CK Press Box Report – San Antonio Spurs 97, Sacramento Kings 86

Updated: 11:56 pm PT

On Friday night, inexperience caught up with the Sacramento Kings as they hosted the San Antonio Spurs.  The Kings were out-executed down the stretch by the visiting team from Texas and lost 97-86 at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings finish this three-game home stand with a 2-1 record.  Overall, they now stand at 2-4.  Their next game is Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Mike Brown-less Lakers.

Quotes of the Game

DeMarcus Cousins on the battle between Tim Duncan and his reaction to comments about him made by Spurs analyst Sean Elliott:

That was a competitive, big-man battle.  But, some people that wanna say people are immature, wanna go on TV and make comments about it.  But, I mean trash talking is part of the game.  I’ve got the utmost respect for Tim Duncan, so me trash talking Tim Duncan is not being disrespectful.   He’s the greatest forward to play this game.  But for him to go on TV and say the comments that he said, that’s immature.

Marcus Thornton on what the Kings can do to get better offensively:

I think we have to focus more on just seeing the ball go through the net and stop rushing it, myself, included.  I’m rushing a lot of shots.  We just have to have to hold ourselves accountable on the offensive end and make it happen.  We are the only ones out there that can make it happen, so we have to step up to the challenge and do it.

Tim Duncan on his cold that’s spread around the Spurs’ locker room:

I am typhoid Tim.

Notes and Analysis

  • After battling a stomach virus for much of the week, Tim Duncan finally had his energy back and it showed.  The future Hall of Famer finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals in 31 minutes.  He is probably the most underappreciated player of all time and his greatness will not be completely realized until he is gone from the game.
  • Patty Mills was incredible off the Spurs’ bench.  The former Saint Mary’s Gael finished with 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting.  I’m not sure what to make of this.  In a game where you hold Tony Parker to five points and Manu Ginobili to seven, you should be able to handle a player like Mills.
  • With Thomas Robinson suspended and DeMarcus Cousins in foul trouble, Jason Thompson had a big night.  Coming into the game, Thompson was averaging just 8.2 points per contest, but tonight, he doubled that, finishing with 17 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes of action.  There is major cause for concern with JT’s rebounding numbers this season.  For his career, Thompson has a rebounding percentage of 15.1 percent.  Through the first five games of the season, that number sits at just 10.7 percent, which is well below NBA standards for a starting power forward.
  • The combination of Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks was not good tonight.  The duo combined for 10 points on 3-for-16 shooting, handed out just four assists and let Mills kill them on the defensive end.  Clearly, these guys aren’t conventional pass-first point guards, but they have to do a better job of finding teammates for high-percentage shots.
  • James Johnson had one of his better offensive performances tonight, but it wasn’t good enough to keep Smart from going to John Salmons in the fourth quarter.  After missing most of training camp and the team’s first five games of the season, Salmons played a solid five minutes on Friday.  The combination of Johnson and Tyreke Evans in the starting line-up is starting to cause problems.  Without shooters on the floor, teams are collapsing the lane on the Kings, which is disastrous to the flow of the offense.
  • Cousins was dominant late in the game when the Kings fed the big man.  He went right at Duncan and came away with a pair of nice buckets and a foul.  On the flip side, he shot just 4-for-14 from the field and played just 23 minutes because of foul trouble.  In his defense, the officiating was atrocious and Cousins had at least three questionable calls made against him.
  • Stat of the Night: The Spurs bench outscored the Kings 47-24.  That’s not going to cut it.
– James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. Will the Spurs make the Kings miss Thomas Robinson?

The Kings could have used Robinson’s presence tonight.  Foul trouble reared its ugly head yet again for DeMarcus Cousins, who picked up his fourth foul less than five minutes into the third quarter.  Robinson’s absence really hurt the Kings in the rebounding battle, where the Spurs out-boarded the Kings 48-43 in victory.

2. Can the Kings contain the Spurs from beyond the arc?

San Antonio came into this game ranked 11th in the league in 3-point percentage.  But at 27.8 percent from beyond the arc, the Spurs shot well below their 36.6-percent season average.  Unfortunately, the Kings weren’t able to slow the Spurs down inside the paint.  San Antonio converted on 20-of-29 attempts for a blistering 69 percent on shots around the rim.

3. Who wins the sixth man battle: Marcus Thornton or Manu Ginobili?

In the individual match-up, Thornton outplayed Ginobili tonight.  He scored 17 points off the Kings’ bench to Ginobili’s seven off the Spurs’ bench.  However, Ginobili and the Spurs came away with the win.  The veteran guard’s final line wasn’t great, but he did make timely plays in crunch time.  With their lead down to seven following two Kings’ free throws, Ginobili found a wide open Patty Mills for three from the left corner.  That basket put the Spurs back up double digits and basically sealed them the victory.

– Jonathan Santiago

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