Preview: San Antonio At Sacramento
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California
The San Antonio Spurs hope to have defensive stopper Kawhi Leonard back in the lineup when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. The All-Star forward missed three consecutive games because of a left calf injury and San Antonio has allowed an average of 109.7 points without his services.
Leonard was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year last season and his absence has reminded everyone how crucial he is to a Spurs’ team that owns the best 56-game record in franchise history. San Antonio allows a league-low 92.7 points but has given up at least 105 in each of the games Leonard has missed. “I’m concerned, it’s terrible,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “We stink on ‘D’ right now. We’ll see if we can get better.” Sacramento All-Star DeMarcus Cousins figures to test the Spurs’ defense as he scored 39 points on Tuesday to lead the Kings to their third consecutive victory, 114-110 over the Denver Nuggets.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, KENS (San Antonio), CSN California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE SPURS (47-9): Backup point guard Patty Mills has scored 15 or more points in three of the past four games and matched his career high of six 3-pointers while scoring 21 points against Phoenix on Sunday. Mills has played superbly in February by averaging 14.3 points and shooting 51 percent from 3-point range while seeing playing time at both guard positions with backup shooting guard Manu Ginobili sidelined after testicular surgery. The seventh-year pro has six double-digit outings this month, including two 20-point performances.
ABOUT THE KINGS (24-31): Cousins is averaging 34.7 points and 13.7 rebounds during Sacramento’s three-game winning streak and the 30-point outing Tuesday was the 53rd of this career. He would like to be part of the postseason for the first time in his stellar career and the Kings are 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Utah Jazz with one-third of the season to go. “The team’s been through a lot, been a lot of ups and downs,” Cousins told reporters. “Seems like people are giving up on the team, but I’m the complete opposite. I still think we have a great chance, I still believe, (we are) trying to make a push.”
1. The Spurs have won the past four meetings, including 106-88 in Sacramento on Nov. 9.
2. Sacramento PG Rajon Rondo had 12 assists against the Nuggets and is averaging 13.7 over the past six games.
3. San Antonio C Tim Duncan is averaging 6.3 points on 8-of-29 shooting in four games since returning from a knee injury.
PREDICTION: Spurs 110, Kings 105