by Charlie O. Mallonee
There were too many 3-Pointers, too much dribble penetration and too much Tony Parker for the Kings on Friday night in San Antonio as the Spurs downed the Kings 112-104.
The Kings entered the game at a great disadvantage with DeMarcus Cousins out due to a virus and with Rudy Gay and Darren Collison playing at less than 100-percent. Gay (Right Achilles Tendinitis) and Collison (Left Quadriceps Contusion/Strain) had missed the games in Houston and New Orleans.
The lack of Cousins and the lack of defense was the story of why the Kings lost. Without Cousins to fill the lane on defense, the Spurs controlled the paint scoring 56 points in high percentage territory. The Kings allowed San Antonio to shoot 51.2-percent (42 for 82) from the field and 50.0-percent (12 for 24) from beyond the 3-Point arc. Sacramento gave up 35 points to the Spurs in the second quarter.
The Kings tried to make up for their lack of defense by playing offense with reckless abandon. Sacramento shot a 50.7- field goal percentage (38 for 75). They shot a season-high 60.0-percent (6 for 10) from 3-Point land. The Kings were very productive from the free throw line hitting on 22 of 26 (84.6-percent) attempts. Even with those incredible stats, the Kings could not overtake the Spurs.
Rudy Gay lead the Kings with 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and one steal. Ryan Hollins scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds as he filled in for Cousins at center. Darren Collison posted 15 points but had just two assists and turned the ball over three times in his 34 minutes on the floor. It was apparent that Collison was not playing at 100-percent.
Ben McLemore came alive for the Kings in the third quarter and finished with 14 points. Carl Landry recorded a double-double coming off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“Turnovers and no defense is the reason we lost,” said Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. Malone pointed out that the Spurs connected on 12 3-Pointers mostly off relentless dribble penetration. He also was concerned about the 20 points San Antonio scored off of the Kings’ 15 turnovers. Referring to his team’s lack of defense Malone said, “(I) never know which team is going to show up.”
Malone did mention Ryan Hollins and said he was proud of Hollins’ effort in the game.
Tony Parker lead the attack for San Antonio with 27 points and eight assists. He shot 10 for 17 from the field in his 38 minutes on the floor. Tim Duncan dropped in 18 points along with eight rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Kawhi Leonard put up 19 points and was four for six from downtown.
The Kings finished the four game road trip with a record of 2-2. Sacramento now comes home and will play 10 of their next 11 games on their home floor. They have just four games on the road in the month of December.
The Kings will play the Memphis Grizzlies at home in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon. The Kings will be seeking revenge for the stinging 111-110 loss to the Grizzlies back on November 13.