NBA: Spurs breeze by Sacramento, 113-100
Coming off a huge emotional win against the Lakers the night before, the San Antonio Spurs arrived in Sacramento on Friday night in a sky-high mindset and dissected the Kings, 113-100, in a game far more lopsided than the final score showed.
After the Spurs dramatic victory over the Lakers on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times
reported the Lakers have “no realistic shot of catching the Spurs” by the end of the season. After the way San Antonio manhandled the Kings a night later, that might very well be true.
San Antonio hit its first five shots, including a couple of three-pointers by Richard Jefferson and Tony Parker, for an early 12-2 lead. Parker blitzed the Kings in the first quarter with 11 points, picking up where he left off against the Lakers the night before.
Much has been written of the Spurs of late, with much of it concerning the team’s lack of legitimacy
at being title contenders, but for those keeping close tabs on the them, the realization is this team is special, and barring injuries, will be the one to beat come title time.
Tiago Splitter, seeing increased playing time of late, converted a three-point play at the end of the quarter to give the Spurs an easy 34-19 lead. Splitter, the 6’11” player from Brazil, teamed up with Manu Ginobili on several pick-and roll plays.
On the team’s off-season acquisition, Ginobili said: “He’s used to playing with great pick-and-roll players and rolling and finding a spot to finish. Here, it’s a little bit different because of the athleticism of the opponents. He’s got to learn the players and find his way. But he’s a great pick setter and you know he’s always going to roll,” MySA
Due to the Spurs success with their starting lineup this season and a preseason injury, Splitter’s spot in the rotation has been limited, but Friday night’s early lead gave him a chance. “It’s a matter of getting used to him. We haven’t played together that much. But I know he’s a great player and has a great basketball IQ. He’s going to be good,” Ginobili continued.
And that is the key to playing with the Spurs, great basketball IQ mixed with athleticism. A prime example occurred the night before in Los Angeles when 36 year-old Antonio McDyess tipped in the winning basket
on a Tim Duncan fadeaway that hit the back of the rim.
McDyess slipped behind his defender, boxed him out, and was in position for the winning basket. A simple coaching technique, but for some, a complicated concept to grasp.
In Sacramento, the Spurs opened the second quarter on a 7-2 run, pushing their lead to 20 points. By the 8:27 mark, they were up 45-24 and the game was essentially over.
A Donte Green runner cut the lead to 47-26. To its credit, Sacramento’s home crowd was still in the arena and better yet, still cheering the Kings.
Tim Duncan went to the bench midway in the first quarter and did not return until the start of the second half.
At halftime, the Spurs were up 61-43. Parker led with 16 points. For the Kings, Beno Udrih scored 11 points.
The Kings started the third on a 4-0 run but turned around and let the Spurs increase their lead to 24 by the 8:35 mark of the quarter.
Jefferson was fouled on a three point shot and converted the free throw for a four-point play and the Spurs were up 82-57
Sacramento went on a 14-3 run near the end of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 12 before the Spurs bounced back and took a 91-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
The win improved San Antonio’s record to 42-8. Parker led the team with 25 points while Jefferson dropped in 16. Splitter, on 7-of-8 shooting, also scored 16.
Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 25 points followed by Udrih with 18. The loss dropped the Kings record to 12-35.
San Antonio finished the west coast leg of their Rodeo Road Trip
with a 2-1 record and have their next six in the Eastern Conference, starting with a Tuesday night game in Detroit.