Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

March 28, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Spurs

Kings head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Power Balance Pavilion.

FINAL
Spurs 117, Kings 112

Isaiah Thomas had a career-high 28 points and the Kings shot 54.7 percent, but it wasn't enough for the Kings to avoid their fourth consecutive loss.

The Spurs made 14-of-20 shots in the fourth quarter and finished at 53.8 percent for the game, as the Kings' defense faltered in the second half.

San Antonio made 10-of-20 three-pointers.

"San Antonio's a team that is a lot different, and they're paying at a pace now where they're marching toward a bigger prize," said Kings head coach Keith Smart. "You have to play a perfect game. Mistakes that you make defensively, they're going to find the open guy, they're going to move the basketball to the open person.

"Any mistake, any coverage that's lacking, or lag time that you don't make a decision to get back to a primary spot defensively, they're going to find that guy. They know how to do that."

Mistakes on offense in the first half cost the Kings a chance to run out to an early lead. They shot 52.4 percent in the first half but trailed by four points at halftime, 53-49, largely due to 12 turnovers.

"Sometimes game start off sloppy like that," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. "In our case we can't start off sloppy, especially against a team like the Spurs.

"What we wanted to do was come out, jump on them early -- they'd had a long stretch of games -- and just out-run them. But that wasn't the case tonight and that resulted in an even tougher game later on."

Cousins finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton had 18 points for the Kings, who finished with 16 turnovers that led to 20 points for the Spurs.

Tyreke Evans, who led the team in scoring when they defeated the Spurs on Jan. 20, had a quiet night with six points and five assists on 3-of-5 shooting.

Jason Thompson, back in the starting lineup for the Kings after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle, had 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

Manu Ginobili scored a team-high 20 points for the Spurs. 

Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Tony Parker recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

"We played good (defense) for about 19, 20 seconds (a possession) and then that little mistake we had, whatever it might have been, they just did what championship teams do -- they found a little hole and they went through it," said Thomas.

THIRD QUARTER
Spurs 81, Kings 78

The Kings took better care of the ball in the third quarter, committing three turnovers, but still have ground to make up.

DeMarcus Cousins leads all players with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas has 16 points and nine assists, and Marcus Thornton has 15 points for the Kings, who are shooting 56 percent.

The Spurs, who are up to 49-percent shooting, have received 14 points and six rebounds from both Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard.

Manu Ginobili has 13 points off the bench.

Thornton stayed on the floor for several moments after a collision on the final play of the quarter and was helped into the locker room.

HALFTIME
Spurs 53, Kings 49

Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Kings.

Sacramento has 12 that have led to 14 points for the Spurs. The turnovers have made the Kings' good shooting (52.4 percent) not good enough to have a lead at all tonight.

DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and eight rebounds for the Kings. But Cousins also has a team-high four turnovers. Isaiah Thomas has 12 points and six assists.

Four Spurs have at least seven points. Kawhi Leonard has nine points to lead San Antonio.

The Spurs are shooting 43.1 percent.

FIRST QUARTER
Spurs 27, Kings 22

The Kings are actually outshooting the Spurs (45.5 percent to 40.7 percent) but the Kings had five turnovers in the first quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins leads the Kings with six points to go with three rebounds.

But Cousins has missed six of his nine shots and committed the gaffe of tapping the ball into the Spurs goal. The basket was credited to Tiago Splitter.

Cousins also has two fouls.

Jason Thompson has five points and four rebounds in his return from a two-game absence because of a sprained ankle.

John Salmons (sore hip) is not playing for the Kings tonight.

Splitter has seven points and six rebounds off the bench to lead the Spurs. Even though the Spurs are playing the second of a back-to-back, coach Gregg Popovich is not giving any of his veterans off, which he usually does during the season.



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