The San Antonio Spurs opened their two-game homestand with a blowout victory over the Sacramento Kings, 136-117. The Spurs got out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back, in large part thanks to their best night shooting threes of the season, hitting 18-32, led by five from Devin Vassell and four from Doug McDermott.
Dejounte Murray had a season-high 26 points to go along with 7 assists and 6 rebounds, and six other Spurs scored in double figures. De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 37 points but otherwise had very little help.
- With both Jakob Poeltl and Jock Landale out in health and safety protocols, maybe Drew Eubanks was feeling a little pressure to perform early as the team’s only true center? He had the Spurs’ first three turnovers in the first four minutes, once on an errant pass in the fast break, and two more via passing out of a post move where he had the shot. He was quickly replaced by Thaddeus Young, but not much harm was done as the Spurs quickly got out to a ten-point lead and never let up. Eubanks would still go on to have a good game himself with 18 points, most of which came from him going 10-13 from the free throw line. (Reminder: the Spurs average just 16 attempts per game as a team.)
- The Spurs started the game 5-6 from beyond arc, one coming via Keldon Johnson receiving the ball in transition and passing it out to Devin Vassell, which is good to see as KJ by far passes the least out of drives of all qualified players in the league. This may not quite count as a drive since he took just two dribbles from the arc without reaching the paint before passing it back out to Vassell and setting the screen, but the more unselfish he is, the more the defense will respect the pass, and the lane will open up a little more for him.
- With Keita Bates-Diop out with a back contusion, Bryn Forbes was the beneficiary of his minutes, and he was hot early with 10 points off the bench in the first half. The Spurs maintained a comfortable 15-20 lead almost throughout the second quarter thanks to them remaining hot from three, hitting 11-19 in the half (more than their season average of makes per game), but four Kings free throws in the final 12 seconds (including on a questionable clear-path call in which Young appeared a step ahead of the play) “only” allowed the Spurs to be up 71-54 at the half.
- The third quarter has either been feast or famine for the Spurs this season, and this one started out leaning towards the latter, with the Kings getting out on a 9-2 run and the Spurs offense just not flowing like it was in the first half (when they had 20 assists on 27 field goals). A McDermott desperation three stopped the bleeding and got the Spurs offense back on track. It was defense-optional on both sides for much of the quarter, which usually wouldn’t be ideal for the Spurs against a strong offensive team like the Kings, but ultimately they avoided another collapse and came out no worse for ware, still up 17 points heading into the fourth.
- After looking like he just wouldn’t fit in at first, Young has really come into his own with the Spurs lately. He knows where to be on offense now, and not only is he making his shots, but he’s creating them as well, with 8 assists on this one. There will be nights that are little tougher when the opposing team has larger backup bigs — the Kings’ brief second quarter run to make things a little more interesting came in large part thanks to Alex Lin having his way down low for a stretch — but it will be interesting to see what Pop does with him and Eubanks once Poeltl is back. Both are deserving of minutes.
- The Spurs kept their foot on the pedal in the fourth quarter for the blowout, and sure enough the Primo chants began. With rookies John Primo and Joe Wieskamp being called down from Austin, fans got their wish with three minutes left and the Spurs up by 25. Primo never got a shot up, but he did have an assist to Eubanks, and Wieskamp had a three of his own.
- Notice Buddy Hield hasn’t yet to be mentioned here? That’s always a good thing when a known Spurs killer is kept in check. Tonight he had a quiet 12 points on 5-14 shooting, with his only two threes coming in garbage time.
- Murray Stat Watch: I’m starting a new feature monitoring Murray’s stat output, because if he can maintain a stat line of 17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals for the season, he will achieve a feat only matched by Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Tonight he had 26/6/7/2.
For the Kings fans’ perspective, visit Sactown Royalty.
For just the second time this season the Spurs are staying home for consecutive games and are ready to greet the Dallas Mavericks (again) on Friday. Tip-off will be at 7:30 PM on Bally Sports SW-SA.