The San Antonio Spurs continued their winning ways against a feisty Sacramento Kings team on Thursday night. Escaping with a 102-94 win at the newly opened Golden 1 Center.
Kawhi Leonard willed the Spurs to their second straight victory of the season on a so-so shooting night. Leonard dropped 30 points on 11 of 21 shooting from the floor.
Leonard capped off his 35 point performance on opening night against the Golden State Warriors with a encore performance on Thursday.
Both teams left it all on the floor. The Kings players and fans came in with alot of energy as they were looking to start off their season in their new home with a win.
It looked promising at times as DeMarcus Cousins put the team on his back and finished with a game-high 37 points and 16 rebounds.
Oct 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Spurs won the game 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio did not have an answer for Cousins as he bullied his way down in the post. All the Spurs could do was try and slow him up and put him to the line. That would cost San Antonio.
Cousins was nearly automatic from the charity stripe going 14-for-16.
At the start, Pau Gasol was defending Cousins and from that point, you knew he would have himself a day.
Gasol is a huge liability on defense. The Kings did a great job exposing him.
San Antonio looked to be a totally different team than what we saw on opening night. The offense at times from the starters was stagnant.
For San Antonio their bench provided a much needed spark. Jonathon Simmons sparked the team against Golden State, but on this night, it would be the play of DeWayne Dedmon and David Lee.
Dedmon picked up right where he left off against Golden State. He was all over the floor and provided the Spurs a much needed boost on both sides of the ball.
Not known to do much scoring, Dedmon checked in and quickly made an impact. Dedmon finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
What was impressive about his play was on the defensive end against Cousins. Yes, Cousins played one heck of a game but Dedmon made him miss some critical shots down the stretch and matched his physicality, something Gasol could not do.
Spurs also got a boost from another big. Lee, just like his counterpart, finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
They both were consistent with their play and put the Spurs in striking range when it seemed not go their way.
As great as they played off the bench, it is Leonard’s team after-all.
In the final quarter, Leonard willed them to victory.
He attacked the basket, and played solid defense. At one point he ripped the ball away from Rudy Gay, which he then converted it into a thunderous slam.
Leonard had five steals.
It was what the Spurs needed after not being able to match the energy of the Kings.
Sacramento could not of played a better game then they did. But credit to San Antonio for fighting back when it seemed as if the Kings were going to snap their losing streak against the Spurs.
The Spurs now head home to the AT&T Center where they welcome Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.