The shorthanded San Antonio Spurs upset the playoff-bound Sacramento Kings on Sunday night, ending their six-game losing streak while notching their first road victory in over a month. Despite entering the evening down Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jeremy Sochan, the good guys took a team-first approach and spread the wealth on offense.
Although the Silver and Black were eliminated from the postseason nearly one month ago, they attacked this contest with the do-or-die mentality of a team in the heat of a playoff series. After 14 lead changes, 13 ties, and a lopsided overtime period, the good guys proved they have zero intentions of simply rolling over and waving the right flag for anyone.
This latest triumph may feel meaningless since San Antonio has secured a bottom-three record, but they were part of numerous record-setting feats and career achievements, so let's look at this matchup by the numbers.
The Sacramento Kings clinched a playoff appearance for the first time in 17 seasons after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. And their dedicated fans celebrated with record-setting attendance numbers in their return to the Golden 1 Center, selling out the arena as a whopping 18,183 people cheered from the stands.
While head coach Gregg Popovich and company could have let the crowd intimidate them, they fed off the energy and gave the Kings a competitive battle that ultimately went into overtime. San Antonio dominated the extra five minutes of free basketball, playing spoilers on what was supposed to be a festive evening for Sacramento.
The Spurs were winless (0-5) in overtime, and the Kings were undefeated (4-0) in overtime heading into this late-season matchup. So, of course, an extra period was necessary to determine the outcome between these two franchises heading in opposite directions.
San Antonio outhustled their fellow Western Conference opponent, nailing crucial shots and coming away with 50/50 balls. The good guys even held Clutch Player of the Year Award favorite De'Aaron Fox scoreless in the last five minutes, improving to 1-5 in overtime.
The Silver and Black were clicking on all cylinders on the offensive end on Sunday. They shot 53.1% from the field, earned 29 free throws, dished out 31 assists, and scored a season-high 142 points against Sacramento.
San Antonio pulled off one of their best games of the season with Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell in street clothes. And considering that tandem is responsible for 40.5 points per game, the Spurs deserve some praise.
None of this would have been possible without Tre Jones, who registered 17 points, ten rebounds, and 11 assists on the way to his first career triple-double. The third-year floor general has been a reliable playmaker for the Spurs all season, and he outmaneuvered his All-Star counterpart.
Jones notched the first triple-double of the season for San Antonio after Dejounte Murray logged a franchise-record 13 triple-doubles a year ago. He is the 15th player in team history with a triple-double, joining legends like Johnny Moore, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and Tony Parker.
Doug McDermott was also instrumental for the Silver and Black, scoring a season-high 30 points off the bench. The veteran sharpshooter torched a disjointed Sacramento defense with masterful cuts, timely relocation, and deft screen manipulation, fully displaying his off-ball prowess.
While the 31-year-old forward rarely looks to score off the dribble, he put the proverbial nail in the coffin with a one-legged fadeaway jumper on the baseline. That remarkably tough bucket accounted for just two of the nine points McDermott scored in his overtime outburst.
Julian Champagnie got involved in the historic night with a career-high 26 points in 28 minutes. The rookie slipped backdoor for uncontested layups, drained catch-and-shoot threes, and made several trips to the free-throw line in his best game for San Antonio.
The Spurs claimed Champagnie off waivers and signed him to a two-way contract in February. Although he spent his first month with the franchise playing in the G League, he has been a productive member of the second unit since his promotion to the NBA.
Dominick Barlow etched himself into the record books with 12 points, ten rebounds, five assists, and two blocks versus Sacramento. While that stat line might not be eye-popping, he joined Tony Parker and Jeremy Sochan as the third teenager in franchise history to capture a double-double.
The 19-year-old rookie is the youngest player on the roster, and he has flashed fascinating skills on both ends of the court. The Spurs are still rebuilding, and they should invest another year into his development, especially with the CBA granting teams a third two-way contract next season.