After 143 days, the San Antonio Spurs resumed their regular season in the Orlando bubble with a 129-120 win over the Sacramento Kings (28-37) at the VISA Athletic Center on Friday night.
The win marks the first for San Antonio with seven games remaining as part of the NBA Restart. San Antonio’s win combined with losses by the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies has put the Silver and Black in 10th place, just a game and a half back of the ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers.
San Antonio struggled with their transition defense as Sacramento got up and down the court with ease for buckets. The Kings were led by D’Aaron Fox, who had a career-high 39 points, with a majority of those coming in the paint.
With the injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge, Trey Lyles, and Bryn Forbes; the Spurs went to a lineup that included young guys Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon, and Lonnie Walker IV. Walker had 16 points and Johnson added eight points off the bench.
Three Standout Players
The most impressive player for the Spurs was Derrick White, who continues to show his growth and development. White finished with 26 points on 53 percent shooting, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Defensively, he took five charges to force Sacramento turnovers along with a steal and a block. White’s defense has been a big help for San Antonio, who has been inconsistent on that end of the court prior to the shutdown.
“He’s sure come a long way. He’s turning into an all-around player,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said of White.
DeRozan had a quiet night until the fourth quarter and that’s when he turned it on to help the Spurs start their time in the bubble with a win. DeRozan scored 17 of his 27 in the final 12 minutes and had 10 assists.
He found Johnson and Walker for threes and remained aggressive in getting second-chance points to keep San Antonio ahead of Sacramento, who was working on taking the lead late.
“Just me reading the game,” DeRozan said of his play. “I’m just trying to help them the best I can.”
Poeltl was the lone big man to get significant minutes for the Spurs in Friday’s win and showed by he deserves to be re-signed in the offseason. He had seven points, six rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
He clogged the paint and his length bothered the Kings guards as they slashed their way to the rim to try and score. The center did the things that you don’t see in the box score and its those things that make him an important asset moving forward.
The Spurs are now 28-36 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday afternoon when they face the Memphis Grizzlies (32-34) at 3 p.m.