But here is the Follow-up from that post. The game was never in doubt and Tim Duncan played less than 13 minutes.
“I think the Kings played a good game, against a team that really wasn’t the best that the Spurs can put on the floor. Our defense was lacking, both interior and exterior and especially on the pick & rolls which still seem to perplex most of our guys. Sometimes the Bigs don’t even come out to help, and then end up trying to defend guards like Parker and Manu one on one, and lose badly. Then there are times when the big will help and switch to stop the ball, and the guard will leave the screener wide open. Which would be fine if someone else helps, but it usually just ended with the man with the ball feeding a wide open roller for an easy dunk.
We actually won the boards 43-42 and 15-9 on the offensive boards. We had fewer turnovers 13-17. We were close in points in the paint 54-52 and we won the fast break points 30-12. We got to the FT line 9 more times and made 8 more FT’s. We were out shot from three 7 to 2, and, the Spurs did out shot us from the field 48-40, but since they average 47% from the field that really wasn’t that unexpected.
I was encouraged that we were 16 of 26 at the rim and 7 of 15 between 3 and 9ft. And, that’s without JT, with Jackson playing more minutes than DeMarcus, and Dalembert having an off night and going 0-5 in 18 minutes. Was it one of our best games this year, probably not. But, we didn’t roll over after getting behind early. Yea, we didn’t play the team that had the 41-7 record, but we played a good team and we played tough.”
The Spurs made no changes at the trade deadline, but with a league leading record 51-12 who would have thought that any was needed. Since defeating the Kings the Spurs have gone 10-4 including 5-1 at home. That home loss was to the Lakers and is one of only 3 losses that the Spurs have experienced at home. The Spurs have the 2nd highest Off Efficiency at 109 and the 7th best Deff Efficiency at 101.1. They have the #1 3PT% at 40.2% and they have the 5th best FG% at 47.2%. They have the 8th lowest turnovers per game and the 9th most steals per game. The Kings have a huge advantage on the Off Boards but the Spur hold a slight advantage on the defensive end.
There really isn’t much that the Kings do better than the Spurs. We do score more often and at a higher percentage on our shots in the paint. We also outscore them on the long 2’s but that’s because we take way more then we should considering that we shot below 37% at that range: the 2nd worst shooting percentage in the league. The worst offenders are some of our frontcourt players, Cousins who averages 34%, Thompson 33% and Casspi 31%. We need to improve our shot selection with 6 to 7 of those longs 2’s moved out to the 3-pt arc or at the rim where we have our best opportunity to succeed.
I like some of the individual matchups. DeJuan Blair vs DeMarcus Cousins was all DMC in the Rookie/Sophomore game. I also think Dalembert on Duncan can work for us. I also like Cisco on Richard Jefferson, so I think the Kings will do well against their front court. The problem is that the Spurs have Parker and Ginobili in their backcourt and the Spurs all play as a team while the Kings are mostly one on one offensively. The Kings haven’t found out how to defend as a team yet, which means we’ll end up doubling on Parker and Duncan, and will be slow to rotate and bring defensive help. Parker and Ginobili will find our weaknesses and exploit them. And, when we don’t rotate out to the 3pt shooters like Matt Bonner who’s averaging 52% from beyond the arc, then the Spurs are going to bomb us like there’s no tomorrow.
Actually, our best chance is to control the boards, creating 2nd chance points and fast break points, while hoping that the Spurs 3pt shooters have a bad awful day. All three bigs for the Kings missed practice due to injuries but still played in the Orlando game. Sammy is playing with a bad knee, DeMarcus a bad shoulder and JT is playing with a sore ankle. Beno missed the game with the flu, leaving the Kings with seldom used Pooh Jeter as their only player with any ball handling skills what so ever, so it’s not surprising that the Kings had another 20+ turnover outing.
On the Brightside DeMarcus is worth the price of admission. Yes, he had 7 of the Kings 21 turnovers against Orlando, but there was no one else that they could run the offense thru. His defense was absolutely spectacular. He fought to keep Howard from getting good position on every possession. Howard had only 2 baskets at the rim; one on a dunk against Sammy and one on an alley-oop against Cousins. But, the next time they tried an alley-oop to Howard, Cousins went up and took that alley-oop right out of the air and away from Howard; it was special. I also liked his pick & roll defense. Nelson got off a few jumpers, but Howard never got the ball.
Orlando started sending the double-team before DeMarcus received the entry pass, because it was pretty obvious where we were going on every possession. All that needed to happen was for the ball handler to go to DeMarcus’ side of the court and the double-team was in motion. If the Spurs take a similar approach at defending DeMarcus, we need a secondary threat on the weak side. Specifically a three point threat from the area vacated by the player supplying the double team. Or, someone needs to start cutting to the basket to give DeMarcus an open pass out before the double arrives.
I don’t expect the Kings to win against the Spurs on their home court, and certainly not when the Kings are averaging 18 turnovers per game over the last 11 games without Tyreke. Yes, the Kings have committed 200 turnovers in the last 11 games. But, it will be fun to watch if Cousins can continue to impose his will on another team like he did against the Magic. Go DeMarcus.