NBA

Preview: Kings to face Victor Wembanyama, Spurs for first time

Nov 17, 2023, 8:42 AM

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 04: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball during...

(Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Are you ready for another night filled with bright-colored courts and flashy–or, in some cases, interesting–new uniforms?

It’s NBA In-Season Tournament night, meaning that each team that takes the floor on Friday night will be looking to solidify its position in the Group Play standings.

The Sacramento Kings (6-4) have been on a roll over the past week, as they will seek a fifth-straight win when they come face-to-face with star rookie Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs (3-8) at the Frost Bank Center.

San Antonio has fallen on hard times after opening the season with a 3-2 record, as they have dropped six straight games heading into Friday’s matchup. While the Spurs have struggled thus far (including 0-2 in Group Play), the Kings can’t let their guard down.

Sacramento is looking to improve to 2-0 in the In-Season Tournament, which would put them in a strong position heading into their next Group Play matchup that will take place next Friday in Minnesota.

It’s the red-hot Kings facing Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs in the NBA In-Season Tournament. Let’s dive in.

Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs Game Info

NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

When: 4:30 PM PST

Where: Frost Bank Center – San Antonio, TX

TV: NBC Sports California, ESPN

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 3:00 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -8.5, O/U 238.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Spurs coverage, beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from Texas.

Nice to meet you, Wemby

The Kings will get their first look at Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old French phenom who has taken the basketball world by storm after being selected with the top pick in June’s NBA Draft.

Standing at 7’4 with an incredible eight-foot wingspan, Wembanyama has already posed a problem for opposing offenses as the rookie has swatted 2.4 blocks per game (third in the NBA) over the first ten games of the regular season.

The big man is no slouch on the offensive end either, as Wembanyama enters Friday with averages of 18.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point land.

While ‘Wemby’ has been a force in the paint on the defensive end, San Antonio is ranked 22nd in defending the paint this season (52.4 points allowed per game).

Domantas Sabonis has been on a roll for Sacramento to begin the season, and the All-Star center could pose a problem for Wembanyama if the rookie can’t match Sabonis’ level of physicality.

During the Kings’ four-game winning streak, Sabonis has been aggressive on offense (24.0 points per game) while continuing to be a force on the glass (12.3 rebounds) and in the passing lanes (9.8 assists).

Keep an eye on these two imposing big men on Friday in what is shaping up to be the matchup of the night.

Let It Fly

De’Aaron Fox’s return has opened up the floor for his sharpshooting teammates. Fox, who missed five games due to a sprained ankle, returned on Monday night–the offense followed.

During the five-game stretch without Fox, Sacramento scored 102.6 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the three-point line.

In the two games following Fox’s return? 128.5 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from deep.

After shooting 20 percent from deep during the first five games of the season, Kevin Huerter has been a flamethrower for the Kings over the past five contests.

‘Red Velvet’ is averaging 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 55/48/87 shooting splits. The 48 percent rate from beyond the arc–on 9.4 attempts, by the way–has been huge for Sacramento’s thriving offense.

Huerter and the Kings will look to stay hot from three-point land against a Spurs defense that is 29th out of 30 teams in defending the three-point line, as opponents are knocking down 40.3 percent of their attempts from deep against San Antonio this season.

Expect Sacramento to continue letting it fly on Friday night.

NBA In-Season Tournament Standings & Info

Group Play games will be played on “Tournament Nights,” which will occur every Tuesday and Friday from Nov. 3-28. The only NBA games played on Tournament Nights will be Group Play games.

Eight teams will advance to the Knockout Rounds: the team with the best standing in Group Play games in each of the six groups and one “wild card” team from each conference.

The wild card will be the team from each conference with the best record in Group Play games that finished second in its group.

Kings vs. Spurs Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Trey Lyles – OUT (left calf strain)
  • Alex Len – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Colby Jones and Jordan Ford are on G-League assignment

San Antonio

  • Keldon Johnson – PROBABLE (right knee soreness)
  • Tre Jones – DOUBTFUL (right hamstring strain)
  • Devin Vassell – OUT (left adductor tightness)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, November 17th – Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs** – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Monday, November 20th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 22nd – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
  • Friday, November 24th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves** – 5:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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