After beating the Spurs on Monday night, the Kings had a sleepover in San Antonio and prepared for their chance to extend their winning streak to six games for the first time since January 2005. That was over 16 years ago. What were you doing 16 years ago? I was 11 years old and foolishly optimistic in thinking that the Kings were bound to win a championship soon. Yeah, I was a dumb kid. Let's see how the Kings did:
Outcome: Kings lose, 120-106
Sacramento Kings: 106 PTS, 42.4% FG, 31.4% 3 PT, 89.5% FT, 22 AST, 12 TO
San Antonio Spurs: 120 PTS, 46.7% FG, 38.5% 3 PT, 70.6% FT, 24 AST, 10 TO
The dark magic from Gregg Popovich that Will predicted in the preview turned out to be some powerful stuff. Pop casted some potent spell that had the Spurs killing the Kings at their own game. It felt like some Freaky Friday magic as the Spurs pushed the pace, scored in transition, and showered the Kings in 3s. To put it simply: the Spurs made a lot of baskets and the Kings did not.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Free Throws: The Kings shot 17-19 from the free throw line despite not making any trips to the stripe in the third quarter. Their best performance at the line was in the first quarter, as they shot 7-7. The Kings' struggles from the 3-point line started early, but they demonstrated quick recognition and adjustment as they managed to earn their way to the free throw line several times. They eventually fell back into old habits down the stretch, but it was a nice change to see the Kings try something new earlier on in the game. The near 90% from the line is also a welcome sight and was especially highlighted in contrast to Jakob Poeltl's back to back airballed free throw attempts.
- Poletl Hurdle: Jakob Poeltl punished the Kings on Monday with a strong double-double and a heavy presence on the boards. Knowing that he would be a hurdle for the Kings to get over again tonight, the Kings still managed to trip and eat shit as Poeltl again posted 12 points and 14 rebounds, five of which were on the Spurs' offensive glass. All night long, the Spurs looked to wreak havoc on the Kings in pick & roll action with Poeltl and it worked. As Richaun Holmes had to step off of Poeltl to defend the ball, the Kings failed to rotate to help the helper and Poeltl was left to clean up all the Spurs' easy garbage.
- Please, No More 3s: At one point in the game, I just wanted everybody to stop shooting 3s - the Spurs because they couldn't miss and the Kings because they couldn't buy one to go in. The Spurs rank 28th in the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. Adjusting from their normal style, the Spurs made it a point to kill the Kings with their own poison as they hit 10 of their 26 3-point attempts tonight, with nine of those makes coming in the first half when they established their lead. As the Kings tried to figure out how to wrangle Jakob Poeltl inside, they left shooters open and the Spurs capitalized. Unfortunately for the Kings, they weren't able to return the favor as they struggled from deep. Buddy Hield had four 3-point makes, but these came after he went 0-14 from the field in the first half. The Kings had some runs, but they came too late, and just weren't enough.
The King of Kings
In just his third game in a Sacramento jersey, Delon Wright is crowned as tonight's King of Kings for reminding us all that it is in fact possible for someone off the bench to score more than 0 points in a game. As a whole, this new Kings bench has looked exponentially better than the previous group, but Delon has been the first to show some real comfort and confidence on this new team. He finished with 16 points tonight, which is more than we would often get from the old Kings' bench as a whole. In a game filled with some dark magic, Delon was a bright spot.
Friday, April 2nd vs. Los Angeles Lakers - 7:00 P.M. (PT)