SAN ANTONIO – For 36 minutes the San Antonio Spurs made life much more difficult than it needed to be. With his team struggling to score, Coach Gregg Popovich inserted guard Bryn Forbes in the fourth quarter that is when things changed.
Forbes gave the Spurs their first lead of the game at the 10:18 mark of the quarter as the Silver and Black rallied for a 98-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings (26-55) at the AT&T Center on Monday night.
The victory clinches a playoff berth for San Antonio, making it the 21st consecutive time they have made the postseason. Additionally, the win also sets up a very important regular-season finale date with the New Orleans Pelicans, who are also fighting for their seeding in the Western Conference.
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: Forbes, Rudy Gay, and Manu Ginobili.
- San Antonio clinches a spot in the NBA Playoffs. After a few weeks of concern, the Spurs finally found a way to grab two much-needed wins to officially punch their ticket into the postseason.
- Rudy Gay continues to show how much of an asset he is to the Spurs when coming off the bench.
- Manu Ginobili did Manu Ginobili things.
- Once again, the Spurs started off slow. San Antonio shot just 35 percent in the first half and struggled against the Kings defense. Sacramento took a 12-point lead in the third quarter and had control of the game for 36 of the 48 minutes.
- San Antonio had no answer for Sacramento rookie De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 21 points and at one point hit three consecutive three-pointers in the second quarter.
- The Spurs’ defense struggled to get a hold of Fox or Buddy Hield, who combined for 38 of the Kings 85 points.
- Tony Parker and Danny Green struggled offensive, scoring a combined six points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Three Standout Players:
Manu Ginobili: After his 17-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Mr. Grandpa Juice himself would put together another solid game to lift San Antonio into the postseason.
Ginobili once again puts up another 17 point performance, shooting 45 percent and going 2-for-6 from three-point land. It would be Ginobili’s performance in the fourth quarter that would be one of the reasons San Antonio are celebrating a playoff weekend again. He weaved through the Sacramento defense for a 40-year-old slam, bringing down the roof of the AT&T Center.
Bryn Forbes: The former Michigan State Spartan would be the huge spark that the Spurs needed late down the stretch. Forbes took the pass from Kyle Anderson as he gave San Antonio the lead. Later on in the period, his 3-pointer would put the Spurs up seven points.
Forbes may not be getting much playing time this late in the season but Monday night proved he is ready to step up whenever he is called upon.
Rudy Gay: Determined to not miss the playoffs, Rudy Gay willed his team to the postseason by putting in a performance on his old team.
Gay finished with a team-high 18 points as he came up big in the fourth quarter. He would score five straight points, three of them coming on a three-point play chance and it got him to the playoffs for just the second time in his career. Rudy’s performance as of late just shows how much of an asset he’ll be this weekend for the Silver and Black.
The Spurs are now 47-34 on the season and will return to the court on Wednesday when they travel to New Orleans to face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans (47-34) at the Smoothie King Center at 7 p.m.