Kings play short-handed – including no head coach – lose to Spurs 113-98

SASscoreby Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings went into the game in San Antonio with only nine players dressed for the game. Willie Cauley-Stein (right knee bone contusion), Skal Labissiere (shoulder strain), Frank Mason (partial tear plantar fascia), Malachi Richardson (ankle sprain), Garrett Temple (ankle sprain) and Georgios Papagiannis (unavailable due to coach’s decision) made for a very short bench. JaKarr Sampson was brought up from the Reno Bighorns for roster help.

If having only nine players did not make things tough enough, the Kings lost their coach two minutes into the game. Dave Joerger jumped up to protest the lack of a call from the officials and his knees buckled. Assistant coach Elston Turner reached out to help Joerger and to keep him from falling to the floor. At the encouragement of the Kings’ medical staff, Joerger walked under his own power to the visitor’s locker room.

The decision was made to for Joerger to sit the rest of the game out and let assistant coach Elston Turner coach the team. Reports later in the game confirmed that there was nothing seriously wrong with Joerger.

And now on to the game

The Kings fall behind by nine points early in the first quarter and it looked it might be a very long night for Sacramento fans. The Kings were down by seven as the second period began.

The Spurs increased their lead to 10 points early in the second quarter but then the Kings began chipping away at San Antonio’s advantage. By the time the second 12 minute period was over the Kings held a one point edge, 50-49.

The third quarter would prove to the Kings downfall as it has so many times this season. The Spurs outscored Sacramento 30-19 in the third period and they ended the quarter on an 8-0 run that would carry over into the final period.

San Antonio continued their run until it became a 12-0 run on the Kings which made it look like the game was over but someone forgot to tell De’Aaron Fox and George Hill. The two Kings guards continued to make incredible shots that kept the game reasonably close but in the end it was not enough.

The Spurs won the game 113-98 but the Kings could hold their heads high because they played hard under adverse circumstances.

Top Performers



  • Second-year shooting guard Bryn Forbes was the Star of the Game for the Spurs on Sunday night. He came off the bench to lead San Antonio in scoring with 23 points shooting 9-for-15 overall from the field and hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Forbes had a +16 rating during his 27-plus minutes of playing time.
  • Manu Ginobili came off the bench in first game back after being off for injury to post 15 points in 25-plus minutes on the floor. He put in 6-of-13 field goal attempts. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists.
  • Best supporting player award goes to Patty Mills who just kills this reporter every time. Late in the game as the Kings were trying to mount a comeback, Mills sank back-to-back 3-point buckets that killed that potential comeback. Mills finished with 11 points hitting 4-of-6 field goals with three of those baskets being 3-point field goals.



  • Star of the Game goes to De’Aaron Fox who recorded a game-high and career-high 26 points in the contest. “Swipa” hit a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land. He was as Dan Patrick would say – “en fuego!”. For a player who would never be able to shoot the 3-ball in the NBA according to scouting experts, Fox sure seems to have figured out how to hit from long-range.
  • George Hill may be on his way out of Sacramento but do not accuse him of laying down on his team. He came off the bench to score 19 points shooting 6-for-11 overall and hitting 3-of-6 from downtown. He also dished out four assists. Talk about making yourself more valuable in a trade situation. Hill gets a Co-Star of the Game credit.
  •  Special Guest Star credit goes to Vince Carter. The future Hall of Famer recorded 21 points coming off the bench converting 5-of-7 3-point opportunities. Carter also grabbed six rebounds in his almost 27-minutes on the floor. The 41-year old had +5 rating for his playing-time on the versus the Spurs.

Key Stats

San Antonio (33-19)

  • The Spurs shot 50-percent from the floor hitting 45-of-90 field goal attempts in the game.
  • San Antonio out-rebounded the Kings 52-34. The Spurs had 13 offensive rebounds to SAC’s six offensive rebounds. The Spurs outscored the Kings 16-9 in second-chance points.
  • The Spurs had an incredible 33 to 7 assists to turnover ratio. The seven San Antonio turnovers became 13 Kings points.

