SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich foreshadowed all the flaws 1 hour, 45 minutes before the team would actually flash them on the court Sunday in a 118-102 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Sure, San Antonio snapped a two-game skid in defeating the lowly Kings.
“But, from what I’ve seen, we’re just not disciplined enough,” Popovich said before the game even tipped off. “We’ve got to get a lot more disciplined if we want to be the last team standing, that’s for sure.”
First, though, San Antonio’s entire squad needs to stand up, as opposed to sitting due to injury and other issues because availability could do wonders to alleviate the issues currently sticking in Popovich’s craw.
Since the start of the new year, the Spurs have played a total of 35 games and have utilized 15 combinations of starters, as several of the club’s most important contributors have been forced to miss time because of various injuries and ailments. In addition to missing a pair of games to rest, point time guard Tony Parker has sat out of a total of 16 contests due to right knee soreness, a left quadriceps contusion, a left knee contusion, left foot pain, another quadriceps contusion and back stiffness.
“It breaks the team chemistry,” said star forward Kawhi Leonard, who finished with a season-low 12 points. “Once you have that unit out here with your five guys knowing who you’re going to play with, who’s going to sub you in and out, I feel like you get better chemistry like that, rather than somebody sitting and not knowing if you’re gonna play.”
“Tonight, he was really aggressive. He was effective,” said Gasol, who finished with a game-high 22 points, hitting 2-of-2 from long range. “He made plays for himself, getting into the lane. But he also was able to kick it out, make plays for others, and make key passes for our teammates. It was great to see.”
Parker played 20 minutes and connected on 8 of 10 shots with seven assists.
“It’s great. He us gets easy shots, wide-open looks,” Leonard said. “He just makes it easier for all of us.”
Memphis Grizzlies a 28-point lead from which it could never recover on the way to a 105-96 loss.
The defeat marked the Spurs’ second in a row, and Popovich saw in Memphis what he hopes soon comes into view for his squad.
“You’ve got to get into a flow. Like, if you look at Memphis last night, I thought they were great,” Popovich said. “They were together. They’ve got all their guys. They executed really well on both ends of the court. That’s what you’re gonna get for playoff time. They look like they’re ready to go.”
San Antonio doesn’t right now, but it took a step closer to where it needs to be against the Kings.
“We did a good job tonight. We didn’t turn it over,” Popovich said. “We moved the ball well. I thought we were really aggressive at both ends of the court; came back after a couple of losses pretty well.”