The San Antonio Spurs play their first of eight regular season games today when they take on the Sacramento Kings. As it stands, the 27-36 Spurs are a half-game behind the 28-36 Kings. With a win, San Antonio would jump Sacramento in the standings.
If the Spurs have any hopes of advancing to the playoffs, this is a game they really need to win because it is arguably the easiest game on their schedule. Since the Spurs need to go at least 6-2 to keep their postseason hopes alive, a loss tonight could prove fatal.
If the Spurs can win tonight and then on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, their chances of making the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive seasons would improve greatly.
Starting Lineup for the San Antonio Spurs
In the three scrimmages, the Spurs started the same lineup in each game: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. That will very likely be the starting lineup tonight against the Kings.
The bench rotation remains a question mark. Patty Mills didn’t play in the scrimmages but if he’s healthy, it’s difficult to imagine him not playing in these regular season games. Bryn Forbes also didn’t play in the final scrimmage — but it’d be surprising if he’s completely out of the rotation against the Kings.
The bench players who appear to be a lock to get minutes tonight are Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Marco Belinelli and Drew Eubanks. If both Mills and Forbes are added back into the rotation, it could be Belinelli on the outside looking in.
Although young and inexperienced, it’s likely that Johnson and Eubanks displayed enough promise during the scrimmages to be in the rotation — at least at the outset of the restart.
The Sacramento Kings are the Favorites
It’s safe to say Vegas doesn’t believe in San Antonio’s chances. The Kings are a three-point favorite going into tonight’s game, which likely means the Spurs will be underdogs in each of their upcoming contests. In fact, the only other game in which the Spurs may be the favorites is Sunday versus the Grizzlies.
While the Kings will be without Marvin Bagley tonight, expect to see a lot of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Spurs and Kings have split their two meetings this year. The Spurs won in San Antonio in December and the Kings won in Sacramento in February. In both games, Hield led the Kings in scoring — with 23 points and 31 points, respectively.