There are some nights that the Spurs feel like a very repetitive team to watch. While they’ve had some extreme blowout losses this season, it often seems like their closer losses have mostly followed the same script; play even for most of the game, but some bad stretch somewhere decides the outcome because this team just doesn’t. have the firepower to overcome a double-digit deficit. This time it was a 12-0 second quarter run for the Sacramento Kings that put the Spurs in a hole they couldn’t crawl out of, despite being relatively even with the remaining 45 minutes to play.
Both teams had the green light to shore up the margin to start the game, and the Spurs had the last laugh, ending the first quarter with a 31-30 lead before Jakob Poelt’s shot, but unfortunately the most notable. the event was that Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones went to the locker room about a minute apart with separate injuries. Sochan could be seen grabbing his lower back and walking away with a slight squeeze, while Jones reportedly injured his left leg. Both were out for the rest of the game.
The Kings opened the second quarter with an 11-4 run, six of which came from former Spur Trey Lyles, which forced a Pop timeout. He then called another timeout after the Kings made another layup, but it didn’t help. The Kings got three straight buckets off of Spurs turnovers and jumped out of the aforementioned double-digit lead at 49-37 on that 12-0 run. Malachi Branham and Zach Collins scored the Spurs’ final eight points of the quarter to get them back within seven at 61-54 at halftime, but the damage was done. The Spurs actually shot as well as the Kings in the half, but they gave up too many fast break opportunities and allowed 21 points to Domantas Sabonis, who got everything he wanted in the paint all night no matter who was guarding him.
The Spurs came out aggressive to start the second half, forcing a Kings timeout after making three of two consecutive layups by Josh Richardson, who started the half in place of Sochan. Sabonis continued to hammer the Spurs on the defensive end with 13 more points in the quarter to go with a season-high 34 points, but they remained just as aggressive on offense to keep the pace and cut the lead to five at 89-84 for 34 points. the final frame.
The Spurs scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to pull within one, perhaps giving them hope that they could end their horrendous 0-36 record when trailing by double digits, but turnovers continued to plague them, most notably: they couldn’t stop the Kings from the free throw line. As has been the case so often this season, fourth-quarter execution plagued the shorthanded Spurs, while a more talented team simply outplayed them, and the Kings gradually rebuilt their lead, handing the Spurs their seventh straight loss, 119-109.
- Like Monday’s loss to the Wizards, this was a game the Spurs actually won or even played in a few statistical categories, but it was the ones they lost that really cost them. Both teams made 48 field goals and eight three-pointers, with the Spurs winning the board battle and having five more assists. The problem was they were outscored 25-8 after 18 turnovers and 15-5 at the free throw line. The mistakes were the killer.
- Spurs could be seen to be frustrated with the referees as the game wore on as they felt it wasn’t being called evenly. For the most part, the refs let both teams play, but when you look at how many points both teams scored, despite Sabonis’ dominance, with the Kings narrowly winning in that category 74-68, it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t the Spurs. misrepresented at least as often as kings. For a while, it looked like the Spurs might even set a season-low in free throw attempts, which was previously four. They were sitting on just three tries with five minutes left in the game, but eventually got four more after going into the bonus.
- Nazr Mohamed was the Spurs alum of the night, and he recounted his murky entrance to the club when he was traded from the Knicks for one of the most famous Spurs of all time, Malik Rose. Nobody was happy at the time, I personally remember wanting to cry and Muhammad said it probably took two weeks before Tim Duncan even talked to him. However, all was soon forgiven as he played an integral role in their 2005 championship run, and today he is one of the most memorable Spurs players to have spent less than two seasons with the club.
The game of the game
Remember when 30 assists was an automatic win for the Spurs? Those were the days. Regardless, good things usually happen with teamwork, and this ball was a good example and helped start Malachi Branham’s career-high 22 points.
Next: Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers
The Spurs will play their final home game before the Rodeo Road Trip on Friday against the 76ers. They are a much-improved side since Spurs upset them earlier in the season, but hopefully the Good Boys can find the momentum to end the Stadium on a high note, given they don’t return until March.