1. Most game previews will now be posted at 2 PM Pacific. The exception is when we have an early game, in which case it will be noon. Except in the case of this Sunday's game in Toronto, which starts really early, in which the preview will be as early as humanly possible.
2. Beloved commenter HighTops will now provide a scouting report for most previews. It will replace "THE OPPONENT" and "LAST TIME." It will be called "THE SCOUTING REPORT." The rest of the preview will remain in my words. HighTops will also supply his own Game Keys in the comments at some point for most previews.
THE SCOUTING REPORT
Brought to you by HighTops:
January wasn’t kind to the Spurs; they were 8-8, splitting their road games 3-3 and their home games 5-5. Which left them 27-19 for the season, and an unimpressive 8-9 on the road. And, even though they’ve beaten the Kings twice this season, both games were in San Antonio. So, things aren’t going to be as easy as they were in the Bat Cave.
Our first meeting was too early in the new season, to be of any value when evaluating these teams. Westphal played all 12 players on the roster, but started Mason & May. The 3 rookies played 58min but only scored 15pts on 19 FGA’s. And, the 113-94 final score was to be expected.
So, I’m going to concentrate on the Bat Bowl, on Dec. 9th when the Spurs won 118-106. Westphal went with one his shortest rotations of the season, 8 players mostly with Ime seeing less than 3 minutes being the 9th. Martin was out so the starting lineup was JT, Spence, Donte, Noc, and Tyreke. Six players finish in double digits with Noc going 8/1/1, Sergio 4/4/2, and Ime 0/0/0.
The Kings won the battle inside 15ft by +10, and the Spurs won the long jumper and 3pt-shooting contest by +12, and the Spurs won the FT shooting by +8, going 16-22 to the Kings 8-15. The Spurs were only called for 14 fouls while the Kings heard the whistle 26 times. Rebounding was close with the Kings winning the Offensive boards by +2.
JT had an interesting game with 19pts/9rebs on 8-14 shooting in almost 42 minutes with only 1 turnover. The game didn’t start out well for Jason. In the first quarter he went 0-3 with two of his attempts blocked, and he had Mano steal the ball for his only turnover. He didn’t get his 1st points until he got a lay-up 3minutes into the 2nd quarter off a Sergio assts. Less than a minute later another lay-up on another Sergio assist, and Jason was off. He scored 9pt in less than 5 minutes. JT scored only one basket in the 3rd on a put back after a Hawes miss. Then in the 4th, he scored his last 8pts which again started with a Sergio assisted lay-up and continued for a little less than 5 minutes. In total 10 of JT’s pts were assisted lay-ups, 3pts came at the foul line, 2pts off an offensive rebound and 4pts were on plays where he created on his own.
The Kings were able to score at the rim at a 65% rate with Tyreke hitting 6-10, JT hitting 6-8 (4assisted), and Spence 4-5. Where the Kings lost the game was not getting any foul calls. JT lead the Kings in FTA’s going 3-5 and Tyreke who was 1-3 was 2nd in attempts.
THE KEY BATTLE
George Hill vs. Tyreke Evans. Tony Parker has a busted wheel, putting the youngster Hill in the spotlight at the start of San Antonio's Rodeo Trip. Evans is a bit busted himself, so we'll see how effective Reke can be against a solid defender and confident shooter in Hill. Hill was San Antonio's leading scorer in Sunday's loss to Denver; he's much more of a combo guard than even Evans, by the numbers. (Hill, though, is 6'2, so you don't hear pundits calling him a two-guard in Chris Paul's clothes. Such is the curse of size.) Speaking of size, you wonder if the Kings will turn back the clock on try to post up Evans, as the team memorably attempted back when Parker breathed. The Kings have gotten away from that lately, partially with good reason, but tonight could be a fine opportunity.
DeJuan Blair will outrebound one of the Kings' starting big men.
Jon Brockman will outrebound one of the Kings' starting big men.
7 PM Pacific. Two Game Threads (7 and 8:15) and a post-gamer (9:45).