Recapping with the Kings: #KawhiForROY
March 28, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) grabs a rebound against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
— How many more times does Kawhi have to play exceptional basketball before the national media finally gives him his due? There has been more Leonard clamor on Twitter but certainly not enough. Again, he was impressive. He scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33:12. Pop is going to lean on Kawhi a lot more down the road so this should continue to be a trend. His game meshes well with almost any lineup containing Manu Ginobili, his defensive flexibility allows Pop to guard him against almost anyone and his cutting ability makes any Splitter pick-and-roll that much more threatening. Kyrie Irving is one of the best point guards in the league but Kawhi’s play warrants some consideration right? He’s 20 freaking years-old too. #KawhiForROY
— How about that Manu Ginobili guy? He created something out of nothing and, sometimes, created nothing out of something. A typical Manu performance and one that we should be pretty excited about. It was a on a back-to-back.
— Gary Neal scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting. While he didn’t convert a bucket until late in the third quarter — you may remember that … Manu created the steal and Gary threw up a floater as the shot clock was winding down — his production was still important. The Spurs one-point lead stretched to six after Neal scored nine out of 11 points for the Spurs.
— Tony Parker had a rather low key night. 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He wasn’t particularly aggressive but he did score or assist on four of the Spurs baskets in the fourth quarter. Parker did what was necessary to get the win.
— Damn. I really need to see a replay of Leonard’s bucket with 3:48 left in the game. Leonard didn’t rush and calmly (emphasis on calmly) hung in the air for a couple of seconds before knocking down a tough floater. Nice touch. It was impressive.
— I remember how excited I was for Jimmer Fredette’s rookie season. I told myself I’d focus on him intently when he played the Spurs. Well, I almost forgot he existed. In 7:15, Fredette scored 5 points on 2-of-4 shooting.
— Tim Duncan was able to get some lift on his jump shot. His patented spin move bank shot was successful and, when that happens, that’s always a positive sign. Duncan posted 18 points and eight rebounds. He shot 9-of-18 from the field.
— I don’t like the vibe from Tyreke Evans. He’s talented, yes, but he doesn’t have his head on straight. Much like …
— DeMarcus Cousins. Who, unlike Evans, had a solid game. He scored 25 points on 11-of-24 shooting (you can’t possibly expect him to be efficient) and 11 rebounds. He also contributed negatively to the Kings cause. He totaled five turnovers and four personal fouls. You can’t win with this guy. He’s always prone to do something negatively.
March 28, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22, right) shoots the ball against San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22, left) during the third quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. The Spurs defeated the Kings 117-112. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
— The No. 60 overall pick of the 2011 Draft, Isaiah Thomas, was the best King on the court. At 5’9″, Thomas’ game is breath of fresh air on an otherwise selfish, inefficient basketball team. Despite taking nine 3-pointers, Thomas still shot 11-of-19. He was 8-of-10 on his 2-pointers and he also dished out 10 assists. He earned a team high 40:45 and only turned the ball over three times. Thomas has a lot of pressure to run the Kings offense effectively and he did so while playing relatively mistake-free basketball.
— Newly minted Spur Patrick Mills had a quality 6:28 of action. Within a minute, Danny Green found Mills wide open in the corner, which is, by all accounts, the definitive staple of the Spurs offense. You know, no pressure. He finished the second quarter with 7 points on 3-of-5 shooting and showed no signs of confusion in our offense. Mills, who benefits from his experience in Australia where they ran some Spurs sets, seems to be yet another effective piece in our offense.
— Why are you playing Manu 35 feet away from the bucket, Marcus Thornton? Is Manu that incredible that he is a threat to knock down 30-footers off pick-and-rolls? Please. Spare yourself and your teammates the embarrassment and go behind the screen if Manu is calling for a screen that far away from the hoop.
— San Antonio had a full roster and their diversity showed. There aren’t many teams that can keep up with the Spurs depth. To put this into context, all 13 eligible Spurs entered the game. Pop is going to have a lot of fun in April as he articulates his rotations.
— Matt Bonner only played 23 seconds. Boris Diaw (17:48) took the majority of Bonner’s minutes. It might be a trend but it’s too early to tell. Diaw didn’t score but he grabbed four boards and two assists. Diaw’s quick decision making and adept knowledge of passing angles makes him an ideal partner for a lot of Spurs lineups.