The Sacramento Kings came close, but not close enough to overcoming another slow start.  On the road, they lost 108-101 to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on Friday night.

The Kings shot an appalling 21 percent from the field and were held to just 13 points in the first quarter.  But thanks in large part to their bench, who outscored the Spurs’ reserves 49-29, they stormed back into the game.  Unfortunately, veteran composure would win out in the end and the Spurs had an answer for every Kings run throughout the game.

The Kings fall to 28-51 overall and 8-31 on the road.  They continue their final trip away from home with a visit to Houston on Sunday.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins came alive for the Kings after halftime.  The Kings starting center scored nine of his 19 points in the third period.  He also grabbed 12 rebounds to complete his 34th double-double of the year.  However, he picked up his 15th technical foul in the process.  One more T equates to an automatic suspension for the 22-year-old big man.
  • With Patrick Patterson struggling in his return, Jason Thompson didn’t have to worry about making an impact tonight.  The starting power forward scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Kings in defeat.  He also tied the late Wayman Tisdale for sixth on the Kings’ all-time list for rebounds in the Sacramento era.
  • Jimmer Fredette had an effective game for the Kings.  Fredette and the rest of the bench helped the Kings get out of their 1st quarter malaise to make this a game in the second period.  He scored 10 of his 14 points and went 4-of-5 in the period before halftime.  When his number has been called, Fredette has delivered more often than not, which has frustrated fans about his playing time this season.
  • Toney Douglas also boosted the Kings’ bench brigade by scoring 12 points and recording a season-high seven assists in defeat.  That made up for an off-night by Isaiah Thomas, who shot just 3-of-10 from the field for six points and three assists.
  • Marcus Thornton didn’t score 20 points, but he did break double figures in a somewhat unorthodox way.  The Kings backup shooting guard scored all 12 of his points from beyond the 3-point line.
  • After scoring 22 points against the Hornets two nights ago, John Salmons was nowhere to be found in San Antonio.  The veteran swingman went 0-of-4 for zero points in 20 minutes of action.
  • Stat of the Night: After an atrocious first quarter where they shot an abysmal 5-of-20 from the field, the Kings proceeded to shoot 53 percent for the rest of the game.  In the end however, the Kings were never able to overcome that sluggish start.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will the Spurs rest some of their players?

Battling a sore neck, Tony Parker seemed like a prime candidate to get some rest for San Antonio.  But Gregg Popovich opted to play and start his lead guard, who finished with 22 points, 10 assists and five turnovers in the victory.  Meanwhile, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw both missed another game due to injury.  The Spurs did make one interesting move with their roster today, cutting veteran swingman Stephen Jackson just hours before the game.

2.  Will Patrick Patterson play? 

After missing the last two contests, Patterson returned to the floor for the Kings.  However, the third-year big man wasn’t particularly effective in his comeback.  It took Patterson eight shots to score eight points in close to 20 minutes of action.

3.  Will Tyreke Evans snap out of his two-game slump?

Something seems to be ailing the Kings starting shooting guard.  Evans hesitated to launch his improved jumper on several occasions and looked out of sorts against the Spurs tonight.  Like Patterson, the 23-year-old guard did not have an efficient outing, scoring just nine points in nine shot attempts.