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CHAMPAGNIE’S CAREER NIGHT HELPS SPURS EDGE KINGS

MCDERMOTT SCORES 30 TO LEAD SPURS PAST KINGS 142-134

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Doug McDermott scored 22 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs denied Sacramento a chance at clinching the Pacific Division with a 142-134 win over the Kings on Sunday.

After clinching their first playoff berth since 2006 on Wednesday night on the road, the Kings were hoping to wrap up their first division title in 20 years in front of their home fans but fell short against the struggling Spurs.

 

“This isn’t the ideal time to have a bad loss,” guard De’Aaron Fox said. “But bad losses happen. We should have been a lot better. I don’t know how many times this team has scored 140 points, even with overtime included. We have to be much better on that end. We can’t keep talking about that.”

McDermott hit three free throws in overtime after being fouled on a 3-pointer by Keegan Murray to give the Spurs a five-point lead, then made back-to-back baskets to keep San Antonio ahead and help snap a six-game losing streak.

“It was a great night for us. A lot of guys played really well, career games from three or four guys,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “Just happy for them. They have busted their butts all year. We don’t have that many wins but they play hard like this every night.”

 

Julian Champagnie added a career-high 26 points and Tre Jones had 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.

Fox scored 28 points and Domantas Sabonis added 26 for the Kings, who remain two games behind Memphis in the race for second place in the Western Conference.

Fox hit a tying jumper with 36.3 seconds to play in regulation but Kevin Huerter missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer following a turnover by the Spurs.

The Kings fell to 23-17 at home, allowing a staggering 120.1 points per game.

“We have not been good defensively at home,” coach Mike Brown said. “The reality of it is we play sort of soft at home. I hate to say it, but that’s it’s what it is. It’s factual. We have trouble stopping people on our home floor.”

 

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The Kings were back home for the first time since ending the longest playoff drought in NBA history in a win at Portland on Wednesday. The team was greeted at the airport in the wee hours of Saturday morning by throngs of cheering fans.

Brown said before the game that assistant Doug Christie gave a speech about not letting down against a short-handed team playing out the string on a lost season. But it didn’t appear to work as Sacramento looked sluggish and fell behind by 11 points midway through the third quarter.

“I challenged our guys,” Brown said. “I don’t know what their mindset was individually coming into the game. I imagine some of them thought that we were just going to be able to show up and beat these guys. The win was just going to happen. Maybe we need to get hit in the head a few times in order to respect the game, respect the process, and understand that we have to bring it from the beginning of the game to the end.”

 

HONORING POP

Popovich called it an “out of body experience” when he got the call from Jerry Colangelo telling him that he was part of the Hall of Fame class announced on Saturday.

Making the honor even more special for the NBA’s winningest coach ever was the fact that his former point guard Tony Parker and former assistant Becky Hammon will be joining him.

“They’re pretty special,” Popovich said. “Pretty special in all kinds of ways. You already know that. It’s kind of fun all of us doing it at once. It’s kind of weird, but kind of fun.”

 

TIP-INS

Spurs: Popovich got called for a technical foul in the third quarter. … Champagnie’s 22 points in the first half were the most by a Spurs rookie since Bryn Forbes also had 22 on April 7, 2017, against Dallas.

Kings: Fox scored 16 points in the fourth quarter for his league-high 26th game with double figures in the fourth. … G Malik Monk (left leg soreness) didn’t play. … The attendance of 18,183 was the largest ever at Golden 1 Center and the 18th straight sellout.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Visit Phoenix on Tuesday night.

Kings: Visit New Orleans on Tuesday night.

 

nba.com