Game 79 of the season went about as planned, as the Spurs took care of the Kings 108-101 on Friday night.
For San Antonio, the return of Tony Parker couldn’t have come at a better time in the season. TP shined in his first game back since last Thursday, putting up 22 points and 10 assists. But he wasn’t the lone bright spot; the Spurs had 7 players in double figures, led by Tiago Splitter who had 12 points, 12 boards and 6 assists.
The final score indicates this game was closer than it really was. Sacramento never had full control, but their strong bench play kept them within striking distance. The Kings just couldn’t make a final push for the upset. For Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins had a solid performance with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Toney Douglas also put up a noteworthy stat-line off the bench, picking up 15 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.
Up next for the Spurs, a preview of what could be a potential 1st round matchup versus the Lakers. Tipoff is Sunday at 8:30 from Staples Center.
(I wasn’t able to watch much of this game, so my apologies for the brief recap and notes.)
- Tony Parker’s comeback was a bit overshadowed with the big news of the day that Stephen Jackson had been waived by the Spurs. After the initial shock, it’s actually not such a surprise. Jackson has been extremely underwhelming this year, and couple that with certain personal issues and injuries, constantly complaining about your role on the team is not exactly smart. Granted the fans will miss his intensity and character, and the bench spot behind Kawhi Leonard is practically vacant, but if he’s bringing down the locker room, then it’s a move that had to be done.
- It was announced today that Boris Diaw will miss 3 to 4 weeks after having surgery to remove a cyst in his lower back. First the departure of Jack and now this? I hope everyone’s ready for some Red Mamba tweets come playoff time!
- One of the good things about Jackson being waived is that it’s obvious Pop trusts Leonard with a huge amount of minutes. When asked about the possibility of Kawhi playing 35-40 minutes a night, Pop responded with, “That’s what we want him to do.” Simple enough.
- One last bit of good news, Parker hinted at a Manu Ginobili return for the regular season finale on Wednesday versus the Timberwolves. It will be interesting to note how Pop uses Manu now with the lack of a backup small forward. Will Joseph or De Colo be the primary ball handler for the second unit, or are we all back on the Gary Neal: Backup Point Guard Experiment?