Kings fall to short-handed Spurs in San Antonio

Gregg Popovich patrols the sidelines for the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Domination.  Disappointment.  Frustration.

Those are words to describe the performance from Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins tonight in San Antonio.  With starters Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard all sitting out, Cousins went wild on the Spurs, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

But the Kings fell to the NBA champs by a final of 106-99, in part due to Cousins’ 10 turnovers.

Rudy Gay returned to action after missing Saturday night’s game with a left ankle injury.  The veteran wing showed no signs of the injury, dropping in 18 points and seven rebounds, while point guard Darren Collison added 14 points and six assists.

Six Spurs scored in double-figures, including four reserves.  Jeff Ayers led the way with 15 points and six rebounds, while rookie Kyle Anderson added 14 in the win.



Notes and Analysis

  • Without Duncan and Splitter in the game, Cousins ran rough-shot over the Spurs frontline.  The 24-year-old center finished with 32 points on 10-for-12 shooting and added 11 rebounds in the loss.  The one issue that continues to plague Cousins throughout the preseason is valuing the ball.  Through his first four preseason games, Cousins tallied 21 turnovers and he added another 10 tonight in 36 minutes.  He’s got a week to clean it up before the regular season begins.
  • The Kings have been waiting for Cousins and Gay to go off in the same game and that is exactly what happened tonight.  Sacramento are relying heavily on this duo to carry the load this season and tonight was a snippet of what they are capable of.  Gay finished with 18 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
  • After averaging 13.6 points and 4.8 assists through the Kings’ first five preseason games, Darren Collison is clearly the starter going into the regular season.  He backed up that assumption tonight, dropping in 14 points and six assists in 30 minutes.  He plays a different style of game than Isaiah Thomas, but so far, he has been extremely good for Sacramento.
  • The Kings have been waiting for veteran forward Carl Landry to take a major step forward in his return from injury.  Tonight was that night.  The 31-year-old power forward scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.  If Landry can provide low post scoring off the bench, the Sacramento Kings become more interesting.
  • With Landry working the post and Ramon Sessions handling the perimeter, the Kings have the making of a strong bench.  Sessions struggled to finish at the rim early, but still managed to score 10 points and hand out five assists.  Sacramento’s point guard tandem finished with 24 points and 11 assists, which has almost become expected.
  • Omri Casspi (stiff back) and Nik Stauskas (left rotator cuff tendinitis) both missed tonight’s game and are listed as day-to-day moving forward.  Neither injury is considered major.
  • With Casspi and Stauskas sidelined, Malone turned to Ray McCallum and Derrick Williams off the bench.  The duo struggled, finishing with a combined four points on 2-for-9 shooting in 46 total minutes.  You need to make the most of every opportunity and tonight, these two came up short.
  • Stat of the Night: The Sacramento Kings continue to turn the ball over at an alarming rate.  Tonight, the handed it over 23 times, which is not going to win you many games.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".