Scouting the Kings: Kings allow teams to score, a lot

After getting their revenge in a 21-point blowout of the Los Angeles Lakers in front of a bunch stars in SKHollywood on Tuesday evening, the San Antonio Spurs (44-16) wrap up their three-game West coast road trip in Sacramento.

The Spurs will play the Kings as the Spurs are playing their last night of their back-to-back-to-back sequence. The Spurs didn’t use DeJuan Blair against the Lakers, so he should be ready to take on heavy minutes against the Kings.

The indication is that the “big three” of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili who tore apart the Lakers, will most likely sit this game out. Even without the “big three”, the Spurs still have plenty of depth to field a highly efficient roster as their bench scored 67 points against the Golden State Warriors, and 45 points against the Lakers.

The Spurs are on a four-game winning streak yet again, as they face a Kings team that won its last game against the depleted Portland Trailblazers, but are 2-8 in their last 10 games, and 15-15 at home.

Case No. 61: Sacramento Kings (20-41)

Scorers

Marcus Thornton – 18.6 points (15.7 FGA), DeMarcus Cousins – 17.6 points (15.2 FGA), Tyreke Evans – 16.5 points (14.5 FGA), Isaiah Thomas – 11.4 points (8.8 FGA), Terrence Williams – 9.7 points (8.2 FGA), Jason Thompson – 8.6 points (6.7 FGA), Jimmer Fredette – 7.5 points (7.2 FGA), John Salmons – 7.5 points (7.5 FGA)

The Kings have eight players who have good scoring numbers, but if you look at their amount of attempts, you notice they have a very poor efficiency as it takes almost each shot to get their average amount of points.

Shooting/Posting High Percentages

Jason Thompson (52%), Terrence Williams (48%)

Three-point marksmen

Marcus Thornton (6.1 x 3PT FGA – 35%), Jimmer Fredette (3.6 x 3PT FGA – 37%), Isaiah Thomas (3.4 x 3PT FGA – 37%)

Gets to the free throw line

DeMarcus Cousins (5.8 FTA – 71%), Tyreke Evans (4.2 FTA – 78%), Marcus Thornton (3.3 FTA – 87%)

Cousins and Evans’ ability to get to the free throw line can be a problem; the Spurs must do their best to keep the two of them away from the line. When the Spurs lost to the Kings in San Antonio earlier in the season, Evans’ driving ability and getting to the line was a big reason for the loss.

Enforcers in the paint

DeMarcus Cousins (11 rebounds), Jason Thompson (6.8 rebounds)

Passers

Tyreke Evans (4.6 assists)

Stealers

DeMarcus Cousins (1.5 steals), Tyreke Evans (1.4 steals), Marcus Thornton (1.4 steals), Terrence Williams (1.1 steals)

Denying the Rim

DeMarcus Cousins (1.2 blocks)

Offense vs. Offense

1. Points: Spurs (102.3) – Kings (98.1) = Spurs

2. Assists: Spurs (22.7) – Kings (19.1) = Spurs

3. Shooting percentage: Spurs (47%) – Kings (43.2%) = Spurs

4. Three point shooting percentage: Spurs (39%) – Kings (31.6%) = Spurs

5. Turnovers: Spurs (13.1) – Kings (14.1) = Spurs

Offensive Leader: Spurs 5-0

Defensively, the Spurs just need to play their usual defensive game. The Kings shoot a low percentage from the field, and especially from beyond the arc.

Defense vs. Defense

1. Opponent scoring: Spurs (96.3) – Kings (104.3) = Spurs

2. Opponent shooting: Spurs (45%) – Kings (47%) = Spurs

3. Opponent 3PT shooting: Spurs (36%) – Kings (36%) = Tie

4. Rebounds: Spurs (42.8) – Kings (43.2) = Kings

5. Personal Fouls: Spurs (17.3) – Kings (19.6) = Spurs

Defensive Leader: Spurs 3-1, one tie

If the “big three” don’t play, the Spurs will need a few players to have big nights, but anyone who gets minutes is capable of producing big numbers as the Kings allow their opponents to shoot 47%, which means there should be a lot of open shots.

Game Expectation

As I’ve stated over the last two previews, one can never know which lineups or players Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will use during a back-to-back game. Regardless of Pop’s decision, the Spurs should have enough depth to sustain Sacramento’s offensive attack, and the Spurs should have a chance to stay with the Kings, who have only won 20 games all season long.

It’s the third night of a back-to-back-to-back; my guess is the Spurs won’t shoot too high of a shooting percentage, not because of good Kings defense, but because of tired legs.

I still think a Spurs team missing its core players can possibly win against the Kings, so long as they continue to run their game plan on both ends of the floor.

The Spurs will have their chance at a win; the Kings’ defense will allow them to. All the Spurs need to do is put the ball in the hole.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX and the 2013 NBA Finals.

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