SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings to begin postseason push at home vs. Spurs

Feb 22, 2024, 9:17 AM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings shoot against the San...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

This is where the fun begins.

Following a week-long NBA All-Star break, the Sacramento Kings will be back in action on Thursday night as they begin a push for a second-straight playoff appearance.

The Kings (31-23) have 28 games remaining on their regular season schedule, and each game will bring more importance than the last as the Western Conference is set to be a furious race to the finish line.

If Sacramento is to secure a top-six spot in the standings and avoid the Play-In, they will have to take advantage of the softer games on the schedule, starting with Thursday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs (11-44), owners of the worst record in the West.

While the Kings could be without All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis (illness), Sacramento will need to take care of business on their home floor before looking ahead to a brutal stretch that will include matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Playoff push starts now.

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Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -9.5, O/U 244.5

Tickets: Click here

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Spurs coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

No Sabonis, Big Problem?

According to the the NBA’s injury report database, Domantas Sabonis is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game.

Sabonis has been somewhat of an iron man for Sacramento since being acquired in 2022, as the 27-year-old has suited up for 148 of 162 (91%) possible regular season games.

If Sabonis is unable to go against the Spurs, head coach Mike Brown will likely call on reserve big Alex Len as the starter, while JaVale McGee and Trey Lyles would see an increase in playing time depending on the matchup situation.

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With 7’4 rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama set to make his Golden 1 Center debut, the loss of Sabonis could loom large on Thursday–especially when you factor in how well the 20-year-old has played over the past 20 games:

22.9 PTS | 9.9 REB | 1.1 STL | 3.3 BLK | 50% FG | 35% 3PT | 27.0 MIN

In the only meeting between the two teams this season on November 17th, Sabonis and Wembanyama each finished the night with 27 points, while Sabonis’ 14 rebounds and seven assists helped lead the Kings to a 129-120 win in San Antonio.

Wembanyama currently leads the NBA in blocks (156), blocks per game (3.2), and most games with 5+ blocks (12). If Sabonis is unable to go, Sacramento could look to cause most of their damage from the perimeter on Thursday night.

The Kings (30th) and Spurs (26th) have both struggled to contain their opponents’ three-point shooting this season, but the potential absence of Sabonis could increase Sacramento’s efforts from range against Wembanyama and a Spurs defense that is ranked fourth in blocks per game.

A Rested Fox

One of the positives to De’Aaron Fox being snubbed from an NBA All-Star nod was the fact that the speedy guard would have a chance to rest and re-charge for the home stretch.

Fox had looked a step slower in the weeks leading into the break, and the 26-year-old recently confirmed that he has been nursing a sore shoulder. The reigning Clutch Player of the Year was able to rest his shoulder at an ideal time, and now he will look to hit the ground running against San Antonio.

Over the past three seasons (2021-2024), Fox has been nearly unstoppable against the Spurs:

30.9 PTS | 6.7 AST | 1.3 STL | 55% FG | 35% 3PT | 5-2 record

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On November 17th in San Antonio, Fox had his strongest performance of the season during a 43-point outburst that also saw the guard grab eight rebounds, hand out seven assists, and knock down five of 11 attempts from three-point range.

If Sabonis is sidelined, Fox will see his time with the ball in his hands increase, meaning that we could see more attacks off the dribble and distribution to players like Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, and Harrison Barnes.

Fox is the head of the snake most nights, but we could see a bump in his usage if Sabonis is unable to suit up.

Keep An Eye on Keegan

No current member of the Kings needs a slump-busting performance more than Keegan Murray.

Over his past ten games, the sophomore holds averages of 10.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 42 percent shooting from the field and 28 percent from three-point range.

Sacramento head coach Mike Brown told reporters that Murray was “banged up” leading into the break, something that the forward confirmed during his media session on Tuesday, though he added that the injuries are “minor” and “nothing major.”

“I had some stuff, but it just comes with the season,” Murray said when asked if he was dealing with any injuries before the All-Star break. “It’s not going to go away in a couple days. We have the best training staff in the NBA, so I’m just going to stick with them the rest of the year.”

Murray, who was playing the best basketball of his career in December and January, could use bounce-back performance against the Spurs–especially if the Kings are playing shorthanded.

Sacramento will need another threat to emerge during the final stretch of the season, and Murray is the best option that the Kings have as a two-way threat next to Fox and Sabonis.

Kings vs. Suns Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Domantas Sabonis – DOUBTFUL (illness)
  • Sasha Vezenkov – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)

San Antonio

  • Marcus Morris Sr. – OUT (not with team)
  • Charles Bassey – OUT (left ACL tear)
  • Cidy Cissoko – OUT (G-League)
  • Mamadi Diakite – OUT (G-League)
  • David Duke Jr. – OUT (G-League)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Thursday, February 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 6:30 PM PST
  • Monday, February 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 28th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST

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