The Sacramento Kings fell short in a must-win contest against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Sacramento Kings‘ road to the postseason just got a whole lot harder.
The Kings made their much-anticipated return to the hardwood on Friday night as they took on the San Antonio Spurs in what seemed like a must-win game on paper.
With a difficult upcoming schedule, the Kings were dealt an easy start to their eight-game slate against a LaMarcus Aldridge-less San Antonio Spurs team.
The talk was there, but the execution was not. At least, not from most of the team.
De’Aaron Fox was one of the few players who showed up as the young point guard put together the best game of his career totaling a career-high 39 points and six assists in 38 minutes.
Fox was in complete control all night driving to the basket with ease and simply doing anything he wanted to. It was his night to shine, but the Kings found a way to waste it.
Buddy Hield struggled mightily coming off the bench shooting an abysmal 2-of-13 including 1-of-8 from three-point range. It was a typical off night for Hield who kept shooting no matter how many shots rimmed out.
He kept waiting to find his groove. Unfortunately, he never did.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only Kings player not named De’Aaron Fox to make any significant impact with the shooting guard coming alive in the second half and finishing with 24 points while shooting 55 percent from long range.
Ultimately, however, it was the little things that did the Kings in.
The Sacramento Kings’ lack of experience showed in their loss to the Spurs.
They didn’t box out, they didn’t close out on perimeter shots, and they failed to execute down the stretch. The Spurs may be having a down year, but the Kings had no answer for veterans like DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay who hit clutch shots towards the end of the game.
And Gregg Popovich coached circles around Luke Walton. The Spurs were the better team, even without Aldridge.
Fox and Bogdanovic did their parts, but the Kings’ inexperience shined through. Simply put, they didn’t look like a playoff team.
Say what you want about the Spurs’ talent — we’ve definitely seen much better Spurs teams over the past two decades — but they continue to do the little things right.
They hustled to loose balls, they boxed out on the glass, and they hit clutch shots when the game was on the line. There seemed to be a lack of urgency on Sacramento’s part — not something you’d expect from a team playing for their postseason lives.
Now, the Kings find themselves in a hole where they may have to win one or two games no one expects them to.
This was supposed to be the momentum-builder. This was supposed to be the game where the Kings reminded everyone that they are a part of this NBA restart and that they do have a chance at making the postseason.
Instead, they look no closer to a postseason berth than they did months ago.