The final score is not indicative of how the game went. The Spurs were in control from start to finish, with the Kings never really threatening to come back in the game. Every time the Kings would go on a run the Spurs would answer back in quick succession.
The First Quarter was the real difference of the game as the Spurs came out firing on all cylinders. If I didn't happen to be rooting for the Kings, I would have found it beautiful. San Antonio could do no wrong, playing like a single entity with five appendages. Sacramento meanwhile fumbled about listlessly, playing too much isolation basketball on offense, and not putting enough effort in on the other end to get stops.
The biggest problem early (and all game, really) was preventing penetration. Tony Parker was a surgeon, cutting through the Kings defense as if it wasn't there (which half the time it wasn't). Parker was merely the beginning though as San Antonio was able to get easy shots all game through simple ball movement and fundamentals. They ended up finish the game shooting 57.1% from the field.
The Kings saw perhaps their strongest play come when they themselves began to move the ball and act like a team. Pooh Jeter was the impetus behind it, sparking a little run in both the 2nd and 3rd quarter. But even with better offense the Kings defense still couldn't get any stops. The closest the Kings would come back to making the game competitive was near the end of the 3rd quarter when Westphal used a three guard lineup of Pooh, Beno and Tyreke and had them push the ball at every opportunity. Sacramento actually managed to cut the lead to 12, but just a quick 20 seconds and two sloppy possessions later resulted in a couple of easy Spurs baskets to extend the lead back to 16.
The Kings would do well to watch tape of San Antonio and to try to emulate them. The Spurs are a true manifestation of the team concept. Whether it was the starters or the bench, every player knew what they were supposed to be doing, and nobody was forcing the issue. The same can't be said for the young Kings, who too often give the ball up to a single person and force them to try to create something out of nothing.
San Antonio is a really, really good basketball team. The Kings yet have a long way to go if they want to join their ranks, and it will take more than good individual talents to get there.
Postgame: Paul Westphal 2/4/11 (via kingsflix)
Postgame Kings Vs Spurs 2/4/11 (via kingsflix)