The Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs face off on July 31, 2020, in a battle of two teams trying to catch the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference team standings.
The Kings enter the bubble tournament with a record of 28-36 and in 10th place in the Western Conference team standings. Sacramento joins the New Orleans Pelicans, and Trail Blazers as the three teams that are just 3.5 games off the 8th seeded Grizzlies. Meanwhile, the Spurs are one-half game behind the trio with a record of 27-36. San Antonio has made the postseason in each of the last 22 seasons and that streak is in grave danger at this point.
Expectations were high for the Sacramento Kings after a promising 2018-19 season. But the team got off to a poor start and have been out of the picture since then. But after getting rid of Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon, the Kings have found some momentum. Sacramento was 9-5 since the trade deadline, 5th best record in the league during that period. However, the four-month break halted their momentum and Sacramento needs to start strong so they will have a fighting chance of catching up with the Grizzlies.
De’Aaron Fox blossomed for the Kings this season. The spitfire guard averaged 20.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game this season. Buddy Hield was making 3.8 three-point baskets per game, hitting 39% from downtown, and scoring 19.8 points per contest. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Harrison Barnes were also scoring in double digits while Nemanja Bjelica was putting up 11.9 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game.
Sacramento ranked 17th in the league in scoring defense while allowing opponents to score an average of 110.9 points per game. They were the 8th lowest-scoring team in the NBA at 109.0 points per game and were 4th from the bottom in rebounding at 42.5 boards per contest. The Kings were also just 22nd in passing at 23.4 assists per game this year.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/30/20
San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich has lost more games this year than any season since the San Antonio Spurs drafted Tim Duncan. Not only that, but the Spurs are also in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997. San Antonio has been the barometer of success and consistency in the NBA but this season, they have not resembled that model franchise. The restart has given them new hope but the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge to a shoulder injury could be the final nail in the coffin.
DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 22.2 points and 5.6 assists per game. Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Rudy Gay also averaged in double-digits but they need to step up as the Spurs will be without Aldridge’s 18.9 points per game. With Trey Lyles also hurt, Jakob Poeltl has to improve his 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game average. San Antonio also needs more scoring from Marco Belinelli who is just putting up 5.8 points per game this season.
San Antonio is the 10th best scoring team in the NBA at 113.2 points per game this season. The Spurs are 7th from the bottom in scoring defense at 114.9 points per game allowed. They are 18th off the glass at 44.4 boards grabbed per contest and are 13th in passing at 24.5 assists per game.
The Kings are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played. Sacramento is 4-1 SU in their last five games played on the road. The Spurs are 5-10 SU in their last 10 games played. San Antonio is 3-3 SU in their last six games played away from home and 3-7 SU in their last 10 games played against the Western Conference. Head to head, the Kings are 6-4 SU in their last 10 meetings and have won two out of their last three against the Spurs.
The Kings looked better after the trade deadline. Kent Bazemore and Alex Len were good additions. De’Aaron Fox was having his best year ever while Buddy Hield was stroking it from deep. Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bogdanovic provided the firepower while Nemanja Bjelica provided stability upfront. No question, the Kings are hungry for success and that could be their edge over the Spurs.
Big things were expected from San Antonio’s backcourt mainstays Dejounte Murray and Derrick White but neither has been able to live up to the expectations or replicate the success they had last year.
The loss of Aldridge is a big blow to the Spurs and it remains to be seen if their young players can redeem their season in 8 seeding games and help DeRozan on offense. It’s possible but it’s not going to be easy considering they are without their second-leading scorer.
No doubt that Sacramento has the better offensive team here. Even though they are among the lowest-scoring teams this season, San Antonio hasn’t defended well at all this year. On the other hand, the Spurs are without their main scorer and that will be their main problem in this game. I know there is plenty of potential on that team but with a lot on the line for them, I’m not sure if there’s someone in that team who can lead them to a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.
Prediction: Sacramento Kings
Other Bets to Make
Sacramento is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Kings are 5-0 ATS in their last five games played away from home, 6-0 ATS in their last six games played against the Western Conference. San Antonio is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Spurs are 2-4 ATS in their last six road games. Head to head, the Kings are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 meetings against the Spurs. Sacramento is also 3-0 ATS in their last three encounters against San Antonio.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/30/20
Sacramento has outscored San Antonio by an average of 8.67 points per game in their last three head to head meetings. The Kings blew out the Spurs by 20 points in their last encounter on February 8, 2020. Again, the Kings are hungrier and looked more determined to make the playoffs.
Prediction: Kings -2.5 (-115)
The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Kings. Sacramento has seen the total go over in six out of their last seven games played against the Southwest Division. The total has gone over in 10 out of the last 14 games played by the Spurs. The over is 4-2 in San Antonio’s last six road games and 6-2 in their last eight games against the Pacific Division. Head to head, the total has gone over in eight out of the last 12 games played between these two teams.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/30/20
These teams have combined to score an average of 217.33 points per game in their last three head to head meetings and went for 224 in their last meeting held on February 8, 2020. These teams are in the bottom half in the league in scoring defense. The Kings are in the Bottom 10 in scoring but San Antonio also has a Bottom 10 defense. Without elite defense, both teams will have to rely on their scoring to win this game and get closer to the 8th seed.
Prediction: Over 216.5 (-120)