On Wednesday evening against the San Antonio Spurs, the Sacramento Kings scored 112 points, shot 55% from the field, had two players finish with more than 25 points. The Kings scored 34 points in the fourth quarter, and were playing a Spurs team that was playing its 5th game in six nights in Sacramento.
But, the Kings lost.
Lead by the Argentinean Manu Ginobili (20 points), the youngest player on the roster (Kawhi Leonard), a guy who sat out a game due to being “old” (Tim Duncan), and arguably the deepest bench in the NBA, the Spurs defeated the Kings 117-112 on Wednesday in regulation, not overtime.
Considering it was their 5th game in six nights, the Spurs showed no signs of tired legs as they scored over 26 points in every quarter, while their defense was trying to keep pace with the quick-paced Kings.
Tiago Splitter returned from injury and scored all of his seven points in the first quarter, while DeMarcus Cousins scored six of his 25-points in the first quarter. The Spurs took an early 27-22 lead after ending the first quarter on a 7-2 run capped by a Ginobili three pointer at the buzzer.
Kawhi Leonard inserted his aggressiveness on both sides of the floor in the second quarter as he was deflecting passes, hitting threes, and finishing at the rim. Leonard went into halftime leading the Spurs with nine points while guard Isaiah Thomas (28 points) was a spark for the Kings with 12 points at the half. The Spurs barely led 53-49 at halftime.
During the second quarter, Patty Mills showed some positive signs as he scored a quick seven points in six minutes of action on 3-of-5 shooting that included a corner three, a fading jumper, and a drive to the basket on the fastbreak. Mills is just another example of how deep this Spurs rotation goes from 1-13.
Duncan and Cousins both came out with a charge in the third quarter as they each scored eight points, while Leonard and Ginobili continued to dominate the backcourt. The Spurs took an 81-78 lead into the fourth quarter as both teams continued to pile on the points.
The fourth quarter began with the Spurs and Kings staying within a few points of each other, but then Gary Neal (13 points) scored seven straight points to push the Spurs’ lead up. Leonard, Tony Parker (10 points, 10 assists) and the closing ability of Ginobili (seven 4th quarter points) would eventually seal the deal for the Spurs.
How dangerous is this Spurs’ bench? They outscored the Kings 55-20 in the game. The rookie Leonard finished with 19 points while the Spurs also had four other players score in double figures, and only three of the Spurs’ 13 players in uniform tonight scored less than seven points, talk about efficiency.
With the win, the Spurs move to 35-14 on the season, are on a six game winning streak, move to 15-10 on the road, swept their five games in six nights series, and are 9-1 in their last 10 games.
The depth of this team can be described in one word, exceptional.
I'm still concerned about perimeter defense. I know it was the 5th game in 6 nights but there's no excuses for so many jumpers the worst jump shooting team in the league made...
The addition of Jackson, Diaw and Mills work wonders for the spurs. The rotation of Jax and Leonard must be the envy of teams. TD, TP and Manu have not age after all the years.