San Antonio Spurs -5.5 at Sacramento Kings (Total: 198)
The Spurs finally lost their first game of the season two nights ago, getting trounced by the Clippers in Los Angeles. However, prior to that, they had looked like the fantastic Spurs we have grown accustomed too; crisp ball movement, clutch point guard play, a deep bench and a consistent team defense. Tonight they travel to face a Sacramento team who would generally be described as NONE of those things.
Sacramento has some physical talent, but when it comes to execution and playing fundamental basketball, the Spurs traditionally have their way with them. San Antonio has won four straight games in Sacramento, covering the point spread in every one of their victories.
Tonight, they will try to make it a fifth straight win, and I think they have an excellent chance to do so.
The Spurs have a +3.6 ppg differential, and the main reason is that they are efficient on offense and don’t take a ton of bad shots. Contrast that with Sacramento who has a -4.4 ppg differential, and is shooting just 41% as a team on the season. The Spurs shoot 47.3% as a team. The NBA average is right around 44%. The Spurs are three points above, the Kings are three points BELOW. I think that stats speaks volumes for the shot selection and maturity of each team.
Sacramento has been known to “get up” for marquee home games over the past few years, knocking off the Lakers and Heat, but I don’t see Coach Pop’s squad getting caught napping tonight. They will have some difficulty with DeMarcus Cousins and his relentless offensive rebounding, but the depth inside beyond Duncan; Splitter, Blair, Bonner, etc SHOULD give them enough bodies to rotate and stay fresh.
San Antonio has owned Sacramento over the last three or four seasons, winning 19 of 21 games, and winning them by an average margin of nearly nine points per contest. I see no reason that trend won’t continue tonight. To make matters worse, the Kings will be without top draft pick Thomas Robinson who is suspended two games for a blatant elbow thrown into the face of Jonas Jerebko last game.
Tony Parker should provide a nice education tonight for young Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (no, not that Isaiah Thomas), and the Spurs in general should provide a nice glimpse as to what an efficient, unselfish, disciplined basketball team looks like. Hopefully for Sacramento fans, the young Kings are paying attention.
Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs -5.5