The King sure like to tank in the weirdest of ways. After an overtime loss to the Jazz and hanging around with the Nuggets, Sacramento decided to make things exciting for a half before being thoroughly dismantled in the third and fourth quarters.
Dave Joerger’s veteran starting crew of Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Tolliver, and Kosta Koufos jumped out to a huge first quarter lead of 37-15 behind ‘Reke’s throwback 13 points on 5 shots and Kosta’s always-steady 10 points. The Spurs struggled to find any offense with five players scoring 2 points and Bertans leading with 3.
The Kings unlikely scoring barrage continued into the second period and with 3:53 remaining, they took a 61-33 advantage over San Antonio. Over the next 27 minutes and 53 seconds, the Spurs outscored us 81-43.
The rest of the game saw the Spurs slowly grind their way back into the game and with six minutes left in the game, they took their first lead of 95-92.
The Kings blowing a huge lead and losing their sixth game in a row isn’t really the story tonight as the loss is a good thing for their lottery standing. The main takeaway for fans trying to find hope in this dark, dark timeline is the unexpected explosion of Skal Labissiere and the continued impressive play of Buddy Hield. Ironically, Dave Joerger is refusing to tank, but his reliance on veteran players is actually hurting the Kings on the court as the rookies are outplaying the vets in two positions.
Tolliver + Afflalo (starters)
53 minutes, 13 points (5/14 FG, 1/3 3P), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks
Labissiere + Hield (subs)
32 minutes, 26 points (11/19 FG, 3/5 3P), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 1 block
- I can’t say enough about Skal Labissiere. The Spurs were going after him on both ends of the floor and he still made a positive impact, albeit with some rookie mistakes. His jumpshot is incredibly smooth and so soft that an errant shot can easily bounce back into the hoop. He looks more and more like the real deal every single game.
- Willie Cauley-Stein has an odd habit of missing dunks almost every game. Tonight, he had two pretty perfect set-ups and missed them both. He’s struggled with his hands in the past, so this could be a result of bobbling the ball just before dunking.
- Tyreke Evans had an old-school ‘Reke Havoc game with 26 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He cooled down a bit in the second half and although I have no desire to see him in a Sacramento uniform next year, it was a fun throwback game.
- Speaking of throwback games, Manu Ginobili had 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. The bat catcher has always killed the Kings in the past and that habit continued tonight.