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Kings vs. Spurs Preview: Taking on the champs on their home turf

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio hasn't lost since the last time they played Sacramento and the Kings are looking to continue that trend.  It won't be easy though, as the Spurs are notoriously tough at home.  A win tonight would make for a very successful 3-1 road trip but it will require a much better effort than the other night against Houston.  Tonight's action tips off at 5:30 pm tonight on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1.  The last time these two teams met, Sacramento was able to win despite not making a single three.  That's not likely to happen again.  The Kings aren't a great three point shooting team even at their fullest potential, but they'll have to make their open shots as the defense keys in on DeMarcus Cousins down low.  Cousins has done a good job of finding the open man when confronted with double teams, but aside from Ben McLemore, nobody has been able to consistently hit from outside.  As for rookie Nik Stauskas, he can't have moments like he did against Houston where he passed up open shots;  He's a shooter, and those are the shots he has to take.

2. San Antonio's offense hasn't been up to their usual championship standards this season.  They're just 21st in offensive rating, 11th in FG%, 16th in 3P%, 27th in FTA, and 12th in assists.  However their defense has been very good and that's what's allowed them to stay successful.  This is not an easy team to score on, and even though they're not up to their usual standards offensively, they can still turn it on, especially if you don't pressure them.

3. Turnovers were incredibly costly against Houston.  The Rockets were able to take advantage of Sacramento's 21 miscues to the tune of 32 points and that was really the main difference maker in the game.  San Antonio doesn't need any extra help scoring, and the Kings are going to have a tough enough time trying to win this game without turning the ball over.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Kawhi Leonard vs. Omri Casspi / Rudy Gay

Leonard is San Antonio's star of the future, and it's as much because of what he can do on the defensive end as the offensive end.  Leonard is an incredibly versatile player, although he's struggled with his outside shot so far this season, making just 28% of his threes to date.  As of the time of this writing it's unclear whether or not Rudy Gay will be able to play, but if he can't, it will be up to Omri Casspi to step up to the challenge.  Casspi has made most of his living this year by attacking the basket, which will be a tough prospect against Leonard's quickness and length.

PREGAME LIMERICK

Yesterday was a day full of turkey,
and now we face a team that's rather quirky.
They're the champs,
not a bunch of gramps,
and our odds of winning are kinda murky.

PREDICTION

Kings 95, Spurs 89 after Popovich decides to give his whole team the day off after a big Thanksgiving dinner.  He still manages to coach the ball boys and selected VIP fans to an almost victory.