The San Antonio Spurs have not played the defense they know they are capable of as of late.
Without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio had given up 100+ points in their previous three games. That is, until he returned to the floor in Sacramento.
Leonard finished with 18 points in his first action since the before the All-Star break, as the Spurs defeated the Kings 108-92 inside Sleep Train Arena on Thursday, for their third straight win.
Tony Parker finished with a game-high 23 points and six assists. Danny Green added 16 points and Kyle Anderson chipped in 14 off the bench for San Antonio, who improved to 5-1 on their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
San Antonio held an 11-point halftime lead, but saw it disappear as Sacramento went on a 9-0 run to begin the third quarter. The Kings outscored the Spurs 32-27 in the quarter. San Antonio would use a 15-2 fourth period and 44 bench points for the game to pull away.
“I feel like we have more weapons (than in the past), but if we don’t win a championship it won’t mean anything,” Parker said.
The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins’ 22 points, including 21 in the second half. Darren Collison and Quincy Acy each added 15 for Sacramento (24-32), who fell to 14-14 at home with the loss.
“It’s tough to defend them because they don’t have a one-man ego person. I mean that team is a team,” Kings coach George Karl said. “Their bench pretty much beat us. They have a lot of weapons.”
The Spurs are now 48-9 on the season and will return to the court Thursday night when they travel to Utah to take on the Jazz at 9:30 p.m.