Spurs-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 28, 2012
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili haven't had much playing time together this season, but when the San Antonio Spurs' mainstays all have been on the court, coach Gregg Popovich has been pleased with what he's seen. The Spurs will go for a sixth straight win Wednesday night when they visit the Sacramento Kings, who stunned them in San Antonio earlier this season. San Antonio is coming off a 107-100 win at Phoenix on Tuesday, the first time in four games that Duncan, Parker and Ginobili played the same night. With Ginobili playing in just his 19th game, the Spurs (34-14) improved to 12-4 when all three play. "I think they play within the system and trust each other enough it comes out pretty good for them," Popovich said, "most of the time." Popovich sat the 35-year-old Duncan in Sunday's win over Philadelphia and the rest appeared to pay off Tuesday, when he scored 26 points - 17 in the first half - and had 11 rebounds. It was his second-highest point total this season and fifth double-double in seven games. Parker added 24 points and seven assists, scoring eight points during a 10-0 San Antonio run early in the fourth quarter. While he missed a game last week with a hamstring injury, Parker has scored 24 points or more in six of his last 10 games. "Tony is probably playing like an MVP more than at any time since he's been in the league," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "People should start talking about him more for the MVP." The Spurs have won 12 of their last 14 road games and eight of nine overall. They remain three games behind Oklahoma City for the best record in the Western Conference. They'll look to avenge an 88-86 home loss to the Kings on Jan. 20, which ended a 12-game winning streak in the series. Ginobili missed that game, in which San Antonio trailed by 15 points early. Tyreke Evans hit a jumper with 47.2 seconds left to put Sacramento up for good. While the Spurs go for their seventh straight win in Sacramento, the Kings (17-32) will try to avoid a fourth straight loss overall after falling 113-106 in overtime Monday at Houston. DeMarcus Cousins scored a career-high 38 points and added 14 rebounds while Marcus Thornton had 27 points, but Sacramento couldn't hold an early lead. "We have to continue to grow," said Cousins, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. "We just have to execute down the stretch. We are close to turning things around, it just seems to be one play here or there." Sacramento is giving up an average of 108.4 points the last nine games, yielding at least 110 in three of its last four. "We self-destruct," coach Keith Smart said. "We have some success as a unit and a group and we just didn't stay with it. We have to be able to handle adversity as a team." Cousins, averaging 27.8 points and 13.8 rebounds in his last four games, finished with 17 and 13 against the Spurs in January.
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