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Spurs 108, Kings 99: Don’t Mess With Texas

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The Kings kept their pre-Christmas game close, but couldn’t quite finish the job in a loss to the Spurs.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Starters:

Spurs: Tony Parker, Bryn Forbes, Kyle Anderson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol

Kings: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple, Zach Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein

First Half

The Spurs and Kings faced off in Sacramento for a pre-Christmas skirmish Saturday night and for teams that are both in the bottom of the league in scoring, both the Spurs and the Kings seemed to take exception to that reputation. With a flurry of scoring to start the first quarter, it seemed like neither team was too interesting in playing defense; 10 lead changes and 5 ties more and the first quarter shook out to a 33-33 tie. Buddy Hield and Garrett Temple played twinsies; both going 3-5 from the field and 2-2 from three for 8 points a piece. Meanwhile, LaMarcus Aldridge got himself 10 points on 4-5 shooting.

The Kings didn’t miss a three pointer until 3 minutes into the second quarter, with a Malachi Richardson clank, but before then they were 5-5 from deep, and to match the Kings were 7-10. This game early in the first half had a really wonderful flow to it, with very little in the way of fouls or turnovers. Eight minutes into the second quarter and these two teams combined for only 4 turnovers and 3 of them were San Antonio’s. The Spurs are the team I want to Kings to emulate most; it’s beautiful basketball with so much in the way of unselfishness and this was one of those games that exemplified. Halfway through the second quarter and the game couldn’t be much better; the Spurs and Kings were each shooting well over 50% from the field and over 60% from deep. Yes, you read that right. The Kings had a slight rebounding advantage, and the Spurs had a 5 point advantage. If anyone was worried about Buddy’s bench mojo disappearing with his move to the starting lineup tonight, he was pretty much lights out with 12 points on 4-7 shooting. Now that I think about it, Bogdanovic might have been even better, handling and scoring the ball with ease on 4-4 shooting for 9 points. The Spurs went on a run late and ended up with a 13 point lead. TRIPLE DOUBLE WATCH! Pau Gasol ended up with 11 points, 6 assists with two three pointers and 4 rebounds. The star for the Spurs in the first half was Aldridge who had 17 points, 5 rebounds at halftime.

First Half Notes:

-The Kings shot light’s out from three: 6-7… Maybe they should start taking a couple more of them there deep shots.

-At half time they congratulated for Jerry Reynolds for his 50th Anniversary. Oh to be so lucky. Congrats, Jerry!

Second Half

The third quarter started with everything Hield. He had a steal, layup, block and another layup in quick succession and it became apparent that the Kings were the team ramping up the defensive pressure to start off the second half. Gregg Popovich called a timeout with 8:11 left in third after Willie had himself an offensive rebound and a put back to cut the Spurs lead to just 7 points. The Spurs started the third just with just 1-6 shooting, so I’m sure Pop was just giving them some nice helpful tips on their follow through. The decision was a good one two as the Spurs came out of the timeout scoring on two of their next three possessions to push the Spurs lead back up to 11. But the Kings just wouldn’t go away and pesky defense from the Kings had them back to within seven with 4 minutes to play. This was a quiet game for the Kings bench and with a couple of minutes left in the third, they’d only score 16 points and were outscored by 6 by the Spurs bench. Through three quarters, the Spurs lead the Kings, 84-76. Buddy Hield had himself 10 points this quarter, including a filthy stepback three to end the quarter and was up to 22 points and 7 rebounds to boot. LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points going into the fourth. Something of note: Skal Labissiere hadn’t played through three quarters. Weird.

Rudy Gay started the 4th off for the Spurs with back to back buckets, his first points of the game, with jumpers in the lane over Bogdanovic. After a three from Rudy Gay, Dave Joerger had seen enough and called a timeout with Sacramento down 14 points with 9:36 left to play. WIth 8 minutes left to play TRIPLE DOUBLE WATCH was checked complete as Pau Gasol grabbed his 10th rebound to go with 14 points and 10 assists and a minute later Tony Parker scooped in a layup to give the Spurs a 98-83 advantage. Frank Mason struggled all night, and had yet to hit a single shot in six attempts with six minutes left to play. Willie had himself what I thought was a fairly quiet game, but with still four minutes left to play was at 17 points, 11 boards and a couple of in-your-face putback dunks. With three and a half minutes to play, a Bogi Bomb cut the lead to 12; Bogdanovic’s third trey in as many tries. A Patty Mills three with two minutes to go was the nail in the coffin and the final score ended up being 108-99. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays you filthy animals.

Second Half Notes:

Buddy had a great overall game: 24 points, 8 rebounds on 9-17 shooting, and 4-7 from three and more importantly, got himself 32 minutes to boot. Might be time for this guy to stay in the starting lineup.

-Bogi finished with 15 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting.

-Skal didn’t log a minute this game and in a game where Z-Bo struggled for parts of it, I’m unsure as to exactly why he couldn’t get a single second on the hardwood.

-Manu had 15 points in 21 minutes tonight. He’s going to play until he’s 50, right?