SACRAMENTO -- Back to the grind. After a big win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday evening, the Sacramento Kings finish their six-game homestand Monday against the San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings stand at 2-3 over the first five games of the stretch. They've shown that they can take down the heavyweights of the league with wins over the Cavs and the Nuggets, but they've struggled against the lower tier of the league, dropping games to the Suns, Grizzlies and Hornets.
San Antonio rolls through Sacramento for the second time in a month and like the previous visit, they'll play short-handed. Four regulars will sit with various ailments, but that hasn't slowed the Spurs in the past.
Spurs by 5.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De'Aaron Fox vs. Tony Parker -- With George Hill out for a second straight game and Frank Mason down with a heel injury, Fox is primed to play substantial minutes. The rookie point guard has averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists in two games since returning from injury. In his 17th NBA season, Parker is no longer the speedster he once was, but he can still take a young player to school.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 13-25, fourth place in Pacific
Spurs: 27-14, second place in Southwest
Kings: PG George Hill (personal) out, PF/C Zach Randolph (oral surgery) probable, PG Frank Mason (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.
Spurs: SF Kawhi Leonard (shoulder) out, SF Rudy Gay (heel) out, SG Manu Ginobili (rest) out, SG Danny Green (groin) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Finish the Homestand Strong -- The Kings have proven time and time again that they beat anyone and also lose to anyone. The Spurs are missing a ton of veterans, but they still have Popovich at the helm and Aldridge and Pau Gasol running around in the post. With Fox running the show, the Kings need to get out and run and put on a good show for their hometown crowd.
Defensive Intensity -- Against the Nuggets, the Kings flew all over the court, notching 34 deflections and a season-high 16 steals as a team. Cauley-Stein picked up a career-best seven steals in the win, showing a new level of activity on the defensive end. If the Kings allow the Spurs to run their offense, it could be a long night. If they bring the same energy, they have a chance.
Take Advantage of the Schedule -- The Kings are fresh off a three day break, followed by a game, followed by another day off. San Antonio lost in Portland on Sunday and is playing their fifth game in seven nights. This game is prime for the taking.
The Spurs beat Sacramento on Dec. 23 and currently own an 11-game win streak over the Kings. San Antonio holds an 89-39 lead during the Sacramento-era and a 117-55 advantage all-time.