Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Fox’s 43 points propels Kings past Spurs in NBA in-season tournament

San Antonio drops its seventh straight Friday night against Sacramento

The San Antonio Spurs dropped its seventh straight game, losing to the Sacramento Kings 129-120 in the NBA In-Season Tournament on Friday night at the Frost Bank Center.

The Kings (7-4) were led by guard De’Aaron Fox who posted a season-high 43 points alongside forward Domantas Sabonis notching 27 points with 14 rebounds. The Spurs (3-9) were powered by forward Zach Collins and rookie Victor Wembanyama, who finished with 28 points and 27 points, respectively, in the nine point loss.

Friday night’s game was the fourth straight victory for the Kings in San Antonio, also adding to the fifth straight win for Sacramento. The Kings also remain unbeaten in the In-Season Tournament with a 2-0 record while the Spurs fall to 0-3 in Group C.

San Antonio opened the game on a 9-0 run, thanks to six points from Wembanyama, to force the Kings to call a timeout.

The Spurs built an 18 point lead in the first quarter before allowing a Sacramento comeback. The Kings trailed by two after the first frame.

The Kings had their first lead of the game in the second quarter and led by as many as seven points. Collins 17 first-half along with Wembanyama’s 16 first-half points kept San Antonio in the game, ultimately heading into halftime tied at 62. 

Sacramento came out of halftime on a 15-4 run to establish an 11 point lead, its largest of the night, and to force San Antonio to call a timeout. 

The Spurs clawed their way back into the game in the third quarter. Malaki Branham passed the ball to Sandro Mamukelashvili who made a running 11-foot floater as the time expired to head into the quarter trailing 95-94.

Branham made the first points in the final frame to put San Antonio up 96-95. Jeremy Sochan found Doug McDermott and Wembanyama cutting to the basket on back-to-back plays to keep the Spur’s momentum rolling. 

Keldon Johnson made two 3-pointers along with a Collins dunk to tie the game at 110 with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. From then on, the Kings outscored the Silver and Black 19-10 to complete the comeback win.

“I was really pleased with their effort,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “The effort, the grind. I thought Zach was stupendous. They’re all learning. It’s frustrating as hell to lose but you got to put it in perspective and understand what’s going on.”

According to coach Pop, the team’s perspective is a learning one.

San Antonio’s losing streak has brought tough growing pains for the players. As well as being winless thus far in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, the Spurs have experienced all sorts of losses. From blowouts to blown leads, the NBA’s youngest team is going through a canon event.

“This is an education for five, six, seven guys out there, every night,” Popovich said. “They’re taking it all in. As long as they’re competing the way they’re competing, I think over time, the mistakes will be reduced. Hopefully, it’ll result in some wins.”

In locker rooms as young as San Antonio’s, it is important to have veteran voices in the ears of young players.

Collins, a seventh-year player, was happy with his team’s effort despite the losing performance. 

“We’ve had games very similar to this where we start off really good and then they come back and we put our heads down and we don’t fight back, and we didn’t do that tonight and that was the biggest thing,” Collins said. “Even when we were fighting back, they were still hitting shots. But we still made it a game at the end, so we’re happy with that. But we know we can play better.”

The Spurs will look to rebound as they face the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Frost Bank Center.

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About the Contributor
Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor
Luke (he/him) is an English major at UTSA and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. This is his fifth semester at The Paisano and his fourth as the Sports Editor. Along with covering UTSA sports and events, Luke also covers high school sports and local events for the San Antonio Express-News and covers the San Antonio Spurs for The Paisano. He has a huge passion for covering sports and giving his opinion on them. Outside of writing and talking about sports, Luke's hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies and all things outdoors.

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