The Kings' Isaiah Thomas loses control of the ball as he drives to the basket between the Spurs' Cory Joseph, left, and Danny Green.

Kings collapse after two impressive games

Published: Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2013 - 3:24 pm

SAN ANTONIO – It didn't take long to see the Kings had lost their two-game mojo that had them piling up points and assists.

Less than five minutes into Friday's game, coach Keith Smart sat all five of his starters.

"There was no pace to what we were doing," Smart said. " … We didn't have anything. Nothing. I'm searching to find something to stop this onslaught because it was going downhill very, very fast."

It never really stopped going downhill in a 130-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. The Kings ended their five-game trip 1-4 and early on looked like a team ready to get home after eight days on the road.

Sacramento trailed 14-4 when Smart removed his starters with 7:24 left in the first quarter. The Kings have started slowly before, but there was no sign they'd bounce back against the Spurs.

"That group had played very, very well the last two basketball games, but (Friday night) they had nothing in the tank to start the game off," Smart said.

The Spurs put on what Smart called a "passing game clinic" while the Kings looked woefully outclassed.

"Everything (we) tried to do (resulted in) turnovers, quick shots, bad shots," Smart said. "And then defensively we were horrendous to start the game off. The weak-side awareness was not there. (The Spurs) put on a passing game clinic."

San Antonio shot 60.7 percent, besting the 56.3 percent that Miami shot Jan. 12 in Sacramento for the best by a Kings opponent this season. The Spurs also scored the most points in regulation against the Kings this season.

Miami scored 128 in January.

The Spurs had 41 assists, the most by an opponent this season. The Heat had 35 assists in both games against the Kings this season.

It was also the most assists by the Spurs since Nov. 7, 1990, when they had 42.

The Kings (20-40) were looking for their third consecutive game with at least 30 assists for the first time since February 2004. They also were trying to score at least 125 points for a third game in a row. But with their turnovers and poor shooting, the Kings had only 20 assists (seven in the first half).

"We kind of gave up early," center DeMarcus Cousins said. "I'm disappointed. We can't come out that way."

San Antonio used teamwork to dissect the Kings' spotty defense. Eight Spurs scored in double figures to the Kings' three.

The Kings had five turnovers in the first five minutes and finished with 20 that led to 26 points for the Spurs (46-14).

"They just played good 'D,' Tyreke Evans said. "They got deflections, they ran off our turnovers, and we didn't get back. I think we were still trying to be aggressive, but I think coach did the right (thing) by taking us out and getting some new guys in."

The only bad news for the Spurs was losing starting point guard Tony Parker to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.

The MVP candidate will be "out awhile," coach Gregg Popovich said.

Cousins said the game was "absolutely" a setback to the good vibe from the previous two games.

Evans said the Kings can make up for Friday when they host Charlotte, which has the worst record in the league (13-45), on Sunday.

"It's only one game, and I think we can bounce back on Sunday," Evans said. "We've just got to be ready to play."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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