Articles | Game Preview

Kings vs. Spurs Preview: A Million Ways to Lose In the West

Don’t look now but this is the most winnable game the Kings have for a while.

The Sacramento Kings are in San Anto- no, no wait, we’ve just getting word they did not leave New Orleans after some plane trouble last night and are instead currently somewhere outside of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge after walking the whole night through. They’ve got roughly 5 hours to make it and at least that many if they jog to get to Houston so… man, who knows what’s happening tonight.

This is where a better man would find a way to drop an “Amarillo by Morning” reference - but I’m not that guy, pal. It’s time to transition to basketball for a moment! The Spurs are 1-2 since the All-Star Break, a break in which the team actually had a man worthy of an All-Star appearance, triple-double machine, Dejounte Murray! Can the new look, same result Kings continue to find a way to make their dying heaves of air interesting or are we all destined to tune out yet again, sacrificing our time in from to the TV to the basketball gods in the hopes of a lotto pick destined to climb?

Let's talk Kings basketball!

When: Thursday, March 3rd, 5:30 PM PT

Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

TV: NBCSCA - Mark Jones (play-by-play)

RadioKHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The Ox-Fox Incident: Before we get started I have to say there was just an absolutely plethora of cowboy movies that I wanted to hamfistedly cite here, I just picked the absolute dumbest one for the title. Starting a paragraph about not getting over Monte trading Haliburton? Unforgiven. Want to discuss the reason the Kings lost in New Orleans last night? The Shooting. Not sure how Donte DiVincenzo and the rest are gelling just yet? The Misfits. Want to go out on a limb and predict the Grizzlies in the finals AND get in another rant about tanking? How the West Was Won. I can literally go on with these all day. But I’ll slow my roll.

Remember last year when the Kings made one final, idiotic push for the 10th seed and all they had to do was beat a limping Spurs squad to really cement their spot… and going into the 4th quarter they were up big and then absolutely fell apart and lost in pathetic fashion? Well memory is falliable so whether you remember it or not, it happened, it happened that way and there is absolutely no other truth I’m willing to accept. Also, the Kings are now absolutely gasping for air, grasping at straws, trying to pull themselves up for one final push to that 10th spot… and the Spurs can be merciful tonight and step on Sacramento’s throats once and for all.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suddenly grumpy and throwing a fit about where the Kings should be or what they should have done. The play-in was always a daydream. It was a daydream when they brought Luke Walton back and said he was the coach to get them to the playoffs, it was a daydream after the Kings bushwhacked the Hornets and hit a franchise record number of threes, it was a daydream when they traded for 35% of their playing time for new players at the deadline. Daydreams are nice to have, destructive to have too often and well, always tend to escape us without coming to fruition. I’m glad that Monte McNair hedged his language in the press tour he did post-deadline, stating that it would be nice if they made a run but they weren’t really aiming for it as a hard, fast goal.

Just thought of another one. Wanna hype up Trey Lyles outstanding performance a couple of nights ago? The Tall T. 

The rest of this season should be as blatant a tank job as can be done without permanently discouraging De’Aaron Fox or Domantas Sabonis. I know the smart thing is to stagger their minutes so there’s always one of them on the floor but if I were the GM putting pressure on a coach that might not be long for this NBA world, I’d be telling him to keep their minutes in perfect alignment, save for foul trouble. Let the bench play you out of games, give Fox and Domas all the time in the world together and then maybe with 10 games to spare hit them with an off-arm elbow injury and yank every thing out of the walls. Regardless of your wants and needs and intentions for after the draft lottery, winning culture isn’t going to be established in these final handfuls of games. You want some extra camaraderie between star players? Get a top 5 pick to get you on the path towards winning meaningful games. You’ll see lots of hugs and fist bumps if this team is .500 in January next year. Use the pick to trade for vets if you hate me, use it to draft the next Scottie Barnes if you have a heart… but use this time to invest in your team’s future, the present be damned.

