for Dieng to be the team’s backup center. If that happens, expect Eubanks to be bumped out of the rotation.

Can the Spurs Salvage their Homestand?

The Spurs have started off their homestand about as poorly as thought possible. Losing four of their first five games at home is surprising, especially considering they were coming off of a successful five-game road trip.

San Antonio can still salvage the homestand. Their four remaining games on the homestand (Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers) won’t be easy but they are all winnable. If the Spurs can go 4-5 or 5-4 on the homestand, that’d have to be classified as a positive considering their slow start.

Doing well on this homestand is important because the Spurs have a five-game road trip right after the homestand ends.

Spurs vs. Kings – How the Spurs Can Win

San Antonio’s improvements need to begin on the defensive end. The Kings only ran a few plays but they were continually successful. Specifically, the middle pick-and-roll between Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes is something the Spurs need to figure out how to stop — or at least slow down.

Can Dieng provide a spark? It’s certainly possible. He’s a capable defender and shot-blocker, so perhaps he can help defend that aforementioned pick-and-roll set. On offense, Dieng can shoot threes, so hopefully the Spurs don’t have such a big deficit in that category. In the first game between these two teams, the Kings had 18 made three-pointers and the Spurs only had ten made three-pointers.