While the Spurs loss to the Kings on Wednesday night followed a pretty familiar script of the Spurs playing their opponent relatively even throughout the game but are doomed by one bad stretch, the biggest takeaway was both Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones leaving in the first quarter with injuries.
Sometimes such unfortunate events can overshadow the game, which meant Malaki Branham’s career highs of 22 points and 5 assists probably went unnoticed by some. He showed off his offensive versatility, shooting 9-13 from the field and 3-5 from three while scoring from all over the court. He doesn’t have a flashy game that lights the world on fire, but steady scoring and playmaking is all the Spurs need from him right now, and he’s becoming more and more consistent in providing it.
The Spurs also got Josh Richardson back from a three-game absence due to knee soreness, and he once again showed his value on both ends of the floor while filling in for Sochan with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. He may very well get traded in the next week (although that could change depending on how long the Spurs think Sochan will be out), but any team will be lucky to have him, and if he ends up staying, I’ll be happy with that, too.
Under ideal circumstances, Keldon Johnson shouldn’t be the top option on any offense, but right now he has no other choice due to Devin Vassell’s extended absence and the current state of the roster. Even though he struggled again from three last night, hitting just 1-5, he is continuing to remain aggressive and attack the rim, and his finishing in that area is improving as he uses his big body to move defenders out of the way.
Finally, the full game highlights.