Spurs disappointed, frustrated by effort in Game 2 loss to Warriors

Spurs disappointed, frustrated by effort in Game 2 loss to Warriors

OAKLAND -- Eventually the injuries were going to catch up with the San Antonio Spurs. With Tony Parker done for the season and Kawhi Leonard out with an ankle issue, the Golden State Warriors ran early double-teams at big man LaMarcus Aldridge all night long and dared someone else to beat them.

“I think that we maybe felt it too much, Kawhi being gone,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “In the sense that as I watched, I don’t think they believed. And you have to believe and I don’t think as a group they did.”

Journeyman Jonathan Simmons stepped in for Leonard and accepted the challenge, but he was one of the few Spurs player to show up Tuesday night as the Warriors steam rolled the team with the second best record in the Western Conference.

In the lopsided first half, Simmons went off for 17 of San Antonio’s 44 points as the Warriors took a 28 point lead into the intermission. No other player on the Spurs roster managed to score more than four points in the game’s first 24 minutes.

“When we’re at our best, everyone is playing well and Simmons has been able to be more consistent throughout this whole playoffs, which is great to see,” Patty Mills said following the game. “He’s doing his part and everyone needs to lift their own as well.”

A restricted free agent after the season, Simmons, 27, finished with 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting in 26 minutes.

The second half was more of the same. Without Parker to control the tempo of the offense or  Leonard to take the pressure off of Aldridge, the Warriors punished San Antonio, holding their visiting opponent to just 37 percent shooting on their way to the 136-100 win.

“When you’re playing a team as good as Golden State, you’re going to get embarrassed if that’s the way you’re going to come out,” Popovich said. “And we did.”

Only Simmons and reserve forward David Bertans (13 points) score in double-figures for the Spurs. San Antonio mainstays Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Patty Mills, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili combined to score 27 points on 10-for-32 shooting from the field.

“It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating,” said Gasol. “Give them credit because they played well. They made shots, they got their confidence going. I’m sure felt like they got away with in Game 1 with the way they were able to come back and get that win and tonight they were ready and you could tell.”

Warriors star guard Stephen Curry outscored the five veteran Spurs on his own, finishing the evening with 29 points in 30 minutes of action.

Popovich singled out Aldridge in his post game comments. The veteran big scored eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and chipped in just four rebounds in 27 minutes.

“LaMarcus has to score for us,” Popovich said. “He can't be timid. He turned down shots in the first quarter. He can't do it. You've got to score. Scoring has to come from someplace. I think he's got a major responsibility in Game 3 to come out ask get something done.”

Prior to the contest, Popovich said that the Spurs were in wait and see mode with regards to Leonard. The All-Star wing and reigning two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year led the San Antonio in scoring this season at 25.5 points per game. He may be the only thing stopping the series from being a runaway sweep by the Warriors.

The Western Conference Finals travels to San Antonio where these two teams face off Saturday night. The Spurs need to find a way to slow the Warriors who are now 10-0 during the 2016-17 playoffs.

 

Kings move up to No. 5 pick, keep No. 10 pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Kings move up to No. 5 pick, keep No. 10 pick in 2017 NBA Draft

The ping pong balls have spoken. There is some good news and some bad. The lottery gods smiled down on the Sacramento when the team jumped from the eighth overall all the way to the third pick in the draft. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers had the right to swap picks, costing Sacramento two spots.

Sacramento now officially own both the fifth and 10th overall selections after the Pelicans failed to move up into the top three of the draft. While a top three selection would have been a huge boon for the team, the Kings have to be ecstatic with a top five selection in a highly regarded draft class.

The Kings GM Vlade Divac issued a statement shortly after the conclusion of the NBA Draft Lottery.

"We are pleased with the outcome tonight and excited to have secured two top 10 picks in a very strong draft. We’re in a great position to improve our team and we look forward to the draft this summer."

It could have been much worse for Sacramento. After six years, the J.J. Hickson transaction is finally off the books. By staying inside the top 10 with their own selection, the Kings will now relay their second round selection (pick No. 38) to the Chicago Bulls to complete the 2011 trade that sent Omri Casspi and a protected pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Hickson.

Hickson didn’t make it through the season before being waived, but the pick restrictions remained in place, hampering the Kings’ ability to make trades involving picks for ever since.

Sacramento also received good news when the New Orleans Pelicans card was flipped at No. 10. The Kings landed a top three protected pick from the Pelicans as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade over All-Star weekend. With New Orleans failing to move up into the top three spots, their picks is now officially property of the Kings.

It wasn’t a banner night. The team moved up into the top end of the lottery where a bevy of young point guards are waiting. But the fact that the Kings walk into a very strong draft night on June 22nd with No. 5 and No. 10 and an early second rounder obtained in the Cousins deal, is good news for a franchise in rebuild mode.

