CK Press Box Report: Kings 94, Spurs 91
In an early season filled with surprises, no one should bat an eye at tonight’s result. The Sacramento Kings defeated the world champion San Antonio Spurs in a tense contest, 94-91.
“It feels great anytime that you can beat the defending champions and protect your homecourt,” Michael Malone told the media following the game. “More importantly for me tonight was the defense. We only shot 43 percent from the field, but the key was that we defended at a high level. We held that team to 91 points and 42 percent from the field. We dominated the paint and only had nine turnovers. If we defend like that, like we did earlier in the year, then I really feel like we can beat anyone in the NBA.”
The Kings put a lid on the rim holding the Spurs to 42.5 percent shooting. Tony Parker struggled for most of the night, scoring 11 points on 5-of-12 field goals, largely in part to feisty play by Darren Collison.
“You just (have) to take on the challenge,” Collison explained. “These are great point guards that I’m playing against, and I have a good team defensive system behind me too. So it’s not just on me, everybody is helping each other out, and I’m just taking on a challenge and doing the best I can.”
Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins battled toe-to-toe with Tim Duncan and helped contain him to 15 points on 4-of-11 field goals.
“San Antonio moves the ball so good,” Omri Casspi added. “They’re always looking for great shots, not settling for bad shots, and we tried to stay down, contest, make them take tough shots. Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) did a great job on Tim (Duncan), JT (Jason Thompson) did a great job on Tim earlier in the game, and we’re getting the rebounds we want.”
Sacramento failed to hit a 3-pointer the entire night (0-for-12), but they didn’t need to. The Kings kept it simple and repeatedly attacked the basket, producing 58 points in the paint and 16 fast break points.
Cousins sat the entire second quarter after drawing a technical in the first, but he finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and a turnover in 27 minutes of action. The center scored 11 points in the fourth while Duncan covered him.
Collison added 19 points, five assists and two steals, while Casspi and Carl Landry made big impacts off the bench. Casspi led the break multiple times and finished with nine points and five rebounds. Landry did his damage inside, recording eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
In addition Rudy Gay started the game 3-for-3, but struggled thereafter shooting 3-of-17 to end with 18 points. Gay took the opportunity to feed others and led Sacramento with six assists.
Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 21 points off the bench. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green scored 16 points apiece.
By holding off the Spurs, the Kings can now breathe easy as they snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 6-4. Sacramento will host the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday at Sleep Train Arena.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins played just nine minutes in the first due to foul trouble. He also picked up a technical foul during a timeout and hit 2-of-6 from the field before the intermission. But the 24-year-old center bounced back in the second half, finishing the night with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes.
- Darren Collison played tough defense on Tony Parker all night long, holding the long-time Spur to just 11 points on the night. On the offensive side of the ball, Collison scored 19 points and handed out five assists. Collison is holding up night after night against the league’s best point guards.
- Jason Thompson may not have the most gaudy stats, but the veteran forward played huge tonight in Sacramento. Thompson played exceptional defense, set mean picks and did all the dirty work while Cousins was on the bench in foul trouble. You can live with a four-point, nine-rebound, four-assist night from Thompson.
- Rudy Gay matched up against Kawhi Leonard and played to a draw. Gay finished with 18 points on 7-of-20 shooting and added six assists in the win. Leonard finished with 16 points, but shot just 1-of-8 from behind the arc. Leonard is a tough assignment on both ends of the floor and Gay held him in check.
- Omri Casspi came off the Kings bench like a man possessed. In 22 minutes of action, the veteran wing scored nine points on 3-for-6 shooting. He ran the floor like a track star and aggressively took the ball right at the Spurs every chance he got.
- Coach Malone turned to Carl Landry to carry his post scoring and the veteran played a productive 20 minutes tonight. Landry finished with eight points, six rebounds and two assists, while playing physical basketball.
- Stat of the Night: If the Kings lost this one, we would have pointed to the 0-for-12 3-point shooting night. Instead, we point to Sacramento’s dominating 58-34 points in the paint margin.
Quote of the Game
Darren Collison on bouncing back from road losses
“It was a huge win. Typically you have teams feel sorry for themselves and they worry about the previous games, but I think this team is maturing and understanding we can only worry about the future, worry about the present, and we can’t really think about the past. What happened in the past, yeah we should have won the games, (but) the good thing is that we got back to our defensive principles, and we were able to come together and win the game.”
Video shot and edited by Kimani David