As for the game tonight? It should be fun. I love Pop and have never bet against him in all my decade of thinking “man next year might be the year the Spurs fully collapse!” The Spurs would have been my team if the Kings left for Seattle I think and much like the girl you didn’t ask out in middle school because the timing was never right, you still have a soft spot for those maybe-but-didn’t loves. The aforementioned Murray, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson… they’re a nice young core of guys to build around. I hope this isn’t Pops last year, but if it is… I’ll be absolutely gutted for the NBA and excited to see his complete transition into Napa Don Nelson.

Two more to close this thing out. Wanna talk about Richaun Holmes freak injury luck this year and how his shooting fell off a cliff after getting smashed in the eye again? One Eye Jacks. Randomly talk some smack about the Lakers? No Country for Old Men.

Prediction

Josh Primo is gonna be the random guy to score 20+ on the Kings tonight. Pop retires at the end of the season and the Spurs quickly name Kenny Atkinson their new coach. Sacramento riots at the news.

Kings: 104, Spurs: 103

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Jman1949
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March 3, 2022 1:30 pm

Pop’s close to most coaching wins ever—
A Hall-of-Fame-worthy endeavor.
Our coaches can’t match him;
No chance they will catch him
‘Cause to win you have to be clever!

1951
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March 3, 2022 1:32 pm

this is the most winnable game the Kings have for a while.”

We still use words like this to talk about the Kings?

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RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 3:08 pm
Reply to  1951

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TerzoM
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March 3, 2022 3:34 pm
Reply to  1951

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TerzoM
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March 3, 2022 2:47 pm

Another Must Win Game!
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GrandCanyonFunyun
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March 3, 2022 3:11 pm

Season is still going huh. Can’t wait for it to be over.

JoeEnzyme
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March 3, 2022 3:15 pm

Thank you for using the word, “plethora.” It means a lot.

KingofNOthing
March 3, 2022 3:17 pm

I would look forward to the draft, but they screw that up too… (Traded Haliburton, passed on Luka). We can`t have nice things in Sac.

satdawg
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March 3, 2022 3:35 pm
Reply to  KingofNOthing

If Monte thought Rese had the potential to be a superstar do you think he would have traded him? I don’t think he has much higher of a ceiling, and he’s probably better suited as a sixth man.

KingofNOthing
March 3, 2022 3:47 pm
Reply to  satdawg

Wow, you really believe he is a sixth man??? He passes, shoots, and gets its in passing lanes at an elite level. The reality is, Mcnair panicked traded Hali 2 days before the deadline, probably cause all his previous deals had gone sideways. You factor in his skills and his contract, you will never convince me this was a good trade.
Just another in a long list of screwups by the Kings, there is a reason this franchise has been a joke well over a decade.

deepshot22
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March 3, 2022 3:48 pm
Reply to  satdawg

Are you fucking high?

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 3:51 pm
Reply to  satdawg

Rese was worth a top 35 player on a good value contract. He needs to build on his game, but the list of NBA 22 year olds that are better than Rese is a short one. I can come up with LaMelo, Ja and healthy Zion (which may turn out to be an oxymoron).

Last edited 8 months ago by RobHessing
andy_sims
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March 3, 2022 4:27 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

The list of 25 year-olds better than Sabonis isn’t exactly Grand Central Station.

Kingsguru21
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March 3, 2022 4:44 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’d add Anthony Edwards to that list, too.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kingsguru21
RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 4:49 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

100%. Good catch.

Kingsguru21
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March 3, 2022 4:53 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

The list isn’t long though. Mobley, Barnes and Cunningham would also leap him in short order IMO.

Thing is, all these guys were drafted in the top 5. Rese is the only one not top 10.

Carl
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March 3, 2022 5:04 pm
Reply to  satdawg

I don’t think he has much higher of a ceiling, and he’s probably better suited as a sixth man.

In eight games with the Pacers, Tyrese is averaging 20 points, 9.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals, on .509 FG%, and .439 3P%.

That would be third in the NBA in 3P%, would led the league in steals, would lead all NBA guards in FG%, and be third in the NBA in assists per game. Tyrese is a serious threat to make the All Star team *next year*.

andy_sims
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March 4, 2022 9:11 am
Reply to  Carl

Indy is 3-5 since he got there, and Haliburton put up great numbers here in plenty of losses. This is hardly his fault, but if people are going to lambaste Fox for having great numbers without leading to wins, well, sir, those slings and arrows are going to find Ty as well.

