The eternally brilliant Spurs used a dominant third quarter effort, and the Kings offense never got stable enough to combat their terrible defensive in a 104-94 loss in San Antonio. After trailing 57-54 at halftime, it took Sacramento over five minutes to score in the third quarter, and by then San Antonio had used a 12-0 run to take a big lead that they never relinquished.
Sacramento made it semi-interesting late in the fourth; a three pointer by Rudy Gay cut the deficit to nine at 94-85 with 4:45 left to play, but the Kings never got beyond that. A dunk from Kawhi Leonard - in which he drove by multiple stationary Kings - put the Spurs up 98-88 with 2:32 left and ended Sacramento's hopes.
DeMarcus Cousins finished with a hard-fought 31 points and nine rebounds on 10-20 shooting (and 10-15 from the three throw line) as he faced double- and triple-teams from the Spurs defense. Rajon Rondo had 9 points and eight assists with six turnovers, and Quincy Acy scored 16 points with seven boards.
The Kings shot 45.7% from the field and forced 21 turnovers from San Antonio, but while the Spurs offense was at times sloppy they still managed 31 assists, shot 49.4% from the field and outrebounded Sacramento 46-33. Leonard's offense was seemingly hampered all game long as he shot just 9-24 from the field, but still managed an amazing 25 point, 13 rebound, 6 assist effort.
San Antonio rested both Tim Duncan and Danny Green, and LaMarcus Aldridge was held out with migraines. The Spurs did get Manu Ginobili back from a twelve-game absence, and he finished with points and helped lead the San Antonio bench that combined for 54 points and 23 rebound on 64% shooting.
The Kings offense wasn't exceptionally stable in the first quarter, relying on 10 points from Acy (including two threes) to keep them within striking distance at 29-22. Mid-way through the second, Cousins took over the offense with 11 points and two offense rebounds in the final six minutes to help the Kings claw back from a 10 points deficit. A Rondo buzzer-beater three brought the Kings within 57-54 at halftime as the Kings defense became more active, but the three-point deficit at the break was the closest Sacramento would get.
San Antonio (53-9) won their 30th home game of the season and are seemingly locked into the West's second seed behind the Golden State Warriors. The Kings (25-36) have one final road game in New Orleans on Monday before they return home for match-ups with Orlando and Cleveland this week at Sleep Train.
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- If it wasn't for the bench play of Darren Collison (12 points, seven assists on 5-9 shooting), the game would have been much, much worse. Rondo was his usual self, producing a few amazing passes but with his standard turnovers and poor effort defensively. The Spurs snagged far too many steals off Rondo over-the-top passes that never got close to Cousins.
- Marco Belinelli was a disaster in his return to San Antonio, finishing with seven points on 3-11 shooting; unfortunately for the Kings bench, Omri Casspi was no better, adding six points on 3-10 shooting.
- Willie Cauley-Stein (one point, 0-3 shooting) finished with just 12 minutes as George Karl opted to give Quincy Avy extended burn. Kosta Koufos was held out with food poisoning.