• With the Spurs just one win away from securing their 21st consecutive playoff appearance, they surely thought they’d have a great shot at securing their spot against the lottery-bound Kings. While Sacramento couldn’t keep the Spurs from clinching a postseason spot, they certainly didn’t make it easy.

    Despite being well out of the playoff race, the Kings opened the game with the type of energy generally not seen from late-season lottery teams. The Spurs weren’t afforded any easy looks on offense in the first quarter, and their struggles on that end of the floor allowed the Kings to open up a decent lead.

    The Kings had some issues of their own early on, and a heel injury that kept Frank Mason out of the game only made things tougher. The Kings went without a point guard for much of the first half, and big performances from both De’Aaron Fox and Nigel Hayes may have been the only thing that kept the team in the lead heading into halftime.

    Fox was particularly impressive in the first half, going 3-for-4 from behind the arc and running the offense about as well as he has all season. He struggled a bit in the second half, settling too often for mid-range jumpers and committing some careless turnovers, but his overall body of work was impressive.  Fox finished the game with an impressive 21 points and seven assists on 7-for-17 shooting, but his five turnovers did lead to some easy baskets for San Antonio.

    He and Willie Cauley-Stein had some great moments together throughout the game, and the Spurs didn’t seem to have the athleticism to contain them early. Cauley-Stein’s ability to hit mid-range jumpers as well as dive to the rim makes him particularly dangerous with Fox and that was on full display in San Antonio.  He finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds on 10-for-20 shooting, and while he might be better off taking a few less shots, he did a great job of playing within himself and taking what the defense gave him.

    A hot start to the third quarter from Cauely-Stein and Fox gave the team a nice cushion early, but their offense slowed as the quarter went on. The Spurs didn’t make the Kings pay at first, but the lead was narrowed to just six heading into the fourth.  Sacramento has relied on Bogdan Bogdanovic for offense this season, especially when they face more experienced teams like the Spurs, but the Kings’ promising young guard finished with just two points in his 26 minutes of play.  The team clearly needed someone with his ability to create shots and shoot off the dribble, but he couldn’t get much going against the Spurs’ defense.

    One consistent theme throughout the game was LaMarcus Aldridge’s inability to score effectively in the post.  Cauely-Stein did a great job of matching his physicality and staying in front, holding Aldridge to just 15 points on 6-for-19 shooting.  Aldridge has been a go-to option for the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard out, but Cauley-Stein’s strong defense kept him from making an impact against the Kings.

    Foul trouble was a theme for Sacramento throughout the game, but the fourth quarter was particularly rough. Sacramento picked up three team fouls in the first minute of the fourth, and had to call an early timeout to regroup.

    One of the biggest contributors for the Spurs was former King Rudy Gay, who finished with an impressive 18 points and six rebounds on just nine shots off the bench.  His strong play in the fourth was a large part of what allowed the Spurs to pull away and take control of the game.

    San Antonio was able to tie the game shortly after and quickly took away the momentum that the Kings had built throughout the first three quarters. Sacramento had no answer for the Spurs over the last six minutes of the game, eventually losing 98-85.

    The Kings will now head home to prepare for their final game of the season against the Houston Rockets.

Fantasy News

  • Dion Waiters
    SG, Miami Heat

    Dion Waiters is dealing with an illness that will keep him out of action when the Heat face the Wizards.

    Waiters will join Goran Dragić on the sidelines, leaving plenty of room for Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson to get more run against the Wizards. Waiters will keep on waiting for his first appearance on the floor this year.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Damyean Dotson
    SG, New York Knicks

    Damyean Dotson (dislocated left pinky) should be good to go for the Knicks' matchup with the Pacers on Saturday.

    Dotson is no longer on the Knicks' injury report so don't hesitate to have him in your lineup. He is a scoring spark plug at times, and who knows what is about to happen with the Knicks after David Fizdale's firing.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Mike Conley
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Mike Conley is questionable for Saturday's tilt with the Grizzlies as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

    Conley is nearing a return which will likely end whatever boost in production we have been witnessing from Joe Ingles.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Derrick Favors
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Derrick Favors (personal) will remain out on Saturday when the Pelicans face the Mavs.

    With Favors out Jaxson Hayes will have a bigger role to play for the Pelicans, and Kenrich Williams will have some potential to be productive as well.

    Source: Pelicans PR on Twitter

  • Mitchell Robinson
    C, New York Knicks

    Shams Chararnia of the Athletic is reporting that the Knicks have promoted assistant coach Mike Miller to the interim head coach position, where he will replace the fired David Fizdale.

    Best of luck to Miller, as turning things around in New York will be no easy task. The Knicks set the bar awfully low thus far, so at least he has that going for him. As for fantasy, the Knicks remain a mess. Mitchell Robinson is a buy-low candidate, Marcus Morris is a sell-high candidate, Julius Randle is an inefficiency monster with plenty of counting stats, and RJ Barrett puts up numbers but needs to round out his free-throw shooting and turnover numbers. This team has a lot to work out so don't bank your season on any of these guys.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Tristan Thompson
    C, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Tristan Thompson is questionable to take the floor for Friday's game against the Magic due to an illness.

    The illness is making its way through the Cavs' locker room as Kevin Love is already out for this one. If Thompson can take the floor he will be in for a big DFS night with Love out.

  • Kevin Love
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Kevin Love (illness) will sit out Friday's game vs. the Magic.

    With Kevin Love out Tristan Thompson would be line for a big night, but he is also questionable for this one. That could mean Larry Nance or Ante Zizic emerge with larger roles tonight.

    Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Stephen Curry underwent a second procedure for his broken left hand to remove pins from the initial procedure, and he remains on track to be re-evaluated in February.

    All according to plan here. If you want to be optimistic Steph will return and provide a boost to your roster in the fantasy playoffs. The more likely scenario is the Warriors are extremely cautious as they will be well out of the playoff race, and Curry's role will be limited as a result. Proceed with caution if he is in your IL spot.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Josh Richardson
    SF, Philadelphia Sixers

    Josh Richardson (right hamstring strain) will not return on Saturday when the Sixers clash with the Cavs.

    Furkan Korkmaz should be in line for another start and Matisse Thybulle will maintain a regular role in the rotation for those in need of a 3-point specialist or a steals and blocks boost. Richardson being ruled out a day in advance indicates a return may not be imminent.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    Joel Embiid has been ruled out for Saturday's face-off against the Cavs with a right hip contusion.

    Without Embiid the Sixers will rely on Al Horford at the center spot more often, and we should see more of Mike Scott and Kyle O'Quinn.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter