Spurs extend hex over Kings to 11 games
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a year of repeated adjustments, the steady presence of San Antonio’s two big men has allowed the Spurs to maintain their spot among the Western Conference leaders.
On Saturday night in a 108-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol even got to spent most of the night on the floor at the same time.
“That was nice,” Gasol said. “Refreshing even.”
Aldridge finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes, and Gasol contributed a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in 31 minutes.
That helped San Antonio (23-11) rolled to its 11th straight win over San Antonio.
Aldridge and Gasol usually make their money while the other is not on the floor. Opponents often go small and quick to counter San Antonio’s size down low, but Sacramento kept centers Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein for 31 minutes apiece, often at the same time.
The Spurs countered accordingly.
“It’s always nice when a team stays big,” Gasol said after notching his 10th career triple-double and his first in two seasons. “It helps us stay big as well.”
Aldridge has emerged as a scoring and rebounding force, with his 22.1 points per game nearly five points better than a season ago, and his 8.4 rebounds per game his best pace since he played with Portland in 2014-15.
Gasol wasn’t sure he’d be able to play after feeling pain in his right groin. He went 5 of 8 from the field, even knocking down 2 of 3 3-pointers.
“He’s been great the last few games,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “He’s a big presence for us. We need him.”
The effort by Aldridge and Gasol helped the Spurs win despite being down two starters.
All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who has missed 30 games this season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy, sat out to rest as part of his comeback plan. Forward Danny Green had tightness in his left groin.
Without them, the Spurs hardly missed a beat. They made 50 percent of their shots from the field, sank 11 of 23 from 3-point territory, had 29 assists on 44 made shots and committed only eight turnovers.
“They just took us to school,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “They did not feel us.”
The Kings (11-21) played without starting guard De’Aaron Fox and were unable to extend a two-game winning streak they brought with them from their last road trip.
Buddy Hield scored 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting to lead Sacramento. But the Kings never got closer than six points in the second half after the Spurs closed the second quarter with a 21-9 run.
Cauley-Stein finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Randolph had 13 points and six rebounds for the Kings. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 15 points and made all six of his shots in 29 minutes off the bench, and Garrett Temple added 11 points.
Rudy Gay scored seven points for the Spurs in his first game back in the city where he played for 3 1/2 seasons. Gay, who averaged 20.1 points in 223 games for the Kings, scored all of his points during a 9-3 spurt to start the fourth quarter that put San Antonio ahead 93-79.
The game marked the first of eight at home in an 10-game stretch for the Kings. Sacramento played its 13th home game of the season, the fewest in the NBA.
NOTES: Kings rookie G De’Aaron Fox will miss at least two weeks after suffering a partial tear in his right quadriceps, the team said. He first injured it in a loss at Minnesota on Dec. 14. He has missed three of the Kings’ past four games. ... F Kawhi Leonard has played only four of San Antonio’s 34 games this season and already is assured of playing in the fewest games of his seven-season career. Leonard has averaged 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in about 17 minutes per game. ... Kings C Zach Randolph needs 17 assists to reach 2,000 in his career. Randolph went past 10,000 earlier this week and joined Spurs C Pau Gasol and Dallas Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki as the only active players with 18,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. ... Spurs F LaMarcus Aldridge has led the Spurs in scoring 28 times this season and has scored in double digits in 37 consecutive games. His longest such streak a season ago was 23.