Here is the complete lottery:

14. Heat
13. Nuggets
12. Pistons
11. Hornets
10. Kings
9. Mavericks
8. Knicks
7. Timberwolves
6. Magic
5. Kings
4. Suns
3. 76ers
2. Lakers
1. Celtics

Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

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Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

Programming note: Watch the Kings NBA Draft Lottery show with Jim Kozimor and Jon Wilson tonight at 5pm, streaming live right here.

The anticipation is excruciating. Hope springs eternal. Reality is brutal. It’s Draft Lottery night 2017.

It’s complicated. That is the only way to describe the Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Lottery that will unfold on Tuesday evening. Usually the night consists of nothing more than a bunch of ping pong balls in a hopper and a wall of numerical possibilities. Sacramento can only dream of that scenario.

The Kings cannot receive the top overall selection. Through a combination of two possible picks, they can land at two, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen. They can also lose both of their selections in this year’s draft and come away with nothing, but the odds of that are almost statistically impossible.

Here is a quick primer on the situation. For those who do not understand the lottery process, there are 14 ping pong balls, numbered 1-14 that are put into a hopper. Four balls are drawn at a time, creating one of 1,001 possibilities. One of those possibilities is removed from the equation, leaving 1000 potential outcomes. The 14 teams that missed the playoffs are given a specific number of those 1000 possibilities, depending on their record for the 2016-17 season.

The worst team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets in this case (although their pick is owed to the Boston Celtics), have 250 of the potential 1000 combinations. The Miami Heat, who finished the season 41-41 and barely missed the playoffs have just five combinations in play.

Only the top three selections are drawn and the remainder of the draft goes in order according to record. The worst case scenario for the Nets (besides the one that has already played out with the Celtics owning their pick), is that they fall from the top spot to the fourth overall selection.

It’s a lot more confusing when it comes to Sacramento. They currently own the eighth (28 total numerical combinations) and tenth (11 numerical combination) most combinations in the lottery, but it’s still more complex than that.

The eighth overall selection has a 2.8 percent chance of landing No. 1 overall, a 3.3 percent chance of landing No. 2 and a 3.9 percent chance of landing the third overall pick. Unfortunately for Sacramento, the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently sit in the fourth position in the lottery (119 numerical combinations), have the right to swap picks with the Kings from a trade consummated in 2015.

If the Kings land the top overall selection, the Sixers will take the pick and their selection (2, 3, 5, 6 or 7) goes directly to Sacramento. If Philly lands a better pick than Sacramento, the pick swap goes unused and is extinguished moving forward.

In addition to the 76ers quagmire, there is an extremely small chance that three teams ranked lower than Sacramento (Dallas, Sacramento (yes, their second first round selection can hurt them), Charlotte, Detroit, Denver and Miami) move ahead of them in the draft lottery. In this scenario, the Kings would fall to the 11th overall selection and their pick would go to the Chicago Bulls as part of the nightmare J.J. Hickson trade from 2011. If this worst case scenario does not play out, the Bulls get the Kings second round selection (38th overall).

There are also restrictions on the tenth overall spot that Sacramento currently occupies. The Kings received a 2017 top three protected selection from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade. If the Pelicans somehow land a top three pick, they retain the selection and the Kings receive a Top 1 protected pick from New Orleans in either 2018, 2019 or 2020.

New Orleans selection has a 1.1 percent chance of landing the top spot, a 1.3 percent opportunity of landing No. 2 and a 1.6 percent shot at No. 3. There is an 87 percent chance that the Pelicans remain at No. 10. There is also an 8.9 percent chance they drop to 11 and a .2 percent chance of they fall to 12 and less than a .1 percent chance they select at the 13th overall spot.

Best Case Scenario

In a dream world, the 76ers land the top overall pick, Sacramento nabs the second overall selection and the Pelicans pick stays at No. 10. Kings draft at No. 2 and No. 10 and are able to add two quality players.

A similar scenario, but one that leaves the Kings wondering “what if,” Sacramento lands the top pick, Philly lands the second overall selection (swaps) and the Pelicans stay at 10. This has the same outcome as scenario one, but with a little bit of egg on the Kings’ face.

Worst Case Scenario

Both picks go away. The odds of it happening are miniscule, but the possibility remains that three teams move above the Kings, including the Pelicans. In this horrific scenario the Kings lose both their own pick (to Chicago) and the Pelicans pick (because it’s top 3 protected).

There are plenty of other unfortunate scenarios for the Kings. They could land a top three spot and Philly could land at No. 7 and swap. Any combination of the Pelicans moving into the top three is bad, although the Kings would likely get New Orleans pick in 2018.

Most Likely Scenario

The odds are in favor of Sacramento retaining their own pick which will likely fall at eight or nine. It is also very likely (96 percent chance) that New Orleans will fail to move up and remain at No. 10. In this scenario, the Kings drafty at 8/9 and 10 and avoid a rough night.