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Spurs 136, Kings 117: Kings start road trip with third straight loss

From start to finish, that game was butt.

After getting burned by the Suns to start the week, the Kings had a day off to rub copious amounts of aloe vera all over their bodies and get ready for their next four-game road trip. On paper, these next four games could be interpreted as a respite for the Kings after having to face the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz both twice already to start the season. But we all know Kings basketball follows no sensible logic and truly anything can happen on any given night. With that in mind, I hope we all still performed our personal pre-game rituals (mine is deep breathing exercises while saying a prayer to the basketball gods) as the Kings took on the San Antonio Spurs tonight. Let's see how they did:

Quick Stats

Outcome: Kings lose, 136-117

Sacramento Kings: 117 pts, 51.1% fg, 27.8% 3 pt, 81.3% ft, 19 ast, 44 reb, 13 to

San Antonio Spurs: 136 pts, 53.3% fg, 56.3% 3 pt, 64.5% ft, 34 ast, 44 reb, 8 to

I need to make some serious changes to my pre-game ritual because what I am doing now is clearly cursed. The quick stats alone tell you a good part of the story. The Kings provided little resistance on the defensive end, giving up the most points in a game so far this season. The Spurs, not known for their outside shooting, shot the absolute hell out of the ball tonight against the Kings, because of course they did. The assists differential also paints the disturbing differences between these two offenses. The defense? Butt. The offense? Butt. This game? BUTT. I don't blame you if you just stop reading here.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
The Good
  1. De'Aaron Fox: There was one good thing and one good thing only from this game and it was the return of De'Aaron Fox. Without Tyrese Haliburton tonight, De'Aaron found the ball in his hands more and took advantage of the extra touches. After a slow start, he found his stride in the second half and was able to connect for 24 of his 37 points. He had some acrobatic finishes at the rim, drained some smooth midrange pull ups, and drilled two 3-pointers. He looked more comfortable and confident during this stretch, and it felt much like the De'Aaron of last season. The hope now is that he can continue with this level of production while also playing alongside Tyrese.
The Bad
  1. Defense: At one point tonight, I reached out to the Twitterverse and challenged all ye who dare to take a shot any time the Kings got beat on a back door cut. To those who rose to the challenge: please comment below to confirm that you are still alive. The Kings suffered breakdown after breakdown as the Spurs ran an efficient and moving offense. Although the Spurs shot an unusual 18-32 from the 3-point line, the Kings gave them open opportunities all night long. There was a clear disconnect and lack of focus on the defensive end and the Kings were never able to build any momentum because of it.
The Ugly
  1. Half Court Offense: I had thought comparing the Kings' half court offense to that of the Suns' on Monday night was painful. Turns out, I didn't even know what pain was back then. As the score shows, the Spurs put the ball in the basket a lot tonight. This meant the Kings were constantly having to inbound the ball to start their offensive possessions and this minimized their pace and transition opportunities. The Kings were forced into a battle of half court offense and, as expected when going up against one led by Gregg Popovich, they lost that battle. While the Spurs ran an efficient and flowing offense, filled with well-timed back door cuts and off-ball relocations for open shots, the Kings... well, didn't. With Richaun Holmes only playing 18 minutes (reasons unknown), the Kings lost their main source of action in the high ball screen and two-man game they so heavily rely on. They then resorted to one on one attempts, which were only consistently successful by De'Aaron Fox, or non-threatening drive and kicks. When they did have hard drives into the paint, they were often stunted by help side defense and a lack of flow of where the ball should go next. Players off the ball were stagnant and failed to relocate to effective spaces, eliminating any good passing angles. To end my rant, I will summarize by saying that this Kings half court offense is gross and needs to develop if they want to sustainably win in this league.
The King of Kings

As discussed earlier, De'Aaron Fox deserves the crown tonight for finding his rhythm and leading the team with 37 points and six assists. It was great to see him back to his usual scoring efficiency and I really hope this De'Aaron is here to stay.

Up Next

Friday, November 12th @ Oklahoma City Thunder - 5:00 P.M. (PT)

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Jman1949
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November 10, 2021 8:41 pm

Pop gunned us down again!

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ZillersCat
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November 10, 2021 8:45 pm
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Kosta
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November 10, 2021 10:11 pm
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ZillersCat
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November 11, 2021 9:21 am
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BabalooMagoo
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November 10, 2021 10:56 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Pop has probably forgotten more than Luke will ever learn

Klam
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