Kings-Spurs Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 28, 2013
After opening their six-game homestand with a stunning loss to one of the teams at the bottom of the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs likely won't take anything for granted when they face another. The league-best Spurs hope to bounce back from a rare home defeat and continue their success against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Fresh off a 7-2 road trip and riding an 18-game home winning streak, San Antonio blew an 11-point lead in Wednesday's 105-101 overtime loss to Phoenix. Tony Parker scored 22 and Tim Duncan added 19 with 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who allowed 33 fourth-quarter points and scored one in overtime while going 0 for 10 from the field. "We are all very upset, especially after the performance we had on the road," guard Manu Ginobili said. "Coming back home and losing the first one is hard, but it happens. We got relaxed after such a long road trip, but this is what happens in the NBA when you do not play your best." San Antonio (45-14) had closed its road swing three days earlier with a win over the Suns, who share the West's worst record with the Kings (20-39) and New Orleans. "When you are playing a team (that's) not really playing with pressure, and you keep them alive, things like this can happen," Ginobili said. "It was a poor performance by us." It was the Spurs' first home loss since a 92-87 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 19. They haven't lost two straight at the AT&T Center since March 28-31, 2011. They're 22-3 at home and have lost just three times in 20 games overall but twice in the last three - both in overtime. San Antonio is shooting a conference-best 48.5 percent from the field but is at 41.9 over the last three, including 15 of 56 from beyond the arc. The Spurs failed to score more than 100 points in regulation in any of those games after failing to do so just twice in the previous 12. They've averaged 112.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting while winning four straight in this series - all in Sacramento - including two this season. The Kings have lost 25 of 28 overall to the Spurs but ended a nine-game skid in San Antonio in their last visit, 88-86 on Jan. 20, 2012. One night after shooting 51.6 percent in a 141-129 double-overtime loss at Miami, Sacramento hit 54.8 percent and ended a six-game slide with a 125-101 win at Orlando on Wednesday. John Salmons scored 21 and Marcus Thornton added 20 - a day after scoring 36 - as the Kings recorded 31 assists and ended a nine-game road losing streak. Sacramento is 6-26 in road games, having won two straight only once (Jan. 2-4). "When we play the type of basketball that we played (Wednesday), we're a tough team to beat, and the night before as well," center DeMarcus Cousins said. "These past two nights are probably the best basketball we played all season." Salmons has averaged 18.0 points in the last three games, 8.7 more than his season average. Tyreke Evans, scoring 19.0 per game over the past seven, had 23 points in last season's victory at San Antonio and scored 20 in the last meeting but was outplayed by Parker, who had 30 points and 11 assists as the Spurs won 108-102 on Feb. 19. Parker, playing through a nagging arm injury, has averaged 27.0 points in his last eight games.
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