Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings – Game #52

The San Antonio Spurs lost their seventh straight game on Wednesday night in AT&T Center. The 119-109 loss to the Sacramento Kings was a costly one, as Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones left the game due to injury.

The Spurs led by a point after the first quarter, 31-30. The Kings seemed to grab control of the game in the second quarter. However, to San Antonio’s credit, they battled back repeatedly. In fact, with about ten minutes remaining in the game, a Doug McDermott layup got the Spurs to within one point, 89-88. Unfortunately, the Kings responded with an 8-2 run and the good guys never recovered.

This was a decent game for the Spurs. The injuries were a bummer, obviously, but the Silver and Black played hard and kept things respectable. 

Spurs vs. Kings – Final Grades

spurs kings grades

Keldon Johnson

Johnson continues to play well. If he could hit three-pointers again like he did earlier in the season, he’d be having fantastic games. Against the Kings, he hit 7-of-13 two-point attempts, pulled down eight boards, handed out five assists and only had two turnovers. I love Johnson’s shot-selection and aggression right now. Even his defense and rebounding are on the upswing. But for him to truly become that No. 1 scoring option the Spurs can lean on, he needs to hit more three-pointers. Without the threes, he becomes too predictable and the spacing evaporates.

Grade: B+

Jeremy Sochan

Sochan left the game after grimacing in pain and grabbing his lower back. In seven minutes of playing time, he missed all four of his shots. Let’s hope the rookie can return to the court sooner rather than later because he has been showing very promising signs lately.

Grade: Inc.

Tre Jones

Jones left the game with a foot injury after nine minutes of playing time. He didn’t take a shot in those minutes but he did hand out four assists. Jones might be the most irreplaceable piece on these Spurs. San Antonio doesn’t have a true point guard that could step into his place if he’s forced to miss games. Get well soon.

Grade: Inc.

Jakob Poeltl

The good: Poeltl was fearless scoring-wise. He was catching everything, utilized impressive footwork and was finishing with touch. He also authored a few good passes and his screens were effective. Rebounding-wise, Poeltl did good work on both ends. The bad: Poeltl had five turnovers and three fouls in 29 minutes. I was also unimpressed with his defense. His help-defense was slow but his individual defense left a lot to be desired.

Grade: C+

Keita Bates-Diop

Bates-Diop was really active defensively and on the boards. This was also one of his better passing games of the season and his decision-making was solid. Unfortunately, Bates-Diop’s value was limited due to his shooting. He was only 2-for-8 from the floor and missed both of his three-pointers. In his last two games, he’s only 5-of-22 from the field.

Grade: B-

Malaki Branham

Branham wears No. 22 for the Spurs and the rookie scored a career-high 22 points tonight versus the Kings. He had 22 points, five assists and no turnovers in 32 minutes — and I thought he was even better than those numbers indicate. He shot threes with confidence and his quick-release stroke was pure. He also created shots inside of the arc with savvy body positioning, smart cuts and advanced ball-handling moves. Branham passed it well and handled pressure with ease. If Jones is forced to miss time, Branham is likely the leading candidate to start at point guard. If tonight was any indication, he’ll be up to that challenge.

Grade: A

Josh Richardson

Richardson was playing with a lot of heart and passion tonight — and his extra tenacity translated to the stat sheet. He poured in 19 points in 29 minutes, while also finishing with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. While he did turn it over four times and commit four fouls, Richardson’s effort was unyielding — particularly on the offensive end. He provided the grit the Spurs needed to stay relatively close to the Kings throughout the contest.

Grade: B+

Doug McDermott

Recently, McDermott’s been forcing the issue a bit too much — even when he’s being covered tightly. Tonight, I thought he struck a much better balance. McDermott was only able to get off four shots but he also positively impacted the proceedings by handing out three assists and creating space for his teammates to operate by relentlessly moving without the ball. I also thought his defense was better than usual.

Grade: B+

Zach Collins

Collins scored an efficient 14 points off the bench. I was impressed with his post-up game and the patience he showed when he caught the ball. Collins is in a really good offensive groove right now. He’s either scoring or making the right passes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed by Collins on the defensive end against the Kings. His individual defense was lacking, he wasn’t rebounding and his rotations were a step slow.

Grade: B-

Stanley Johnson

Johnson played hard but made too many mistakes. He’s been a mistake-prone player in his career and we’re starting to see more and more of that as of late. Against the Kings, his decision-making was a little bit slow, which led to problems. His impact on defense was also minimal.

Grade: C-

Isaiah Roby

Roby got some playing time due to the aforementioned injuries. He was tentative and second-guessing himself but he ended up doing okay-ish. His three-pointer was smooth and his athleticism aided the team in transition.

Grade: B-

Blake Wesley

Wesley has a very short leash right now. He’s making a lot of mistakes — and Pop is letting him know about each and every one of them. 

Grade: Inc.


Pop didn’t have much to work with entering the game — so things really got bleak after Sochan and Jones exited. Given the circumstances, the rotation was decent. I liked Branham’s minutes but I would have liked to have seen more of Wesley. Giving Roby more minutes also would have been interesting. But, all in all, Pop did as well as could have been reasonably expected.

Grade: B-