There’s no questioning the effort. The Sacramento Kings took on the challenge of the perennial contender San Antonio Spurs and didn’t flinch. Unfortunately, the Kings just could not find the basket. Open looks from the outside, attempts right at the rim and even at the free throw line — it didn’t matter. A nasty 35.2 percent mark from the floor really spoiled an otherwise gritty effort. The Spurs, whose 20 turnovers kept the door open, came away with the 97-86 victory, sending the Kings to a 2-4 record.
DMC VS. THE LEGEND – It was entertaining to watch DeMarcus Cousins (23 MIN, 14 PTS, 4-14 FG, 6-7 FT, 9 REB, 3 AST, 5 PF) go to war against Tim Duncan. The Kings center got in early foul trouble, which was especially hurtful with the absence of Thomas Robinson. But when DMC was in the game, he showed no reservations about going right at the Spurs legend. In fact, down the stretch the Kings almost primarily ran their offense through Cousins in the post. Cousins’ shooting line looks awful, but it’s still encouraging to see him work out of the low block. Next step will be staying under control and seeking out cutters and shooters. The two charges…errr, bull rushes of Duncan were pretty cool.
THOMPSON’S EXPANDED ROLE – Make it two straight productive games for Jason Thompson (38 MIN, 17 PTS, 7-10 FG, 6 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK), who really stepped up against the Spurs. Thompson was having his way with DeJuan Blair, and he was the only Kings player finishing at the basket. It begs the question — should the Kings offense be run through Thompson a little more frequently? No one is saying JT is a dynamite post player but he’s smart, rarely makes mistakes, will find the open man and has become a solid finisher. Against certain teams, Thompson should be more than just a glue guy; he should get a chance to generate offense for the entire team.
HOLDING OUT FOR A SHOOTER – Keith Smart’s propensity to play everyone on the roster has gotten much publicity, and it continued against San Antonio. With shot making a huge obstacle for the Kings, Smart ran through a series of reserves in hopes of finding a hot hand. Unfortunately, nobody stepped up. Aaron Brooks, Francisco Garcia, Travis Outlaw, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons combined for 43 minutes and shot a terrible 2-of-14 from the field. After Fredette’s stand out performance against Detroit, it could be argued Jimmer (5 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-2 FG) deserved more than 5 minutes of playing time against the Spurs.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – That Tyreke Evans (33 MIN, 12 PTS, 5-13 FG, 6 REB, 3 AST) jump shot we’ve been hearing about the past two offseasons…yeah, still not here. He’s hesitant to shoot and for good reason … Marcus Thornton (28 MIN, 17 PTS, 7-17 FG, 4 REB, 3 AST) is settling into his role off the bench. He had some notable missed shots but his work ethic on the offensive end is second to none … John Salmons made his season debut. Hard to grade 5 minutes of playing time but the steal and block were good to see … Chuck Hayes worked hard but his lack of height killed him offensively. He had three shots blocked and went 1-for-6.