by Charlie O. Mallonee
Coach Gregg Popovich is notorious for resting players whenever he decides it is necessary. He does not care what the league, broadcast executives or fans have to say about the practice. A team in the Kings situation is praying that “Pop” will rest a few stars against them.
Unfortunately for the Kings, San Antonio had lost two games in row coming into Sunday’s game, and there was no chance that the Spurs were going to rest anyone unless they had opened up an unbeatable lead. All the Kings could do was suck it up, give it their all and hope to keep the game close to have a chance at the end.
Sacramento came out of the gate starting quickly – something they have not always done this season – and put up 27 points in the first quarter. The Kings held a six point lead after the first 12-minutes.
Coach Pop got his team’s attention in the second quarter and they outscored the Kings 37-22 in the second 12-minutes. The Spurs took a 58-49 lead to the locker room at halftime and they would never look back after that.
The Spurs did not let up after halftime as they put up 41 points to the Kings 25 in the third quarter. After 36 minutes, it was a chance for the Spurs to rest the starters and for the Kings to go to school against a championship team.
Ultimately the Spurs (53-16) won the game 118-102 to drop the Kings record to 27-43 and to 1-2 on this three-game road trip.
Buddy Hield got back on track
Hield did not have the game he wanted to have in OKC on Saturday. On Sunday in the Alamo City, Hield put up 18 points. He shot 8-for-14 from the floor and went hit 2-of-3 from beyond the 3-point line. Hield also grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists and made one steal. He played 32-minutes in his start versus the Spurs.
Look out here come those Kentucky guys
Willie Cauley-Stein got the start at forward and took advantage of that opportunity. He scored 18 points to tie Buddy Hield for the team high. WCS also pulled down four rebounds, distributed five assists and had a blocked shot. He shot 5-for-11 from the field and converted 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
Skal Labissiere did not start but he added 14 points. The rookie big man hit 7-of-9 from the floor to go with seven rebounds. Labissiere did all of that in just 23-minutes on the floor.
Papa G grabbed some serious rebounds
Georgios Papagiannis spent 24-minutes in the game versus the Spurs. The big rookie scored just six points going 2-for-7 from the field, but he grabbed 10 rebounds – including four offensive rebounds – in the contest. “Papa G” is getting the opportunity to learn on the job against some of the best players in the NBA.
Temple played well against Kawhi Leonard
Garrett Temple played tough on defense helping to hold Leonard to just 12 points in the game. At the same time, Temple scored 15 points hitting 3-0f-3 from 3-point land. Temple continues to be a solid leader for the Kings.
Kings had some solid team numbers
Sacramento shot a respectable 49.4-percent (41-for-83) from the floor. They shot 7-for-10 (70-percent) from beyond the 3-point line. The Kings had a very acceptable 29 assists to 11 turnovers posting for the game.
Why did the Spurs win
San Antonio scored more points in the paint, had more second chance points and had more fast break points than the Kings. That pretty much guarantees a win for your opposition. In this case, it did.
The Kings are off until Wednesday when they will host the Milwaukee Bucks at the Golden 1 Center. The Bucks are battling to hold on for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference of the NBA.