You'd understand a loss to the San Antonio Spurs by the Sacramento Kings. Expect it even. After all, the Spurs are the very model of what an NBA franchise strives to be. And yet the Kings attacked the defending NBA champions with such aggression, and willed themselves to a 94-91 victory.
Sure, the Spurs were on the second night of a back to back, but the Spurs rested their stars Friday night. Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, all of them played 6 minutes or less in the fourth quarter on Friday. And watching the game, it wasn't a matter of fatigue. It was a matter of facing DeMarcus Cousins.
Boogie was limited in the first half due to two quick fouls. But the Kings, unlike what we've seen much of this season, held strong. Cousins played just nine minutes in the first half, yet the Kings held a halftime lead. Even when it might have normally made sense to bring Cousins back in, Michael Malone allowed the team to play. When Cousins finally came back in for the second half, he was unstoppable. Possession after possession, Boogie went straight at Duncan and found the basket. Boogie had just four points in the first half, but finished the night with a line of 25 points, 10 rebounds, and one block.
There were no big comfortable leads, there were no massive meltdowns. The game came down to the wire, and you'd expect nothing less from a team like San Antonio. But in the end, the Kings played an excellent team game, and won together.
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- Cousins picked up a technical foul in the first half, but his season total remains at one, as it was confirmed during the game that his technical against the Memphis Grizzlies has been rescinded.
- The Kings were 0-12 from beyond the arc. They beat the Spurs without ever hitting a three.
- Omri Casspi's energy was off the charts. He made so many hustle plays to keep the Kings in this game.
- Jason Thompson played tremendous defense against Tim Duncan, I was quite impressed.
- The Kings had 19 assists to 9 turnovers. A few of those turnovers came late, as Darren Collison lost the ball twice in the closing minutes, but overall that's a great ratio to see.