Posted by: Kingsguru21 | April 6, 2010

Boring you on the way to victory: Spurs defeat Kings 95-86

There are times, and places, where this team’s youth shows. The 3rd qtr (in the beginning half), and most of the 4th qtr it showed. And that’s ballgame. Boxscore; 4 Factors:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
San Antonio 89.0 106.7 50.0% 20.3 22.9 12.4
Sacramento 96.6 46.3% 12.2 16.7 11.2

Okay, it’s probably not that simple. It rarely is. Throughout the first half, you had the Spurs trying to take control early (they did have a game tomorrow against Phoenix) so they could go on cruise control.

Tonight was just simply a symptom of a veteran team knowing how to play basketball and get things done. They don’t really play for stats like other teams (the highest scorer for the Spurs was Richard Jefferson with 18 points–but 10 of the 18 came in the critical 2nd half) and tonight it showed. At different points, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, even Tony Parker (who did not possess gaudy stats), Garrett Temple, and DeJuan Blair all showed what they can do. Balance and effort was what got the Spurs the win. They don’t panic. They run their sets and they slowly wear you down. You know the song “Killing you softly”. The Spurs go Roberta Flack on your ass every night, and most nights they will beat you.

The real problem is that the Kings simply don’t have enough depth (particularly on the front line) to get things done. Even when you factor in a guy like Francisco Garcia who is still having problems with his wrist (not a huge shock), Spencer Hawes being out, it’s having a wearing down effect. Landry doesn’t have the same explosiveness or willingness to bang in the lane after playing 35+ minutes. You can see the culminative effect of him playing major minutes. He’s a 3rd rotation big you play 20-30 minutes. Not a guy you play 40 minutes every night. Also, when you grab 2 boards in 40 minutes you’re not exactly shaking the earth on that end. (The Kings got badly out-boarded tonight, 43-34.) In fairness to Landry, he was 9-17 from the field, scored 20 pts, and had 3 steals.

Jason Thompson is not a Center. I don’t expect him to out-play Tim Duncan, but frankly, Duncan out-classed JT by a long mile. Even though Duncan is long in the tooth and is almost in the same stretch of his career Kevin Garnett is, Duncan did not physically overwhelm JT tonight. He’s just not, and I’m not sure how to say this, a NBA caliber starter at this point of his career. Neither is Spencer Hawes (although he’s shown glimpses as has JT).

If you look at the 4 Factors, it’s amazing the Kings ever stayed in the game. A lot of that is testament to Gregg Popovich using his deep bench where Paul Westphal had a pretty tight rotation (as he really should) and the freshness for the Spurs veterans showed. Pop wasn’t just thinking about tonight (he knew he was in for a game all night), and he’s thinking about tomorrow. The Spurs did what they had to do: Win the game. That’s what they came to do. They didn’t care about style points, or stats. I’ll say it again: The Spurs came to win. And to that end, the Spurs came, the Spurs saw, and the Spurs conquered.

Really that’s what this game was about. The Spurs really didn’t have Manu, Timmy D or Tony Parker going. And they won this game going away in the 4th qtr because they were smarter and savvier. The 4 Factors really says it all about how the Spurs won. They hit 90% of their FT’s, hit about the same amount of shots, rebounded a lot better, and didn’t turn the ball over.

4 games to go, and 4 games to get at least to 25 wins. (That one win has been eluding Paul Westphal hasn’t it?) The Clippers come in Thursday, Dallas Saturday, Houston Monday, and the Lakers on Tuesday. If the Kings get to 27 wins, I’ll be tickled pink. Beating the Clippers, Rockets and Lakers (especially with nothing to play for) is worth doing. I’m not sure that beating Dallas is even possible with so many things to be on the line for Dallas.

This is a game that a year from now the Kings win with better talent and a year of experience. (Or at the least it isn’t a blowout.) But this year? It’s another loss in a rebuilding year. And that’s okay. As long as the losses of this type stop happening next season, I’m okay with it.

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