As Jerry has said more than once, every terrible team has a leading scorer.

I’ve also just noticed that Buddy Hield is 20.6/4.8/5.5/.9 steals per game, and dropping 3.5 threes each night. He’s also averaging 1.5 fewer turnovers per game. I eagerly await the elegy in his honor.

Daydreamer
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March 3, 2022 3:19 pm

Since there was a lot about daydreams, I figured I should say something. I played my best ball in daydreams, particularly in college, when I should have been studying calculus. And even in daydreams I wasn’t very good. Now I’m too old to daydream. 😜

Bluejohn
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March 3, 2022 4:57 pm
Reply to  Daydreamer

A younger man’s daydreams quickly become an older man’s fantasies .

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 5:11 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

Which then becomes an even older man’s gateway to an afternoon nap, which then becomes a fever dream, which then becomes a commitment hearing, which then becomes rationed pudding at the home.

You and me, buddy. Commandeering the remote and putting the Kings game on at Shady Acres Rest Home. See you there!

murraytant
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March 3, 2022 3:37 pm

“Winnable”- the only way this game is a win is if the SAS score more points than the Kings.
The difference is 1-2 slots higher in the lottery. The difference say, between Davion (who I actually do like) and Josh Giddey or F. Wagner.
If the draft people are smart-unlike the Bagley crew- they can exploit this difference.
My top 10 players in draft:
Smith
Banchero
Holmgren (this year’s Bagley)
Ivey
Griffin
Davis
Murray
Sharpe
Agbaji
Mathurin
Duren

That’s 11 and the last 4 are big risk. The difference between 7 and 8-11 seems, at this point, great.
I have my dirty old Kings hat on- looking ahead.

deepshot22
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March 3, 2022 3:50 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I can’t tell the future, but I can tell you that Holmgren is absolutely not this year’s Bagley.

eddie41
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March 3, 2022 4:10 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Did you consider Dyson Daniels for that list?

eddie41
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March 3, 2022 4:11 pm

Free Neemie!

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 4:18 pm

SSS approved, but Buddy Hield’s TS% is 50 points higher in Indy, and his assist percentage has doubled. Rese’s TS% is almost 80 points higher.

andy_sims
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March 3, 2022 4:28 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And yet no one is pining for Buddy, one of the elite volume shooters in the history of the game.

He never should have signed that big contract he was offered. The nerve.

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 4:58 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Meanwhile, Marvin Bagley’s consecutive game streak with Detroit was halted at 4.

Carl
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March 3, 2022 5:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Fun fact – In Bagley’s career, he’s taken about 12 shots per assist. In Detroit, ultra small sample size approved, he’s taken 39 shots with one assist.

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 5:12 pm
Reply to  Carl

To be fair, it was a nice assist.

Gregoryl
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March 3, 2022 5:12 pm
Reply to  Carl

MVPs don’t need to make assists.

andy_sims
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March 4, 2022 9:15 am
Reply to  RobHessing

At this point, those still dunking on Bagley, particularly about injuries?

Let it go, man. Bagley has been traded. I’m not sure why some people engaged in it while he was here, but now that he’s gone? Seems rather pathological, honestly.

Gregoryl
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March 3, 2022 5:00 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

In regards to Buddy: garbage + any improvement = garbage.

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 5:03 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Perhaps. The guy dressed every night, a rarity in today’s NBA. And he hustled.

There are shortcomings to Hield’s game, and his public contract squabble did him no favors in the popularity arena. He was a better player under Dave Joerger, and now he appears to perhaps be a better player under Rick Carlisle (again, a very small sample size).

I don’t think that anyone around here is ever going to miss Buddy Hield, but Carlisle just might be able to squeeze enough out of him to make his contract less onerous.

Gregoryl
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March 3, 2022 5:09 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I imagine that Carlisle will get more out of Buddy than the Kings could this season, but the last 18 months of his time here was a joke. Bad shooter, bad defender, and paid $20M+ to do-so. He had to go.

RobHessing
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March 3, 2022 5:13 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Absolutely. His time here was done long before he was jettisoned.

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