Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs Pick & Prediction MARCH 7th 2024

The Sacramento Kings know that every game remaining in the season is an important one for playoff seeding.

That makes their clash at home against the struggling San Antonio Spurs on Thursday just as important as any contest versus one of the league’s upper-echelon teams.

If anything, defeating the Spurs is a must. San Antonio rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama will miss the game with a sprained right ankle.

It’s the second of a road-home back-to-back for Sacramento, which rallied from 19 points down in the first quarter to record a 130-120 win over the Lakers on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

De’Aaron Fox tied a career high with 44 points, Malik Monk scored 26 and Domantas Sabonis added 16 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Kings are in seventh place in the West, a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns.

“You can’t really even think about it anymore — there’s no time,” Sabonis said. “We just got to lock in.”

Sacramento has won just twice in its past five games and is 5-5 over its past 10. Forward Trey Lyles said the Kings need to avoid the inconsistent play that has plagued them over the past two weeks if they want to move up in the standings.

“I want us to be more consistent, I want us to hold each other more accountable and I want us to play up to our capability,” Lyles said. “We’ve shown in spurts here and there. We’re still a young team, but I think we know by now what we have to do — just holding each other accountable.”

The Kings have captured the first two games against San Antonio in the season series but both have been close, with Sacramento’s wins by an average of seven points.

The Spurs head to California’s capital city after a 114-101 loss to the Rockets in Houston on Tuesday. Devin Vassell led San Antonio with 22 points, while Malaki Branham hit for 20, Keldon Johnson added 18 and Jeremy Sochan had 15 points. Wembanyama produced 10 points (his lowest offensive output since Dec. 21), 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots as the Spurs had a two-game winning streak snapped.

San Antonio was within four points after Cedi Osman’s basket with 6:28 to play but would get no closer.

“They put us in the mud, we didn’t respond to it very well and you got the outcome,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. “(We’re) a young group that needs to understand the road is a lot different than at home and it requires a little bit more mental toughness. We didn’t have it this time. So we’ll move on and try to play better at (Sacramento).”

San Antonio has 20 games remaining and will have to win eight of those to avoid tying a team record for fewest victories in a full season. The Spurs set that mark in 1996-97 following a 20-62 campaign.

Thursday’s game in Sacramento is the middle contest of a three-game road trip for the Spurs that ends in San Francisco on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio then will play eight straight games as the home team, although two of those contests will be held in Austin, Texas.

–Field Level Media

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