Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings – Game #78

The San Antonio Spurs continue their difficult three-game road trip on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings. Coming off a loss against the Golden State Warriors (see the Grades), the Spurs conclude the road trip on Tuesday versus Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.

Of the three teams the Spurs play on this trip, the Kings — yes, the Sacramento Kings — are the best of the bunch. They have a record of 47-30, which is good enough for the third spot in the Western Conference. Sacramento is two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the second seed and four games behind the Denver Nuggets for the top seed.

The Kings have clinched a spot in the playoffs, which classifies as a notable turn of events. Amazingly, this will be their first time in the postseason since they lost to the Spurs in six games all the way back in 2006. 

As for San Antonio, they’re in a race of a different kind. The Spurs are trying to finish as low in the standings as possible to improve their chances when it comes to the 2023 NBA Draft. Currently, their record of 19-58 is the third worst record in the league. The good news though is that the Houston Rockets won their last game and now the Spurs and Rockets both have 19 wins. That means there’s a very real chance that the Spurs could finish with the second worst record in the league — as long as they keep losing.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs don’t have a shortage of injuries these days. Going into the contest against the Kings, injuries continue to be a big issue. Two starters are listed as out: Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan. Vassell is sidelined due to left knee management, while Sochan is sidelined due to right knee soreness.

Keldon Johnson, San Antonio’s leading scorer, is listed as doubtful due to a right foot sprain. Additionally, three key bench players are iffy: Keita Bates-Diop is questionable due to a sprained ankle, Romeo Langford is questionable with left adductor injury management and Doug McDermott is probable with right elbow soreness.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

We know that head coach Gregg Popovich will start Zach Collins at center, Tre Jones at point guard and Malaki Branham at shooting guard. If Keldon Johnson is able to play, he’ll start. Keita Bates-Diop would also start if he’s able to play.

If Johnson and Bates-Diop are out, possible starters include Julian Champagnie, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Romeo Langford (if he’s healthy enough to give it a go).

Betting Guide: Spurs at Kings

The Kings are favored by 16 points and the over/under is 244 points. The smart money is on the Kings winning by 17 or more points. While that’s a lot of points, the Spurs are short-handed, have lost six straight games and there’s no sign that they’re interested in winning right now. Furthermore, the Kings can still move up in the standings, so they’ll be motivated to get a big win in front of their home fans.