Sacramento (15-34)

  • The Kings shot an unbelievable 52.9-percent from 3-point land hitting 18-of-34 attempts. Fox hit 6-of-6 while Carter went 5-for-7 from behind the line.
  • Sacramento turned the ball over just nine times which became just nine Spurs points in the game.
  • The Kings shot 90.9-percent from the free throw line. They only went to the line 11 times but they converted 10 shots.

Up Next


The Kings wrap up this long six-game road trip on Tuesday night in New Orleans. Of course, the drama is gone because of the devastating season ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins.

San Antonio

The Spurs will stay at home and host Denver on Tuesday night.

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


  • 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


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.


Kings come up short in San Antonio 104-94

NBA: Sacramento Kings at San Antonio Spurs
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

George Karl has talked all season about the tendency of his Sacramento Kings (25-36) to fall into “black holes” and lose games because of it. A black hole to Karl is a loss of momentum that continues for seven to eight possessions allowing the opponents to go on a scoring run that the Kings ultimately cannot overcome.

The Kings played well in the first half against the Spurs (53-9) trailing by just three points at halftime, 57-54. As the third quarter began, Sacramento fell into a proverbial “black hole” and allowed San Antonio to go on a 12-0 run led by Kawhi Leonard’s nine points in the opening minutes of the period. The Spurs would outscore the Kings 29-13 in the third and would go on to win the game 104-94.

As the game began, it appeared the Kings had drawn the lucky straw. Spurs head coach Greg Popovich had decided to rest Tim Duncan and Danny Green. A third San Antonio starter – LaMarcus Aldridge – was unable to answer the bell due to a migraine headache. A situation that should have been advantage Kings was negated by the outstanding play of Leonard and Manu Ginobili who returned to the team after missing 12 games due to surgery.


Sacramento was led by DeMarcus Cousins who scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Cousins shot 50.0-percent (10-for-20) from the floor and hit on 10 of 15 free throw attempts.

Quincy Acy had a monster game starting at forward for the Kings. Acy – who is known more for his defense that his offense – scored 16 points for his team. Acy was a perfect 7-for-7 including two 3-pointers from the field.

Rajon Rondo had a quiet night scoring nine points, recording just one rebound and dishing out eight assists.

Darren Collison continues play well off the bench adding 12 points, seven assists and three rebounds.

Marco Belinelli – who had two strong outings heading in San Antonio – had a tough night versus his old team. Belinelli scored seven points going just 3-for-11 from floor.

Rudy Gay scored nine points, Ben McLemore (3), Omri Casspi (6) and Willie Cauley-Stein (1). Kosta Koufos was not available due to a case of food poisoning.

Sacramento shot 45.7-percent (37-for-81) and hit on six of 16 (37.5-percent) from 3-point land. The Kings struggled from the free throw line going just 14-for-21 (66.7-percent) at the stripe.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Kings 46-33.


MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 25 points despite going just 9-for-24 from the floor. Leonard made it a double-double game by hauling in 13 rebounds.

Manu Ginobili played just 15 minutes in his return to play but he scored 22 points in that limited playing time. Ginobili shot 8-for-12 from the floor and went a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

The Spurs shot 49.4-percent (40-for-81) from the field. They were just 8-for-23 (34.8-percent) from beyond the 3-point line. San Antonio shot an impressive 84.2-percent (16-for-19) from the charity stripe.

The victory lifted the Spurs record to 30-0 at home for the season.

Up next

The Kings will wrap up their four-game road trip on Monday night in New Orleans. The Kings are 0-2 versus the Pelicans this season. Sacramento desperately wants to finish 2-2 on this road trip to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They will have to play better against Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson than they have so far this season if they want to post a win in “the Big Easy”.