Tim Duncan finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds to boost the San Antonio Spurs over the Sacramento Kings 97-86 on Friday. The game dropped the Kings to 2-1 at home and 2-4 overall. They'll play the Lakers in L.A. -- possibly with a new coach, or maybe with Bernie Bickerstaff -- on Sunday. The Spurs move to 5-1 overall.
The Kings' defense did its job most of the night. The Spurs racked up some points late to make the score pretty, but committed 20 turnovers and scored just 1.0 points per possession. (San Antonio tends to be up closer to 1.1.) But the Kings' offense was baaaaaad. Sacramento shot 35 percent from the floor, just 3-16 on threes and below 75 percent from the line. The Kings only stayed in contention because they limited turnovers (11), got those Spurs turnovers and crushed the offensive glass (15 in 56 opportunities).
DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas had awful shooting nights at 4-14 and 3-11, respectively. Cousins suffered from some early foul trouble. Tyreke Evans continues to struggle from the perimeter (this fact is a repeating decimal at this point) and John Salmons got his first action of the season (five mostly uneventful minutes). There was very little Jimmer Fredette and James Johnson played just 20 minutes.
The Kings' MVP was Jason Thompson with 17 points on 7-10 shooting and six rebounds. He played 38 minutes as Thomas Robinson served the first game of his suspension.
The defensive improvement of this team has been encouraging. This is the best Kings defensive team (so far) in maybe a decade.
More post-game commentary in the morning.
Per Master Aykis, the Nostradumbasses of the Night were Surprise Team and LLCoolRay with 4 points each. Cheers, fellas!