(Sports Network) - With a little help and a perfect end to the regular season,
the San Antonio Spurs will lock up the West's top seed for the playoffs.
The Spurs are in a dogfight with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 1 spot
in the conference and hope to get back on track Friday at home versus the
Sacramento Kings at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio is just one-half game behind the Thunder in the West standings
with four to play and suffered a 96-86 loss at Denver the last time out on
Wednesday. Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala had a triple-double with 12 points,
13 rebounds and 10 assists, while the Spurs were led by 17 points from Tim
Duncan and Gary Neal.
"When you don't make shots it's pretty easy to get fast breaks the way they
did. I don't know what we were from (3-point range) but it wasn't good. When
you're that bad from the 3-point line and you turn it over at the same time
people make runs," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Popovich's club shot 40.2 percent for the game and made only 4-of-21 from
downtown. DeJuan Blair had 12 points off the bench, while Tiago Splitter and
Danny Green scored 10 apiece.
The Southwest-champion Spurs have lost four of their last six games, but at
least they're back in the friendly confines of the AT&T Center, where they own
a 34-5 mark this season. San Antonio will close out the regular season with
back-to-back road games against the Lakers and Warriors.
In injury news for the Spurs, guard Tony Parker (shins/neck) is probable
Friday and has missed two straight and three of four games. Forward Stephen
Jackson (ankle) is listed as questionable versus the Kings.
Sacramento looks to end the season on a positive note and halted a four-game
losing streak with Wednesday's 121-110 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in
the finale of a five-game homestand.
John Salmons scored 22 points and both Jason Thompson and Marcus Thornton
added 20 points apiece for the Kings, who shot 55.3 percent from the floor and
buried 10-of-20 3-pointers. The Kings also capitalized off 19 Hornets
turnovers, converting them into 25 points.
"It was a combination of deflections and defense that got us into transition,"
Kings coach Keith Smart said. "When we've had our highest scoring game its
been because of our defense."
DeMarcus Cousins scored 11 points in the win.
Smart's team will begin a three-game road trip Friday against San Antonio,
Houston and Oklahoma City, and will wrap up the season at home versus the Los
Angeles Clippers next Wednesday. Three of those teams lead their respective
The Kings, who own a paltry 8-30 road mark, are averaging 107.8 ppg since the
All-Star break and have scored 100-plus points in 23 of the past 28 contests.
Sacramento is 0-3 against the Spurs this season and has lost five straight, 17
of 18 and 22 of the previous 24 matchups between the teams. The Kings have
lost 10 of their last 11 visits to the Alamo City.
The Sports Network