Instant Replay: Kings start strong, can't slow down Spurs

Instant Replay: Kings start strong, can't slow down Spurs

BOX SCORE

The Sacramento Kings hadn’t won in San Antonio since January of 2012, a span of eight games coming into Sunday’s matchup. While they jumped out to an early lead, the Spurs had no trouble reeling the Kings in and making it nine straight at the AT&T Center. 

Tony Parker put in a vintage performance in the 118-102 victory for San Antonio. Playing in his 16th NBA season, the 34-year-old guard managed to post 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting and chipped in seven assists in just 20 minutes of action. 

Big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who rested the last time these two teams met, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. 

Pau Gasol added 22 points and nine rebounds off Gregg Popovich’s bench. David Lee added 11 points and All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard finished the night with 12 points, but shot just 3-for-12 from the field as the Spurs won their 53rd win of the season..  

Rookie Buddy Hield shook off back-to-back sub-par performances to post solid numbers. The 23-year-old broke down the Spurs defense to hit runners in the lane, finishing the night with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added five rebounds and five assists.  

Garrett Temple got hot from the perimeter, knocking down 3-for-3 from long range on his way to 15 points and four assists. 

Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds. Skal Labissiere chipped in 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and hit the glass for seven rebounds and Georgios Papagiannis grabbed 10 rebounds and scored six points in 24 minutes of action. 

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Parker isn’t the same player that helped lead the Spurs to four championships over his storied career, but he can still get to the rim with the best of them.  

TURNING POINT

It was a competitive game early, but the Spurs outscored the Kings by 15 in the second quarter and 16 in the third to run away with the victory.

INJURY UPDATE 

Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo both missed the game to to personal issues. Tyreke Evans missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out another week or two with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings travel back to Sacramento following the game where they will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday before heading back out on the road to face the Warriors Friday.

NBA Gameday: Who on the Kings will defend Antetokounmpo?

NBA Gameday: Who on the Kings will defend Antetokounmpo?

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings return home to Golden 1 Center Wednesday night to face the upstart Milwaukee Bucks. After three games on the road, the Kings will play one in front of the Sacramento crowd before heading back out on the road Friday when they face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Dave Joerger and his young core of Kings have gone 3-10 since the All-Star break, but they compete on a nightly basis and are showing promise. Rookies Skal Labissiere, Buddy Hield and Georgios Papagiannis have each had breakout games and second-year big Willie Cauley-Stein is posting 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.5 minutes since the big roster shake up in late February.

The Bucks are 9-2 over their previous 11 games, surging into the playoff conversation after a rough start to the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way for a young Milwaukee team that has had to adjust on the fly after another devastating injury to forward Jabari Parker.

OPENING LINE:
Bucks by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
? vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo -- It’s the same question we asked when these two teams met in the first two weeks of the 2016-17 season, only it’s a little more difficult to answer. Rudy Gay is done for the year, Matt Barnes is a Warriors and Omri Casspi plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. What is left at the small forward position is a collection of undersized wings that will face one of the league’s best young small forwards. At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo plays like a guard, but can put you on a poster in the blink of an eye. If the Greek Freak gets loose, it’s going to be a long night for Sacramento.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 27-43, third place in Pacific

Bucks: 35-35, third place in Central

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: SF Tyreke Evans (ankle) will play, C Kosta Koufos (rest) is out, PG Ty Lawson (rest) is out, SG Malachi Richardson (hamstring) is out, F Rudy Gay (ruptured left Achilles) is out.

Bucks: F Jabari Parker (knee) out, F Michael Beasley (knee) out.

SERIES HISTORY:
Milwaukee leads the season series 1-0 over Sacramento after beating the Kings 117-91 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Nov. 5. The Kings own a 28-27 lead over the Bucks during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE:
“I’m blessed and excited and happy to have this opportunity to have a beautiful young baby girl in my life right now. It changes a lot for me right now. I’m definitely in a state of shock and at a loss for words. At this point, I’m just like, man, I’m really a father. It’s a dream come true.” -Ben McLemore on the birth of his first child, Teagan Joyce McLemore

Ben McLemore returns after birth of his daughter: 'Dream come true'

Ben McLemore returns after birth of his daughter: 'Dream come true'

SACRAMENTO -- Ben McLemore was noticeably missing from the Kings three-game road trip. The fourth-year guard has rarely been unavailable for a game during his time in Sacramento, but he stayed home so he could attend the birth of his first child.

The proud papa gushed at practice Tuesday afternoon as he announced the birth of Teagan Joyce McLemore to the media.

“I’m blessed and excited and happy to have this opportunity to have a beautiful young baby girl in my life right now,” the 24-year-old shooting guard said. “It changes a lot for me right now. I’m definitely in a state of shock and at a loss for words. At this point, I’m just like, man, I’m really a father. It’s a dream come true.”

Drafted with the seventh overall selection of the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore has played his entire career in a Kings uniform, including 215 starts. He came to Sacramento as a 20-year-old kid from St. Louis and he’s grown up a lot in his time with the Kings.

With just 12 games remaining in the season, McLemore’s future with the club is in question.

“I’m really not even focused on that,” McLemore said about his future. “I’ll let my agent, Rich Paul, and my circle kind of handle all of that and keep me up to date on things like that.”  

If Sacramento chooses to extend a $5.4 million qualifying offer to the wing, he will enter the summer as a restricted free agent, which gives the Kings the opportunity to match any offer. If they decline the qualifying offer, McLemore becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any NBA club.

At times this season, McLemore has been lost in the shuffle at the shooting guard spot. He’s had bright moments, but also challenges as the Kings brought in Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple, Malachi Richardson and Buddy Hield to compete for minutes at his position.

On the season, McLemore is averaging a career-low 7.2 points per game in just 18.2 minutes a night, but he’s shooting 39.4 percent from behind the arc. Since the start of February, McLemore is shooting 51.3 percent from 3-point range, but consistent minutes have been tough to come by.

“I’m just going out there and playing free,” McLemore said of his recent success. “I’m not worried about anything. I’m just going out there and playing my game. Not thinking about it too much, just letting the game come to me.”

Nothing is certain moving forward for McLemore. His focus is on finishing the season strong and of course, that new baby girl.