Six starters scored in double digits for the San Antonio Spurs (6-10) on Thursday night, led by Devin Vassell’s 29 points, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Sacramento Kings (8-6). The Spurs’ West Coast road trip drought continued with the 130-112 result, following losses to the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers. After starting the season 4-1, San Antonio has lost eight of their last 10 as the young team continues to fight the injury bug. This is nothing to take away from the effort of the Kings in front of a home crowd. A top-scoring team in the NBA, Sacramento continued its hot streak, winning its fifth consecutive game after a slow start to the season.
It Wasn’t a Complete Game for the San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were missing two of their top three-point shooters in Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott on Thursday night but still connected on 42 percent of their attempts from deep. In all, they connected on one less three-pointer than the Kings, and had a strong night from the floor, hitting 54 percent of their shots. Still, the team struggled in the other areas of the game, losing both the turnover and rebounding battles. San Antonio also committed 22 personal fouls that resulted in 24 free-throw attempts, of which Sacramento converted 22 for points.
As strong as the Spurs’ starters were, the bench was severely out-performed by the Kings’ relief unit which head coach Mike Brown used sparingly. Sacramento used just eight players for the majority of the game, managing the line changes effectively enough to keep San Antonio at bay. While the game did get close late in the third quarter, The Spurs failed to put together a complete game as the Kings ultimately pulled away by 18 points.
A Strong Closing Effort for the Sacramento Kings
In all, the Kings were efficient if anything all night. Committing just 12 turnovers, they shot lights out from all over the floor as well. Sacramento hit 57 percent of their attempts on the evening, including 40 percent from the perimeter and 91 percent from the charity stripe. After taking a commanding lead early, the Kings kept letting San Antonio work its way back into the game. Tied at 82 with just minutes left in the third quarter, however, Sacramento put their proverbial foot on the pedal and separated from the Spurs with a 20-3 run.
De’Aaron Fox was masterful in his closing effort, scoring 16 of his 28 points in the second half. He was supported down the stretch by Malik Monk who caught fire late off the bench, chipping in 26 points of his own. Domantas Sabonis came alive late with eight of his 16 points coming in the fourth quarter alone.
Up Next for the San Antonio Spurs
The brutal travel schedule for San Antonio continues on Saturday as the team stays on the West Coast for dates against the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and Sunday respectively. By the conclusion of Sunday’s game, the Spurs will have played five games in seven days.
San Antonio is 0-1 this season against the Clippers following last week’s loss in the Alamo City. They’ll likely face a Paul George-led squad, though the status of Kawhi Leonard is surely unknown at this time. He did play in the Clippers’ Thursday night win over the Detroit Pistons, scoring six points in 25 minutes. As for the Lakers, the two teams will get extremely familiar with each other in the coming days. Including Sunday’s contest, they’ll play three times in seven days, capped off by a back-to-back series in San Antonio next weekend.