If you had been watching college basketball all day, with their terrible shot selections and lack of ball movement, and were looking forward to tuning into the Spurs game for some nice, well-executed professional basketball, then I'm sorry.
The 99-79 final score in the Spurs' win over the Sacramento Kings looks like just another dominating performance by the Silver and Black, but the score hides the fact that the majority of the contest was a slapstick comedy of a basketball game. At times, this game was a visual rendition Yakety Sax.
The Kings kept it close early, mostly by holding the Spurs to shooting 36% in the first quarter. San Antonio got to a 16-8 lead with six and a half minutes to go in the first quarter, but the Kings would score nine unanswered points to take the lead 17-16 with under four minutes to go. This would be the only lead the Kings had all game. The Spurs would regain the lead shortly after and finish the first leading 24-23.
The Kings continued to show some good defense against the Spurs, not allowing the usual penetration and open looks we are used to seeing. The Spurs found themselves taking contested shots deep into the shot clock. Despite the effort, the Spurs went out to a 32-24 lead with 10 minutes to go after a tough bank off the glass by Marco Belinelli. Tim Duncan was having a frustrating game and was getting called on some ticky-tack fouls in the second, which made him show some emotion we don't normally see. The Kings would pull within two points a few times, but the Spurs would finish off the half strong. They went into the locker room up 47-37.
The third quarter...oh man, the third quarter. The third quarter was something. It had been a chippy, low-scoring affair before half time, but I would not have believed you if you told me that was as pretty as it was going to get. Here is a game clock timeline of some of the "lowlights" of a quarter that may never be spoken of again:
11:06 - Kawhi block/grabs Cousins' shot in the air then takes it down the court himself ending in a missed layup. In an attempt to get the rebound, Splitter gets hit in the throat. The rebound goes to Duncan who gets fouled on the put-back miss. Duncan hits 1-of-2.
10:27 - Tiago Splitter dishes a nice behind-the-back pass to Danny Green under the basket, who misses an easy layup.
9:30 - Splitter tries to get past Cousins to score but gets his shot blocked and knocks it out of bounds trying to sell the foul. No call.
8:30 - Splitter gets tomahawk-blocked by Rudy Gay in the paint.
7:40 - Tony Parker drives the lane and gets clobbered by Cousins, who gets a piece of the ball. Parker assumes the fetal position for a few seconds. No call.
7:09 - Kawhi and Reggie Evans both take a hard fall as Kawhi was fighting through his screen on defense. Foul on Kawhi.
6:54 - Parker finds Duncan cutting to the basket off of a pick-and-roll. Duncan gets his shot swatted into the stands by Gay. Off the ensuing inbound, Duncan hits a bank shot, but gets called for a technical foul on the way to the other end of the court for saying...something.
6:10 - Gay spins as he drives the lane, and the ball flies out of his hand into the stands. Turnover.
5:11 - Isaiah Thomas tries to get past Parker, trips, falls, and knocks his own ball out of bounds as he drives the lane. Turnover.
4:57 - Kings' coach Michael Malone gets called for a technical foul for saying things to the official. Sean Elliot says, "When Tiago scored his 11th point, we should have just gone to the bus."
0:41 - Sean Elliot says, "This is one of the zaniest games I've seen." As Sean finishes his sentence, Isaiah Thomas drives and gets fouled in the head by Splitter who knocks Thomas' headband over his eyes. Thomas then frustratingly takes off his headband and throws it into the stands.
Please know that here were so many more slips, trips, bricks, falls, and fouls that were not listed. Again, all of this happened in the third. Somehow, the Spurs increased their lead throughout all of this and headed into the fourth up 69-57.
The fourth quarter was by far the best played quarter by both teams. Marco Belinelli had a lot to do with that. The Italian did most of his damage making off ball cuts and getting open. He truly is a master of off-ball movement. I also want to say that as we give Marco credit for finding ways to get open, we must also give the rest of the Spurs credit for having the awareness to find him in tight spots. Both are a treat to watch.
Belinelli had 13 fourth quarter points, and the Spurs finished off a rocky, weird game in Sacramento securing their 12th straight victory. With the win, they remain two games ahead of the Thunder heading into Oakland tomorrow night.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Sactown Royalty.