Too much Aldridge, Gasol and Ginobili ends the Kings two-game win streak: Spurs win 108-99 on Saturday night

More Hield SAS
Buddy Hield drives to the hoop for two of his 24 points Photo: USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – The Kings stayed with the Spurs stride for stride in the opening quarter and played them to a 33-33 tie at the end of 12-minutes. The energy was high in the Golden 1 Center. Kawahi Leonard was declared unavailable due to injury management, so Sacramento fans felt their team was on a more even playing field talent wise.

They were wrong.

The Spurs outscored the Kings 29-16 in the second quarter as they shot 50-percent (11-for-22) from the field, hit 3-of-5 three-point attempts and converted 4-of-5 free throw attempts. San Antonio began a scoring drive at the 10:10 mark of the quarter and built up a 13 point lead by the time the horn sounded for halftime.

The Spurs went to the locker room at the half with a 62-49 lead over the Kings.

Sacramento came out in the third quarter knowing they had to make a run at the Spurs immediately. The Kings kept chipping away at the San Antonio lead and cut it to six-points twice. When the third period ended, SAC trailed by just eight points, 84-76.

Buddy Hield scored 10-points shooting 4-for-6 (including two 3-pointers) to lead the Kings 27-point scoring attack. Willie Cauley-Stein added eight-points.

The Kings needed to put together a run and cut the Spurs lead to five-points or less with two-minutes to go in the game to have a chance to win. That did not happen.

Former King Rudy Gay – who had previously not scored in the game – sank two jump shots and 25-foot 3-pointer in the opening 2:18 of the final quarter to help the Spurs rebuild a 14-point lead. The San Antonio lead would reach 15-points twice in the period which was too much for the Kings to overcome.

San Antonio won the game 108-99.

Top Performers

Spurs (22-11)

Gasol SAS
Pau Gasol recorded a triple-double versus the Kings on Saturday night Photo: USA Today Sports
  • Star of the Game: Paul Gasol – the Spurs 37-year old, 17-year NBA veteran – recorded a triple-double on Saturday night. Gasol scored 14-points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in just over 30-minutes on the floor. After the game Gasol said, “I have to give credit to my teammates. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to get the assists, so it’s a team accomplishment. Just happy it turned out that way tonight. It’s been a couple of years since my last triple-double.” (February 27, 2016 as a member of the Chicago Bulls)
  • Co-star: LaMarcus Aldridge only gets a co-star billing for the game because he recorded just a double-double putting up a game-high 29-points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He also played a game-high 38-minutes and 33-seconds.
  • Ginobili to hoop
    The ageless Ginobili goes to the rack versus the Kings Photo: USA Today Sports
  • Co-star: The final co-star for the Spurs is man who should probably be playing “wheelchair basketball” if you listen to “the experts” who say he should retire at the end of every season he plays. 40-year old Manu Ginobili evidently does not know he is too old to play in the NBA. On Saturday night, he scored 15-points in just over 21-minutes of playing time coming off the bench.

Kings (11-21)

  • Star of the Game: Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 24 points versus the Spurs on Saturday night. He played almost 32-minutes shooting 9-for-17 overall and 4-for-7 from behind the 3-point arc. Hield also hauled in eight rebounds in the contest. In what was also a major improvement, he committed no turnovers.
  • WCS vs SAS
    Willie Cauley-Stein posted a double-double on Saturday night Photo: USA Today Sports
  • Co-star: Willie Cauley-Stein posted his fifth double-double of the season as he scored 22 points and recorded 11 rebounds. Cauley-Stein shot 10-for-18 for the game and added three assists.
  • Co-star: Bogdan Bogdanovic had a perfect shooting night as he was 6-for-6 overall and 3-for-3 from 3-point land. Bogdanovic played 28-plus minutes against the Spurs.

Key Team Stats

San Antonio

  • Field Goal Shooting: 44-for-88 (50-percent) It’s tough to beat a team that is sinking half of its shots
  • 3-point Shooting: the Spurs made 11-of-23 (47.8-percent) 3-point attempts. Six different players made 3-point baskets
  • Free throw shooting: the Spurs went to the line only 11 times but the made nine free throws (81.8-percent) which helped them to win this game
  • The Spurs also had a fantastic assists to turnover ratio. They dished out 29 assists and turned the ball over just eight times. That is very close to a 4 to 1 ratio with a 2 to 1 ratio being the goal

Sacramento

  • Field Goal Shooting: 46.5-percent (49-for-86) which is respectable until you look and see your opponent shot 50-percent from the field
  • 3-point Shooting: The Kings actually out-shot the Spurs from behind the 3-point line. They hit 12-of-22 3-point attempts (54.5-percent). Four Kings did all of their 3-point scoring – Randolph, Temple, Hield and Bogdanovic.
  • Free throw shooting: the Kings went to the line just 11 times and converted just seven of those shots. They still need to get more attempts per game
  • Assists to turnover ratio – The Kings finished with 20 assists and 10 turnovers or the magic 2 to 1 formula. It just was not enough in this case.

Up Next

Sacramento

The Kings are done until after Christmas. Sacramento will return to action on Tuesday, December 26 when the team will travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers at the Staples Center.

San Antonio

The Spurs headed home after the game and will have Christmas Day off. San Antonio will host the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

 

Warriors snap home losing streak, smother Blazers 103-88

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (27-18) got back in the win column, easily beating the tough Portland Trail Blazers (33-12), 103-88, Sunday night, at Oracle Arena. They won this one thanks to strong team defense and the lethal Stephen Curry. The Trail Blazers came into the contest as the NBA’s top scoring offense, and the Warriors made them look helpless for several stretches. For Portland the 88 points are a season-low, to go with 33% shooting from the field, also a season-low.

With their poor play as of late, it was important for the dubs to come out of the gates strong, and they did just that. They established an early lead, and set the tone with smothering defensive play. The splash brothers started especially hot, combining to score 18 of the team’s first 20 points, on 3-3 from beyond the arc. Through 12 minutes of play they led 28-22.

In the second quarter, however, the Blazers swung the momentum back in their favor. They scratched their way back and eventually took back the lead, which they hadn’t owned since the opening moments of the game. They led by as many as seven, before the Warriors re-inserted most of their starters and made a strong late push before halftime. Heading into the locker room, Golden State trailed by one, 55-54. Thankfully, the second was basically the only blip on the radar.

The Warriors thoroughly dominated the third quarter, and early portion of the fourth. At one point, during a 16 minute span, they outscored the Trailblazers 35-10, eventually building a 21-point advantage.  Portland had one last gasp in them. They went on a 16-3 run late in the fourth, momentarily making Golden State sweat a little. The Warriors weren’t going to let this one slip away, however, and closed it out strong.

Curry finished with a game-high 38 points, to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. David Lee had a prototypical David Lee game, posting 17 points and 12 boards. Andre Iguodala notched his second double-double of the season, with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Klay Thompson had an off shooting night, hitting just 6-of-21 shots, but still contributed 17 points and fantastic defense.

The theme of the night, however, was of course their superb defense. LeMarcus Aldridge lit up the Warriors in their last meeting, and tonight they held him to just 2-of-14 from the field. He still managed to finish with a double-double, but ultimately didn’t have much of an impact on the contest. They also held star point guard Damian Lillard at bay. He finished with 16 points, 5-of-16 from the field, and five assists.

Tonight was a textbook look into how the Warriors need to play to compete with the league’s best. Hopefully they can springboard off of this win and continue this kind of play.

Golden State’s home stand continues this Tuesday, when they will be taking on the Washington Wizards. The game begins at 7:30 pm.