On the sixth stop of their eight game, 7,000 mile Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs conquered the Sacramento Kings 108-92, improving to 18-2 at Sleep Train Arena, and winning 35 of the past 39 meetings. San Antonio now improves to 5-1 during their trip, and hold a four game win streak. Continuing on their historic run, San Antonio's 48-9 record is the most wins in franchise history through 56 games. If they continue their victorious pace, they will possess the third best record in NBA history, behind this year's Golden State Warriors and the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.
For the third straight game, the Spurs played a lesser team they were heavily favored against. The grinding victories was not pretty, but a win is a win. The Kings are on the cusp of an eight seed playoff berth, but post-season aspirations are unlikely with the threat of management's axe lingering over the career of coach George Karl, posed to sever his fast-paced offensive strategy. Front office conflicts between Vladi Divac, owner Vivek Ranadive, and Karl seems to be trickling from behind closed doors onto the Sacramento's hardwood sanctuary, distracting a roster of likely playoff hopefuls.
The Kings leapt out to a fast start, forcing the Spurs into a high paced offensive battle they've never been particularly comfortable with. The defense smothered DeMarcus Cousins, limiting him to zero points in the first - his lone point of the first half came around the five minute mark in the second quarter, his lowest point tally of the season.
The Spurs developed a more comfortable nine point lead by the end of the second quarter -- the defense causing five turnovers, and Kawhi Leonard slowly developing some offensive rhythm. After missing three games with a calf injury, the Spurs All-Star contributed greatly on both sides of the floor. The Klaw finished with 18 points, eight board (seven defensive), and four steals.
After the half, DeMarcus Cousins was resurrected from the locker-room as a player reborn, dumping 16 points in the third, propelling Sacramento to their first lead of the half at the 5:41 mark. However, Boogie sputtered out of gas, and was benched in the waning moments of the quarter. The Silver and Black reserves stepped up, clawing their way back to a six point lead.
The San Antonio offense started the quarter with a 15-2 run, developing a comfortable lead commonly found against lesser opponents. San Antonio shot 51.8% from the field, in comparison to Sacramento's sloppy offensive output at 40.6%. Five Spurs finished in double figures, lead by Tony Parker's 23 points and six assists.
Spurs Connection: Former San Antonio guard Marco Belinelli played 15:29 for the Kings tonight, and came up empty with zeros across the stat board, save one TO. He is averaging 10.9 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.8 rebounds with Sacramento, in comparison to the 9.2 points, 1.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds he notched in his last season with San Antonio.