It was big night for the trio of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas. They combined for 80 points, but the rest of the team managed 24 points in their 112-104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday at AT&T Center.
Jason Thompson had seven points and 11 rebounds. Ben McLemore had five points, but no rebounds, assists or steals.
The Kings only had 12 points from the bench. That’s skewed in the case of Derrick Williams because he only played 13 minutes, 19 seconds. He had three points and four rebounds. Marcus Thornton played the most of the reserves (17:16) and had five points, four rebounds and two assists.
Regardless, the Kings need more from the rest of the team. The bench was key in the win over Miami. San Antonio’s bench scored 53 points, led by Manu Ginobili’s 28 points.
“Those guys have to find their opportunities because those guys are going to get the bulk of the shots but then I’ve got to try to get some guys some looks,” said Kings coach Michael Malone.
Thomas said there are ways to take advantage of the trio and do more late in games.
“I think we kind of go to one person or to the same play,” Thomas said. “But that’s my part as a point guard where me and Coach have to help each other on that. If we’re going to go to the same person we’ve got to have different sets ... but we’re all working together.”
*DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 14 rebounds and gave the Spurs a lot of problems. But the Spurs used Tim Duncan on Cousins late.
“(Cousins) is a tough guy to cover,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “He is so big but I feel like Tim did a good job of doing his work early and making it tough for him to get the shot off. His length helped on DeMarcus down the stretch. We waited for that opportunity and Tim did a great job on him.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Duncan’s defense late was his helping force a turnover when McLemore inbounded the ball to Cousins and Duncan forced a bad pass that made McLemore lead Cousins over the halfcourt line for a violation.
Cousins said he didn’t realize Duncan had taken over defending him late.
“Not to be disrespectful, I didn’t even notice it, honestly,” Cousins said.
*Popovich said this about the Kings’ talent:
“Well, it is a talented group and they are playing unselfishly. They play hard, and they are kind of new. They’ve got some new bodies and they are trying to put things together and it's always difficult. It always takes time when you’re trying to put in a new system and do it with different players that haven’t played together very much.”
*The Kings’ late-game execution was a reminder of a few things. One, that they’ve still got a lot of work to do in figuring out what works best late in games. Another was the Spurs know exactly what they want to do late.
The Kings last road win was aided by Orlando mistakes, the kind the Spurs usually don’t make. The Kings also cannot resort to giving the ball to one player and watching.
“They definitely turned up the heat,” Malone said of the Spurs’ defense. “We had our way with them in the third quarter, Isaiah got off, (the Kings) scored 38 points in the third quarter and you know Pop’s going to get on his team and his team is going to respond like they always do.”
*The Kings will practice Monday in Houston, a rarity since the deal with Toronto.
“We’ve played more games together than we’ve actually practiced,” Cousins said.