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Spurs Perimeter Shooting, Defensive Gameplan Overpower Kings

Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The Spurs are a good basketball team, and the Spurs create sound game plans. You knew Coach Pop would have his guys prepared after the Kings shocked them in San Antonio last meeting. In addition to a strong defensive plan, the Spurs stepped up and let it rain from downtown. The Kings battled well and kept it close throughout, but every time they inched near the San Antonio lead, the Spurs extended the advantage and squashed the run. The Spurs grabbed a 117-112 victory, led by 20 points from Manu Ginobili.

THE QUICKNESS OF ZEKE – Tony Parker has always been a load for the Kings because of his insane quickness and deft scoring touch around the rim. For the first time maybe ever, the Kings were able to counter Parker’s quickness with a speed demon of their own. Isaiah Thomas (40 MIN, 28 PTS, 10 AST, 4 REB) was a stud on both ends of the court. Defensively, he kept Parker out of the lane for the most part, surrendering just 10 points to the Spurs guard. Thomas did a solid job, but he was also helped by his teammates, and this collapsing gave San Antonio a plethora of open looks from long range. Offensively, Thomas rediscovered his shooting touch after struggling in Houston. He was aggressive in getting to the rim and efficiently ran his team. Watching Thomas outplay Parker further solidified his standing as a legit player in the league.

TYREKE STIFLED – Tyreke Evans had one of his better games when these teams met in San Antonio. Part of the Spurs game plan was clearly geared toward keeping Reke (30 MIN, 6 PTS, 3-5 FG, 3 REB, 5 AST, 4 TO) out of the paint. San Antonio packed the paint and forced the Kings perimeter players to settle for outside looks. Fortunately, Evans was hitting his jumpers, but the Spurs defense really took him out of his game. He was met by a brick wall on most of his drives, and trying to power through it only resulted in turnovers. It was clear Keith Smart recognized this because he kept Evans out of the game longer than usual. Credit the veteran Spurs unit for slowing the Kings power game.

MORE T-WILL – With John Salmons nursing a hip injury, 10-day contract recipient Terrance Williams (17 MIN, 7 PTS, 3-6 FG, 3 AST, 2 REB, 1 STL) received more playing time. The thing that jumps out about Williams is his liveliness on the court. Speed and bounce are two of T-Will’s greatest assets. So far with the Kings, Williams has shown an ability to hit shots, though the small sample size makes it somewhat unreliable, especially given his 39.6 percent career shooting percentage. Against the Spurs, Williams didn’t try to do too much. He got into the lane, showing offensive aggressiveness on a number of possessions. He also had some good looking shots rim out. Defensively, Williams’ athleticism helps him immensely but he still shows some immaturity, as if he relies too heavily on his quickness and doesn’t really buckle down. Williams has surely shown enough to earn a second look, and at this point it would be a surprise if he isn’t kept for the rest of the year.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Great to have Jason Thompson (37 MIN, 15 PTS, 7 REB, 3 STL, 3 BLK) back. The Kings sorely missed his size, and JT returned with some nice offensive work against the Spurs. He’s got a couple go-to moves that have become really reliable … Didn’t really care for DeMarcus Cousins’ (34 MIN, 25 PTS, 11-24 FG, 11 REB, 5 TO) attitude tonight. Way too much whining with the officials. It was a great opportunity for him to showcase his game against one of the best players of all time. And he played well in stretches, but not an efficient game overall .. Jimmer Fredette (7 MIN, 5 PTS, 2-4 FG) had a solid first-half stint. He showed no inhibitions, but Smart couldn’t take Thomas out in the second half, meaning Fredette rode the pine.

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