Despite making the final score of last nights loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder look respectable with some fun garbage time, the Kings did not play well. It was one of their worst losses of the season from a watchability standpoint. Steven Adams and Enes Kanter ate the Kings alive inside, and you just got the sense right from tipoff that the Kings had no chance. They played defeated, they looked defeated, and that kind of basketball is a chore to watch.
I was expecting another chore tonight. Having to play the second night of a back-to-back in San Antonio is basketball for ‘pain’.
The young and undermanned Sacramento Kings got off to a hot start thanks to some excellent sharp-shooting by Garrett Temple and Buddy Hield. The Spurs looked shockingly un-Spurs like on offense, but I don’t want to take too much credit away from the Kings, either. It wasn’t as if the Spurs were missing a ton of open looks. The Kings were making them work for just about everything.
The Kings would close out the first quarter with a 27-21 lead, and it was already infinitely more watchable than last nights loss to OKC, so I’m calling this a win for Kings fans already regardless of how the rest of the game plays out. I’ll take whatever drop of entertainment I can get out of these guys at this point.
Sacramento even managed to stay competitive with the Spurs for most of the second quarter before San Antonio made a late run to end the half. The Kings went into halftime down 9, which, as previously mentioned, was a lot better than I would have expected going in.
The third quarter was a little more in line with what I was expecting from tonight’s game.
The Spurs put together a thoroughly dominant 41-25 third quarter, and this game was all kinds of over.
Garbage time featured a couple of really nice plays by Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, and Willie Cauley-Stein, along with another night of extended minutes for Papagiannis. Big Papa hit the glass hard, and if nothing else he looks like an NBA ready rebounder right now. His offense is still a mixed bag at absolute best. On one particular possession he really got his body into a much smaller player and created excellent position in the paint that would lead to free throws after a nice Cauley-Stein entry pass. If he can create space like that on a consistent basis the Kings might have something, but he still has a lot of development to do.
It was nice to see the young guys play extended minutes, but in the interest of picking every nit, these extended minutes are considerably less interesting when they come with a twenty point deficit. This is a tough team to watch right now, there is no shame in admitting that. On to the next one.