This is what the San Antonio Spurs do to everyone. They aren’t spectacular and if you make too many mistakes, they put you away.
Such was the case Wednesday night as the Kings fell to the Spurs, 108-92, at Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings had won three in a row, but one of those wins came against Philadelphia, which has the worst record in the NBA, and the other two were against a struggling Denver Nuggets squad.
The Spurs, however, are at a different level and picked about the Kings with a 15-2 run to start the fourth quarter that turned a six-point game into a blowout.
“They play 48 minutes of movement, smart, solid, good basketball,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I thought fatigue was on our side most of the night from the standpoint of the pace of the game. A lot of the timeouts were just to rest the team and see if we could keep the energy on the court. When we took Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) out at the beginning of the fourth it started to go the wrong way and then even when we put Cuz back in it went the wrong way.”
The game was going the wrong way in the first half because the Kings could not make easy shots. The Spurs are one of the NBA’s best defensive teams, but the Kings helped out by missing several shots around the rim in the first half.
The Kings missed 22 of their 30 shots in the paint in the first half. The Kings rallied to score 32 points in the third quarter, but the 14-point second quarter was hard to overcome.
“Their interior defense is probably as good as anyone in basketball,” Karl said. “I think we were 8 for 30 at halftime and I think we had us for four or five missed layups. So if you make three of them it’s a four-point game, five-point game.
“And as I said, third quarter we had a good offensive quarter. But the energy of the game was dwindling for us defensively. And they make you pay. They don’t take bad shots. They’re probably the best team along with Golden State in basketball that finds flow and doesn’t force flow. And I thought we forced a lot of turnovers from them and forced a lot of bad possessions with our defense tonight. Without looking at the film, I’d have to blame our offense more than our defense on losing the game.”
It was especially tough on DeMarcus Cousins. After scoring 76 points in two games against Denver, Cousins missed all 10 of his shots in the first half and had just one point. The second half was better, with Cousins shooting 8 for 13, but the Spurs prove to be a tough matchup for him.
In two games against San Antonio this season, Cousins is shooting 13 for 43.
“They made it tough for me at the rim,” Cousins said. “Timmy (Duncan) and LaMarcus (Aldridge), it was tough. I missed a lot of bunnies in there. Some of the lobs from ’Do (Rajon Rondo) I could have come down with and finished. But there’s a lot of bunnies I feel I missed.”
Cousins finished with a team-high 22 points. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 23 points. But the Spurs got big contributions from the bench, too, including Kyle Anderson with 14 points and eight rebounds and David West with 10 points and eight rebounds. Boris Diaw had a team-high seven assists for San Antonio (48-9).
“The script when you play San Antonio is, you’re playing the Spurs, you’re not playing any one person,” Karl said. “They have a lot of weapons.”
Rondo finished with 18 assists for Sacramento (24-32). It was Rondo’s 38th game with at least 10 assists, one game shy of tying Reggie Theus for the most double-digit assist games in Sacramento history.
Rondo has at least 15 assists in 18 games this season.